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NHL Television Agreement and Loopholes

Apparently, you need to be a lawyer to figure out which television station to watch your favorite hockey team play on Sunday.  I had just typed up an article blasting NBC for their alleged decision not to televise the Hurricanes/Devils contest on Sunday as a replacement game in case the Caps/Rangers series is completed before that time.  But according to Luke DeCock, it was not an exclusive NBC decision.

NBC is saying it's not the network's decision.

Network spokesman Brian Walker said the league is contractually obligated to provide games to Versus and TSN and there weren't enough to go around Sunday. I've asked around and it's a little more complicated than that. Basically, the NHL wants a game on NBC on Sunday and NBC wants a hockey game on Sunday.

If the Capitals win, then everything's OK and it'll be Game 6 of the Rangers-Capitals series. If the Capitals had lost, New Jersey-Carolina was the alternate game for that time slot. But even though the game was listed as TBA on the schedule, both teams still have to approve the time change to 2 p.m., which also means pulling it off their local broadcasters, because NBC has an exclusive and Versus does not........ someone somewhere along the line wouldn't agree to the change, so hold off on the calls to NBC.

This does sound complicated, but still, something seems amiss here.  Could it really be that difficult to switch broadcasts?  And if certain rights were involved which are mucking up the works, why was the time of game six of this series "to be announced" right from the start of the series?  Why was there any question about the time and why did this announcement by NBC come on the very eve of the broadcast? 

Someone has some 'splainin' to do.

This quote was taken from the Jersey Fire and Ice blog at noonish:

In promoting a possible Game 6 between the Rangers and Capitals at 2 p.m. Sunday, NBC stated in an e-mail press release today that if there is no Game 6 in that series Sunday, "the Jeep World of Adventure will air from 3-4 p.m. ET and the National Heads-Up Poker Championship from 4-6 p.m. ET."

What the network seemed to be saying there is that if they can not have New York, Pittsburgh, or Detroit on the schedule, they don't want anything.  Small market teams be damned.

Gary Bettman, where are you?  Is this what you envisioned for your most recent sweet television deal?  How is this action promoting the NHL and helping the league to grow?  

Puck Daddy's Greg Wyshynski has his take here

No one seems to want to take responsibility for making this decision, yet someone made it.  There are some fans who probably would prefer that the game was not on NBC anyway, but at least there is one thing that everyone can agree with. This is one goofy television agreement .

Welcome to the NHL.

((UPDATE)) 5:30PM Friday

Just when it all seemed to be as clear as mud, the team announced before the Caps/Rangers game that the start time would be at 7:30 on Sunday.   So obviously the outcome of that game had nothing to do with the decision of the start time.  But the announcement was made, coincidentally, after NBC made their announcement.


Again, the timing of all this makes no sense what-so-ever.