This article has been updated here: UK NHL Coverage and Blackouts 2013 http://wp.me/p2gDti-6H
“Premier Sports are delighted to announce that NHL will continue to be broadcast on the channel for a further 4 years. Coverage of 400 games per season begins on October 11th.”
That was the announcement from Premier Sports on their Facebook page around an hour ago.
I know many of you have mixed feelings about this and to be honest I do as well.
First of all I love the 4 year commitment to hockey. I think that can only be a positive move after the last few years of indecision and uncertainty with coverage in the UK.
Their coverage last season was at times a shambles and frustrating but they got their act together towards the end of the year. Consistently showing more games this season than ESPN America did in Continental Europe.
HD is a big issue I agree and I know having spoken to them it is something they are working on. Virgin Media is another matter. You can apply all you wish to VM but it is VM alone who make the decision whether to put a channel on one of their packages.
As far as I’m aware they are happy to open negotiations with VM at anytime. Perhaps during the summer fans can try to put the pressure on VM. Something to start doing now by posting on their Facebook page?
Intermissions: I think this stirs up more angst from you guys than anything else. I must have written the following a few times now so apologies for saying it again. Intermissions for the season cost an unbelievable amount of money and PS simply cannot afford to splash the cash on them. (I know this having conversed with them through last season) I would rather have 400 games with no intermission than say 200 games with them.
A point to make on this subject is that on NHL Game Centre Live they don’t have intermissions for the games, though you might find the odd transmission left on by mistake.
HNIC is a separate issue as that is bought as a package deal and therefore all intermissions come as part of the deal.
So if PS have learnt from their mistakes and continue to improve then I am hopeful for the future. 400 games is an amazing amount of coverage in a market where it is very much a minority sport.
For those who will continue to subscribe to PS, keep the pressure on them to provide the best coverage possible by letting them know your feelings. I’m hoping the 4 year deal means they have to listen as they are now locked in.
At least this year we didn’t have to wait until the season was under-way until we knew our fate.