The Sin Bin

February 16, 2011 2:17 PM

Hump day pontifications; Time for an NCAA Center Ice...

Recently while I was on KNOX 1310 with R.J. Richards; I was asked why we can't see more college hockey on television. It was one of the first questions out of the box and at the time I wasn't really prepared for that question because I thought we were going to go another direction and gave R.J. the generic answer that hockey is a niche/regional sport that doesn't get as much attention or focus that some of the major sports like basketball and football receive and not every program is equal in their focus on hockey. I recovered by saying that I would pay extra money each year like I do to receive NHL Center Ice to watch more college hockey.

Since that radio show I have been pondering that question for a couple of weeks now. What are we really talking about here? Most serious sports fans that I know from this area already probably receive the extended sports package (MidcoNet) where they can watch FCS, BTN, ESPNU and CBS College Sports. Multiply the fee of $5.00 - $10.00 by X = Number of hockey games purchased and a lot of college hockey fans are probably already paying an extra $60.00 - $100.00 dollars every hockey season to watch college hockey not available to them on television, or they are traveling on the road to watch these games in person. Why not just give college hockey fans an NCAA College Hockey Center Ice?

Personally, I know I have spent many of hours and probably hundreds of dollars huddled next to my lap top attempting to watch the Fighting Sioux play opponents away from the Ralph on the low quality B2TVnetwork. That's all we have right now but it's better than nothing. That's why I think there would be a demand for a NCAA Center Ice package that college hockey fans could purchase to watch games from other parts of the country. I think western college hockey fans would like to see for themselves just how good Yale, Union, RIT or Boston College really are is instead of having some hockey pundit tell us they are really good and there is no need to debate the premise.

Give me the Bean Pot Please

Every year in Boston they play a Bean Pot hockey tourney and all of the Division 1 college hockey teams from the city of Boston (Boston College, Northeastern, Boston University, Harvard) play in a college hockey tourney over the course of two weeks. The Bean Pot title is for bragging rights in the city of Boston. This is a very prestigious tourney and would be nice to see all over the college hockey fandom. On a national scene why is it that we can't see this tourney on television in Grand Forks, ND without having to buy Direct TV? I don't want to buy Direct TV because if I am not able to make the Fighting Sioux hockey games at home I don't want to be at the mercy of Fox College Sports.

The next question I would potentially ask; is ESPN, ESPNU, CBS College Sports too busy showing their crappy Monday through Thursday programming that they can't show the Bean Pot hockey games on their channel? They wouldn't have to do anything out of the ordinary; they might be able to just take the feed from NESN anyways. There wouldn't be a lot of labor involved or effort on their part to have this game shown on their network.

B.C. Interruption has a great blog post on how the Bean Pot tourney is mismanaged from a marketing perspective. That quote couldn't be closer to the truth, it's sad really. There is a lot of potential money to be made off of that hockey tourney that isn't being realized.
Last night, BC sports marketing professor Lou Imbriano tweeted "The Beanpot a great event and tradition that is clearly mismanaged from a marketing/sponsorship perspective."

While I think the importance of the Beanpot is overstated, I tend to agree with Professor Imbriano.

The Beanpot Tournament usually marks the time of year when the casual Superfan starts to really take notice of Jerry York and the men's hockey program. And Superfans take extra special notice any time the Eagles face the Terriers.

Think about this, next season there is a very strong possibility that the Fighting Sioux will open with an Ice Breaker Tourney at the REA in Grand Forks, ND the guest list for this potential show case could include high profile teams like UND, Michigan, Boston College and Air Force Academy. Wouldn't that be a good tourney to have on television? Isn't there a lot of potential money to be made off of this hockey tourney? Wouldn't this be a great season opener to get everyone ready for the NCAA hockey season by being able to watch these games on Television? Maybe this is why the Big Ten wants to have their hockey conference? The product is there already and prime for picking. We don't need a new hockey league to maximize this potential money just sitting out there.

Cross posted at Goon's World 

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