We drop the gloves...and pick up some beverages.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I hate Versus (the blog post)

You'll sometimes notice that I tag some of my posts I hate Versus. This is an entire post dedicated to that notion. Every now and then I get steamed up over a seemingly illogical decision they make and I only put down one or two sentences. But this post will sum it ALL up. Why the NHL made a bad decision, why VS doesn't actually care about hockey, and what fans can do about it.

To be fair, I gave VS (then OLN) a lot of credit for jumping in and putting hockey on TV after the lockout. Obviously, there were a lot of jokes to be made about the coverage and studio and putting the scoreboard on the bottom of the screen (UGH). But they did make improvements. And by the second year of the deal, hockey was watchable on VS. Their digital scoreboard is the best of any sport/any network. But that's where it ends.

The bonus for the NHL or the game of hockey in general, doesn't come from just showing the sport on TV, it comes from the marketing and programming that the network (should) be putting in to maximize audiences and creating a hub for fans. The problem is VS never saw it that way. VS sees the NHL as a loss-leader. Kind of like when Best Buy or Wal-Mart, cut the prices on DVDs so you'll come into the store and hopefully by a washing machine. VS is hoping that hockey fans stick around to watch cage-fighting. “If you’re into hockey, you’ll stay for World Extreme Cagefighting,” [Gavin Harvey, President of VS] said, “and maybe even for hunting and fishing.” If VS was really a "partner" with the NHL and wanted really grow the sport, they'd invest in something else besides a studio show for game nights only. They would put on a nightly high-light show. Its not needed now because of the NHL Network, but 3 years ago, it would have been nice. VS does the bare minimum for the NHL and unfortunately, owners would rather see more cash upfront than long-term growth.

Now as fans, we are in a tough predicament. I'm tired of listening to Joe Beninati, I want to hear Gary Thorne and Bill Clement more than anything. I'm not going to boycott VS broadcasts, that's just stupid. So here is what I've come up with: Support the sponsors. You're really going to have to follow me on this one. The way that the TV makes money from showing hockey games is by selling ad space and sponsorships. Edge shave gel has bought ad space and sponsors Pierre Maguire in the box on NBC. If hockey fans go and buy Edge shave gel, Edge will see positive ROI (return on investment) and therefor invest more in hockey, possibly pulling some money from other sports. Other networks (ESPN), see this influx of cash into hockey programming and decide, perhaps the NHL is a good investment.

I know, I'm oversimplifying. But the one thing that ESPN does so well is the marketing and other cross-promotion that supports their programming.

Let me know what you think in the comments.



A poorly organized band of hockey fanatics said...

I'd like to help you out here but Edge Gel has that new product that shoots minature, scantily clad women into your nostrils. I'm not sure I'm up for that. Can I go buy a Dodge Caravan instead??

Bress said...

Quite possibly the strangest commercial. I'm not sure what they are selling there.

Tapeleg said...

Great, so we all have to smell the same now?

If there was a check box that let me tell them where I "heard about their fine product." But it never works out that way.

I am happy that sponsors put faith in the NHL enough to advertise on Versus, but are they pandering to hockey fans, or WEC fans who are waiting for hockey to end?

Mr. W said...

great idea keston...main reason nascar has so many sponsors and so much money pouring into it is b/c of the loyalty of their fans to the advertisers...only problem with the edge (aside from that weird commercial) is that i only shave like three times/week.

Nemmy said...

I refuse to drink any of that AMP shit but I like where your head is.

hattrick16 said...

My mom and I mute the commercials and just recite the lines in unison sense it's all the same. I can now say "we want a rematch" in Spanish!

What I hate about VS -
- Joe Beninati talks through the whole game. I have eyes, you're not on radio. Let me see the game and give me important info like shots on goal every once in a while. I absolutely cannot stand listening to them talk about the other series when it's a one goal game with 5 mins left!

- Why no national anthem?

- Turn up the crowd volume and turn down the announcers mic.

- Ed Olyck. I dislike him so much I won't even look up how to spell his name. He was a horrible coach and is stupidity shows during the games. He's the John Madden of hockey.

- The player/coaches interviews during the middle of the period.

- I'm not really a big fan of Brian Engblom... but some evils are necessary.

- I miss Thorne, Clemente, Steve Levy, Darren Pang, Barry Melrose, Buccigross and John Saunders.

- Watch a CBC telecast and you'll think of moving to Canada just for TV.

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