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Ratings and Labor Woes Shadow N.H.L.'s TV Talks

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  • Ratings and Labor Woes Shadow N.H.L.'s TV Talks

    The National Hockey League's immediate future is uncertain, with the possibility of a work stoppage next season. But one thing is virtually certain: the league will not duplicate its five-year, $600 million deal with ESPN and ABC, which expires after this season.

    The average annual payment of $120 million was always excessive, the product of Disney's ESPN and ABC networks bidding against themselves. The league had to feel like the luckiest sports organization alive because of ESPN's desire to corner the market on the N.H.L. and to keep building the younger ESPN2 through hockey.

    At the time the contract was signed, Steve Bornstein, the president of ESPN, said the cross-promotional muscle of the ESPN networks, ABC and the Internet would render the N.H.L. deal profitable.

    "We'll make money," he vowed in 1998. "This is a marketing machine."


    Mr. G

  • #2
    "This is a marketing machine."

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy