Tuesday, October 27, 2009

HDTV - The holy grail of hockey?

That's what this reporter for The [Toronto] Star thinks:
High-definition television images are luring more American eyeballs to professional hockey and invigorating the NHL's prospects in the U.S., say leading sports industry experts.
"HDTV will have a greater impact on hockey than any other sport," says Matthew Pace, a lawyer with prominent sports law firm Herrick, Feinstein in New York. "You can follow the puck much easier (on HDTV broadcasts). The action is clearer. I think the television future of the NHL is bright."
From personal observation, I would agree.  Mrs. DBJ has made repeated mention of the fact that HDTV makes the game so much better to watch.  Strangely, she's a bigger football fan but almost never makes that comment about the pigskin.

The article also makes numerous references to the NHL-Versus contract for broadcasting national games of interest two nights a week, the All-Star Game, the draft, much of the playoffs and part of the Stanley Cup Finals.  The shame of the matter is that NewsCorp, which owns DirecTV, appears intent on muscling out Comcast, which owns Versus...or at least muscling it into a higher-tiered price category for DirecTV subscribers.  DirecTV largely promotes itself on 3 levels: 1. Movies, 2. Sports, 3. High Definition.  So not having hockey on DirecTV is a major stumbling block for the enjoyment of sports watchers and the growth of the NHL.

I am hopeful that DirecTV and Versus will get this straightened out in time for the playoffs.  I'm not particularly optimistic, however, as DirecTV has been giving discounted (sometimes free!) season packages of NHL Center Ice away to placate their angry customer base.  That doesn't sound like a company that's planning on bringing Versus back any time soon...


  1. Your Friendly Pens FanOctober 29, 2009 at 7:51 PM

    Question for you - why are the Blue Jackets NEVER on HD? I can watch every Pens game in HD on NHL Center Ice through Fox Sport Pittsburgh, but when the Pens play the Jackets (and I'm forced to watch the game on Fox Sports Ohio) - NO HD!

  2. Supposedly, the Fox Sports Ohio will broadcast 50 games in HD.

    A similar question could be asked - Why are fewer than 82 regular-season games broadcast on TV by Fox Sports Ohio? I think they're broadcasting 75 games. 2 are on Versus, so that leaves 5 games that have zero TV coverage. Inexcusable.

    To both your question and mine, I think the answer is that Fox Sports Ohio is to blame. They're to blame for a lot of stuff, so add our questions to the list.


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