WHAT I THINK WOULD ENHANCE HOCKEY ON TV
Yes, more me. Me love me some me.
But more realistically, and less narcissistically, here are 10 items from my frustrated and fertile mind:
1.) When at all possible have BOTH teams wear their 'dark' or colored jersey
The ice is white. Half of all jerseys are predominantly white. White against white is excellent for polar bear hunting or Wampa evasion if you are a Tauntaun on Hoth (Empire Strikes Back reference) but not for televised hockey. Show the color of our game, of our teams. Celebrate it for TVs sake. Futbol in Europe does this - well.
2.) Mic the game with permission to play back conversations that include adult language bleeped out.
I don't understand how I can watch Hell's Kitchen on network TV with bleeped out language, but not NHL hockey with the same treatment, on cable?
3.) Move the anthem(s) out of the TV window
We visually and verbally contort our presentations - when first coming on the air - in order to avoid or cover-up dark buildings with bad audio. At the same time it forces an advertised 7 o'clock or 7:30 start time to actually be a 7:08 or 7:40 first face-off.
4.) Afford more time for celebration, replays, analysis, and player info enhancement following goals
This continues to baffle me. The argument that "hockey ops" won't afford this because they want the game to keep moving and the scoring team to have the advantage of momentum is hollow. The games hit full speed immediately after 90 second TV timeouts, and 60 to 180 second goal reviews so an extra 30 seconds after an obvious goal is extremely doable.
5.) Mandate that every broadcast in the league be given 30 seconds to run a well produced piece on the teams/players involvement in charitable endeavors in the community
The NBA gets this (NBA Cares). The NFL gets this (United Way). Why won't the NHL allow the game to be held for 30 seconds in order to show the good that people are doing?
6.) Standardize size of acceptable monitors for broadcast booths
If we are going to continue to be given the worst vantage points in the building at least ensure that we will be able to follow the game, react to replays, and decipher nuances on screens bigger than a paperback novel.
7.) Seriously pursue a way to have the puck show up better on television in order to accentuate the speed at which it travels and where it is.
HD has helped, but it hasn't solved the issue. Having the puck show up better would have a profound effect. Puck enhancement would immensely aid the pursuit of having the in-arena experience transfer to TV. Instead of what looks like pantomime moving across our screens the viewer would actually be able to follow the blistering pace of the object all are focused on, and, see a puck go into the net rather than merely display a pavlovian response to a broadcasters call.
8.) Form a panel, much like other NHL departments have, that would include team, local or regional personnel with a goal of discussing difficulties and brainstorming ideas of how to improve the coverage.
We do a lot of games. We are the field generals. We have a lot of smart, passionate people. Don't always talk at us, listen.
9.) Shorten intermissions, and/or eliminate one of them.
I vividly remember Ed Goren and David Hill speaking about this when Fox had the national rights and I was fortunate enough to be working for them. They correctly stated, "Hockey is the only sport that tells it's fans to go away twice a game." That's two opportunities for fans to go elsewhere and perhaps never return. Traditionalists will scream about hockey being a "three period game" but those screams should already be muffled because of the recent additions of overtime and shootouts.
If doing away with an intermission is too radical at least make them shorter. Every arena has two Zambonis now so resurfacing doesn't take 15 minutes. The on-ice 'events' during intermissions are virtually unnecessary now that state of the art HD video screens have become almost standard in NHL arenas. Use the technology. Get on with the action.
10.) Rethink how commercials are inserted into our games
The rhythm of NHL hockey changed after the work stoppage and subsequent changes to the game, but our commercial placement has mostly stayed the same. Maybe it's time to return to :30 or :60 stoppages (one or two commercials)? Stop the game at the first whistle under the ten minute mark for ice maintenance (Ice Girls) and use this as a 90 second commercial break. The six other spots could be sprinkled in as a :60 and a :30 prior to, and a :60 and a :30 after the ten minute mark. Easier to get a 30 second spot squeezed in late in a period/game than it is to get a full 90 second break in.
Posted on September 15, 2011 04:30 PM Email Razor
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