Monday, July 18, 2005

 

The American Media: The Negative Frontier

To our media 'friends' south of the border,

OK, we get it! The NHL is irrelevant, unworthy of our attention, and nobody down there cares about our game. The NHL and hockey is just another foreign 'niche' sport like darts, billiards, and cockfighting.

If the NHL is so irrevelvant, then why do you, the American media, feel compelled to keep wasting column space telling the fans this fact? Why spend hours telling us that nobody cares about the NHL...obviously you felt compelled and cared enough just to write about the NHL.

You know, after the 100000th "There was no NHL?" joke, it kinda gets a little stale.

Sincerely,

Jes Gölbez
On behalf of Canadian hockey fans and American fans who DO care.




I know that, on a whole, Americans don't care much about hockey. It's a fairly regional sport and doesn't have much of a dent in the culture of many places outside of Minnesota, Michigan, Boston, and a few other cold and snowy places.

Still, the Americans who do love the sport tend to love it just as much as Canadian fans. Some of the Americans could qualify for Canadian citizenship on that fact, alone (We'll trade you Celine Dion for a few Blues fans, eh?)

I agree with the Ottawa Sun's Erin Nicks in that the US Media has done nothing but slag the NHL ever since the two sides agreed, in principle, on the new CBA.

When the news broke on Wednesday that the league and its players' association had reached a tentative agreement, it was easy to assume what the reaction in Canada would be. Watching the story emerge across the border -- where the majority of teams and significant income emanate from --was a different matter.

Who exactly has been broadcasting the lockout information to American fans -- ESPN or Fox News?

The sensationalistic "reporting" has been delivered with unwavering opinion, and the message is clear: The NHL, regardless of its imminent return, is a lost cause.

This is a loser's league that isn't worthy of anyone's support. The NHL is making its first attempt to climb out from the massive hole it created, but the American media is not content to simply throw dirt on them. They're trying to beat the league down with the shovel.
I wonder why the NHL receives so much press like this from the American media. If Americans don't care about hockey, then why bother reporting this? Are you trying to convince the people not to care? I don't see the same media telling people not to watch gambling on TV, or telling us that the NFL is not worth watching because it really is tremendously boring (even though it is so true). Perhaps the American media just sees hockey as a 'foreign' spot that is not welcome on their territory...nevermind that basketball was invented by a Canadian, and that NHL ratings weren't too far behind the NBA's once upon a time.

Up here in Canada, the press has basically been the extreme opposite. So many media members have been drinking Gary Bettman's CBA-Tang that our precious small market franchises will be saved and we can have our national sport back once again. Who cares about details, we just want hockey back!

While the American media tells their fans to just find something else to do, at least the Canadian media has been optimistic in its pessimism (if that makes sense) and there are billions of suggestions of how to improve the NHL on and off the ice.




Flames are a Hot Ticket

Speaking of optimism, the Calgary Flames aren't having any troubles selling tickets...is anyone surprised?

Flames tickets are red hot, and team management is expected to soon announce record pre-season sales, a spokesman for the hockey club said.

Rollie Cyr, vice-president of ticket sales for the team, said he hasn't seen anything like it in 10 years.

"We have had a great period of renewal," he said.

"Three weeks ago, we sold 200 new season tickets -- that was before the settlement was announced -- and the phone has been ringing off the wall since the announcement."


I would presume that the lockout has only increased the appetite for NHL hockey up here in Canada. The Flames were coming off of a Finals appearance and, with a young team, looked to be in great shape for the future.

What hurts us only serves makes us stronger.

Comments:
You know, Jes, I was goign to make a post about this on Boltsmag -- about the negative press.

During the lockout - there was no press. I mean, you could get little fluff jobs here and there by ESPN, trying to save the face of their investment before they said the hell with it, but honestly things were silent during the lockout. We didn't here players mouthing off, we didn't hear about NHLPA tactics or NHL tactics besides "In brief" mentions.

Personally I see the negative media as better than nothing at all. Not just that, but something that puts the NHL back on the radar.

The media spin for the moment is going to be negative but it's going to remind the folks that hockey is back. Something may happen during the season that brings more back to see what the hub-bub is about.... little by little, the healing goes on.

The negative is needed as much as just regular coverage. It's part fo the healing processes - as sick as annoying as that is.
 
Well John, I wouldn't want you to NOT write something on my account. As a TBAYer, you have to live within such a hockey-unfriendly world. It would be interesting to read an account from an American point of view, to contrast my outsider (Canadian) view.
 
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