I have a comment on Puck Daddy today in response to an article about the NHL leaving ESPN being a mistake, I thought I would share it here:
I never have, and don't think I ever will miss the NHL on the worldwide leader in lying about sports.
Of all the reasons to criticize Bettman, this would be the one thing I secretly respect him for (in the spirit of the "Guilty Pleasures" series).
Remember ESPN picked up NBA rights during the lockout, at best the NHL would've got one game a week on "the deuce." Yes, Versus offered double, and double the airtime. And now look. We're talking national coverage on every game from the second round onward in the new deal with NBCU. Never would've happened on ESPN.
After this ten years is up maybe ESPN/NBC share ala the NBA, leaving ESPN had its growing pains, but is clearly paid off big. NBCU clearly has some growing to do, the rebranding of Versus is a start, and hopefully will mean some programming that might compete with sportscenter for raitings (personally I can't stand sportscenter so much I watch "Final Score" on FSN, the often get to hockey in the first segment!). They'll probably develop and ESPN3 like platform soon as well.
Good on NBCU for their treatment of the NHL, ESPN can f themselves with a broken bottle for all I care.