Sunday, July 31, 2005

Looks Like It's OLN/Comcast

The Boston Globe is reporting that the NHL and Comcast have agreed to terms on a cable package. The OLN will be revamped into a sports network to take on ESPN.

The first piece of the puzzle to achieve all-sports legitimacy would be to acquire the NHL's national rights. Indications are that such a deal is in place and waiting to be announced this week, once the NHL finishes anointing Sidney Crosby as its savior during this weekend's draft festivities in Ottawa.

I have been against OLN from the beginning, because I don't even know what channel it is on my TV. In addition, it is in a lot less households than ESPN, TNT and Spike. But, if OLN revamps itself from just the Tour de France to a true competitor to ESPN, that will be great. I don't think ESPN is as bad as some other writers do, but it has become a competition network instead of a sports network. Eating is not a sport. Period. End of discussion.

If OLN gives the NHL top billing and shows a lot of games, that would be great. I'm not excited about this deal but I feel I might have been too quick to judge OLN. (In my defense, I did not realize Comcast would be revamping OLN into an ESPN competitor.) If Comcast does this right, it could be great for the NHL. I just hope people remember what number channel the games are on.

Thanks to HockeyCountry for the heads up. And I have to link to BoltsMag, as John originally said that Comcast was the dark horse when I was writing them off.