The NBC Sports Network announced their first major tv deal today, you can see it here. Essentially they got a lot of different games from all over the place, featuring ECAC, Hockey East, WCHA, and CCHA (only Atlantic Hockey didn’t get games). Interestingly, Versus also won the right to broadcast the Hockey East tournament games, showing the final, semifinals, and one quarterfinal game (NESN will broadcast the same games and will blackout Versus in the region).
Despite Northeastern not getting any games shown (no surprise there), this is great news. First, this benefits college hockey as a whole. There’s a lot more national exposure for the sport, and NBC Sports is clearly interested in college hockey. Secondly, NBC Sports is going to start broadcasting Notre Dame home games when they enter Hockey East. This means when Northeastern visits Notre Dame for 2 games every other year, we’ll get to see them on tv. Finally, there’s a lot of room for more games. You’ll see on the schedule that they have a number of double-headers. You could expand that and have every Friday night a double-header, have an ECAC/Hockey East game early, and then a CCHA/WCHA game later. Not to mention there’s more competition for games. With NESN, NBC Sports, and CBS Sports all vying for games, Hockey East should be able to finagle better deals, with some more money and more games on tv. The amount of money and number of game increases won’t be a lot, but since there’s not a ton of games and not a lot of money anyway, it’ll be a nice improvement.
Up next, a Fenway game for Northeastern is being mentioned. It would take place the January 14th game against BC (also taking away a BC home game). There are more details to come, but I think it will definitely be a nice thing to finally get a game there and not be screwed over yet another year.
Secondly, Mike McMahon over at the Warrior Rink Rat is reporting Holy Cross, RPI, and UConn are the three schools interested in becoming the 12th member of Hockey East. Holy Cross has likely been piqued by the community interest in their move. Holy Cross has some decent name-brand status, and the city of Worcester is allowing the use of the DCU Center, a large arena in the city itself, for it’s games. In the past, a better arena has been the only thing that has held Holy Cross back from moving up. If the arena situation can be finalized, Holy Cross could be a great addition to Hockey East. RPI has been discussed and is the most ready. UConn’s interest is interesting because they’re the least ready, but is the most recognized school. If they want in they’ll have to add at least 12 scholarships (and 18 to be competitive), and build a new arena (and likely add a women’s team of some sort to offset the new men’s scholarships). If they want in they’ll have to invest heavily, but they’re interest indicates they have some level of support for such a move.
Finally, Alabama-Huntsville supports have announced they have enough money to fund the program for 3 years. This is terrific news, but thinking further, I’m not sure how much it’ll help. The idea is to have enough money to keep it going until it can find a new conference, but if the new chancellor that comes in pulls the plug again or they can’t get a new conference, it’ll all be for naught.