I agree with Doc Holliday.
ESPN wouldn't shove the NHL down the throats of anyone.
You have to follow the money with the way ESPN treated the NHL when it was on. They simply do not give hockey enough attention to warrant such a substantial difference in a contract offer.
Hire Gary Thorne to NBC, and I guarantee you half of the criticisms of this deal would go away.
I remember numerous occasions that the NHL games would be cut off if they went over their time or they wouldn't go over to the game if something else was going on. People here may not remember what it was like back then, but I was furious during the playoffs back in 1996 and 1997. I remember a few Wings games getting cut off for some golf tournament and there was no where else you could see the game. I know, just one example, but its a good one.
I was glad when Versus picked up the NHL. They give the NHL more exposure than ESPN ever did. Less homes? Thats fine. More specials, hockey shows, and so on is what I want to see. With the NHL Network now, I am a very happy camper.
NHL Home Ice on XM Radio had a great interview with Gary Thorne and Bill Clement together. Gary pretty much said his existing contract to do baseball was more lucrative and NBC and Versus couldn't pay him enough. ESPN did volunteer to let him out of his contract, but they sweetened the deal to keep him around. Who knows what the future holds though. He has not ruled out a return to broadcasting hockey. Gary also said that the thing he misses most about hockey is the playoffs. The two month run is nothing like anything else in sports.
I want Gary Thorne!
I hope Gary returns as well.
- Vladifan likes this