Saturday, May 19, 2007

NBC Does Not Care About Your Precious Overtime

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?


  1. That's just the usual excuse -- nobody cares about hockey.

    A lot of people care about hockey. I'm not sure why anyone gives a fuck about horse racing, or if anyone does. But a lot of people care about hockey -- we just got screwed because Bettman's retarded.

    For example, just because ESPN is trying to shove Arena Football down our throats doesn't mean that people suddenly give a crap -- it just means that ESPN wants us to give a crap.

    "Hockey sucks and nobody cares" is the back pocket argument for radio/TV types who can't think of anything original to discuss.

    I'm talking in circles and this isn't directed at you -- I just think the actions of yesterday are more indicative of Gary Bettman being castrated and retarded than they are of people not caring.

  2. I completely agree with you. I highly doubt the NHL glory days arent over but without games constantly shoved in the general publics' face, not enough people are going to care. Which is an absolute shame. Hockey has never been better. I'm trying to focus on the positives - it got rid of Pierre McGuire for the broadcast audience

  3. Chris -
    I don't really know if anyone cares about horse racing, aside from bettors! You're right though, Bettman can certainly take a lot of the blame here. Whether it was to realize the day/time the game was being played on and schedule accordingly or to just suck it up in the first place and sign a deal with ESPN. So hockey might of taken a backseat on ESPN... at least they would have done it well.

    dino - I'm loving the playoffs this year, the product on the ice is great. I was just speaking more in terms of $ and popularity. If the NHL is ever going to be real big again, (at least in America) it might be a while. It doesn't bother me too much that it's turning into a niche sport, it's just sad to see it fall (thanks, Gary).

  4. Fucking dorks. Someone should let Paul Newman know about this. Maybe there's a great sequel to "Slapshot!" waiting in the wings...
    Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention. This happened to a Superbowl game back in the early 70s (or was that the late 60s?) - the infamous "Heidi" episode in which the game went overtime and the American network covering it bailed in favor of regularly scheduled programming, which meant the cute and lovable Swiss harlot Heidi, that little pissant who graced the screens of screaming, incredulous football fans from coast to coast. Reason has taken leave in the US, from the White House all the way on down. Sad. Shameful. Who won the Preakness, anyway? And did Ottawa advance? I didn't get to see the end of the game, either.

  5. NBC didn't screw you, your local TV stations did. They were given the choice to stick with hockey and unless you were in Buffalo, the stations went with the race coverage.

    For those of us who care about both hockey and horse racing, that makes the score 2-1 in favor of pucks.

    Jan. 28 2006 NBC sticks with regional coverage of a regular season game into overtime with a lengthy shootout. Nearly misses Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey riding in the final race of his career.

    One month ago: Rangers/Sabers double overtime moves NBC produced documentary "Barbaro: A Nation's Horse" to CNBC. Uproar later causes NBC to move the show to NBC late on Saturday night after the Kentucky Derby.

    Welcome to horse racing's niche sport world. Sorry you missed a weak-ass blind luck bad goal past Miller clinching it for a Canadian city that barely cares about their team. Too bad you got it replaced with a race for the ages and an exciting battle between two top horses.

  6. Yeah, and there was also an exciting battle between two top roosters in a cock fight in Tijuana, Mexico. I can't believe Univision didn't cover it, and I was stuck watching hockey/horse racing!

  7. Good comment there regarding horse racing. Agree with the comments on online horse racing betting.