|Imagine if you will, Game Five of last year's ALCS between the Oakland A's and Detroit Tigers... or that it's last December and the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears are squaring off in the NFC Championship game. Hell, even imagining one of the games in the upcoming Cavs/Pistons Eastern Conference Finals will do. Now, imagine you've spent the past two and a half hours watching that game and it is about to go to overtime (or extra innings). |
Here's the million dollar question: If you've invested the past two plus hours of your Saturday afternoon watching any of these events, what would you like to see happen next?
a) The rest of the game.
b) About an hour of pre-race coverage of some fucking horses that are about to run around what looks like a dirt NASCAR track, also known as the Preakness.
c) Overtime (or extra innings).
d) A conclusion that gives meaning to the last two and a half hours of your life.
If you answered B, you either are in charge of programming at NBC, or shouldn't be visiting this website.
"Viewers? What Viewers?"
Logo (C) NBC
If you answered A, C or D, then you probably found out the hard way that not only does NBC not give a damn about you, but just when it didn't seem possible, the NHL's television contract just got worse.
A little before 6PM in the east, NBC took the time to give a big 'go fuck yourself' to everyone who had tuned in to watch the first three periods of Game Five of the Sabres/Sens Eastern Conference Final. After regulation finished up, the network cut away to someone who looked like an older version of Pam Ward interviewing a short, scrawny guy in tight Under Armour (I hear they are called jockeys). This left anyone who wanted to see the rest of the game to find a way to watch Versus, which had picked up the game.
Depending on your cable/satellite package, fixing this dilemma could have been as easy as changing the channel, or as hard as, well, not watching the game at all. If you don't get Versus for some reason, congratulations! You just wasted part of your Saturday afternoon! Hopefully, you enjoyed the Preakness.
This is really just another reminder about the sad state of hockey in America and how ridiculously lame the NHL's television contract is. If ESPN, CBS (which consistently preempts '60 Minutes' on Sundays), FOX, ABC, the NBA, MLB or the NFL had a hand in any of this, I'm sure you would have been able to watch a completely uninterrupted overtime period, which saw the Senators advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.
What amazes me the most is that no one had the foresight to move the time of the game, as is done so often. Instead, we all got to watch a bunch of horses run around for two minutes and the countless inane hours of pre-show that go along with it.
Congratulations, hockey is now lower on the food chain than a sport whose glory days are far behind it, and has tried in vain to find a 'champion for the ages' that will captivate mainstream America and spark a new era of growth. Wait... or is that the NHL?