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View Full Version : Televise the Women's D1 National Championship Game - how do we make it happen?



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Teresa N
03-24-2014, 11:59 AM
I make my best effort to watch the D1 Women's national championship game each year on television. A few years ago it was possible and I watched 3 years in a row from the comfort of my living room. The last three years you could not find the game on TV. This needs to change! What do we need to do and who do we need to convince to make it happen? A wide variety of men's college hockey games were available this past weekend on cable TV, and more men's basketball games that you would ever want to watch, but could a fan watch the D1 womens national championship? No. I am serious about fixing this problem. Please advise.

FireKnight
03-24-2014, 12:06 PM
ESPN owns the rights. Good luck convincing them to do it elsewhere if they wouldn't do the game just down the street from Bristol.

PuckLuck81
03-24-2014, 12:51 PM
Teresa, This one is easy. Get more of your female friends to watch women's hockey!! If the network gets good ratings and can make money, 100% certain they will televise the event. If they cannot sell advertising and make money they will not televise it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is just not enough interest throughout the country in women's hockey and broader in women's sports (the exception possibly with women's NCAA hoop tourney) to warrant TV coverage. Private enterprises like ESPN or local television stations are not in the "public service" business where they need to televise events because a small percentage of the population wants to watch it. They are in the ratings business and money making business.

The majority of men watch men's sports - football, basketball, baseball, men's hockey, golf - all of these sports get huge ratings and the interest from advertisers. A smaller percentage of men will check in and watch a Championship hockey game like the women's frozen four. For the record, I did watch the game on-line while I had college basketball on TV and the viewing experience was just fine.

So there you have it. You have two choices - 1) call all your friends and get them to start watching or 2) start your own private television network and you can broadcast absolutely any event or program you would like!!

Hux
03-24-2014, 02:42 PM
Teresa, This one is easy. Get more of your female friends to watch women's hockey!! If the network gets good ratings and can make money, 100% certain they will televise the event. If they cannot sell advertising and make money they will not televise it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is just not enough interest throughout the country in women's hockey and broader in women's sports (the exception possibly with women's NCAA hoop tourney) to warrant TV coverage. Private enterprises like ESPN or local television stations are not in the "public service" business where they need to televise events because a small percentage of the population wants to watch it. They are in the ratings business and money making business.

The majority of men watch men's sports - football, basketball, baseball, men's hockey, golf - all of these sports get huge ratings and the interest from advertisers. A smaller percentage of men will check in and watch a Championship hockey game like the women's frozen four. For the record, I did watch the game on-line while I had college basketball on TV and the viewing experience was just fine.

So there you have it. You have two choices - 1) call all your friends and get them to start watching or 2) start your own private television network and you can broadcast absolutely any event or program you would like!!

Better yet, attend in person.

PuckLuck81
03-24-2014, 03:42 PM
Better yet, attend in person.

Exactly - Option #3. We first need to create a demand, then the networks will take notice. Having a building that is 1/2 full for a National Championship game does not help to create demand. Having an overflow crowd, with people being turned away at the door would be a good start!!

As a comparison of interest in the women's game to the men's game, take the outdoor game at TCF Bank stadium in Jan - both Minnesota teams were playing Ohio St. Pretty sure both games were broadcast live on BTN - I was only able to watch on TV the later men's game because of a work commitment. It was my understanding the women's game was played in front of an empty stadium, maybe 1000 - 1500 people? The men's game the same night was a sellout, attended by 48,000. The networks take notice of those kind of numbers.

FireKnight
03-24-2014, 03:48 PM
I wonder if it's even a possibility these days. ESPN has production trucks at 16 different sites for women's squeakball, not to mention their other commitments. While a game in Hamden, close to the NY metro area may not be a difficult place to get a truck, committing to it this year and then having the game in some remote area next year may not be even feasible for ESPN.

Teresa N
03-24-2014, 05:17 PM
I live in Minnesota, the "State of Hockey". We broadcast all of the state high school hockey tournament for both the boys and girls A and AA games. But I also live 250 miles away from Minneapolis. To those who say fill up the arena for the National Championship game - we did last year! People were turned away who wanted desperately to see the game! And still they could not watch on TV. (I tried my computer and that was a joke.)

For those who say develop the demand - today our Governor asked why he could not watch the Sunday Women's Hockey Championship game on TV. If ESPN does not want to broadcast the game they should give up the rights to it. Thousands of people do want to watch the game. We watched the Olympic games, we watch the high school games. We attend the outdoor games and college games when we can. I cannot travel to the east coast every other year. I have 2 daughters in college now (yes, hockey players) - tuition is expensive. My family subscribes to NHL Center Ice and plays extra to do so each month. I would PAY money through a pay per view system to watch the Championship game each year. Again, this game used to be televised. It still should be. I got calls from friends and relatives on Sunday asking if I knew where they could find the game on TV on sunday. Not all of them live somewhere that gets great internet service (Anyone heard of Warroad Minnesota?) I am looking for real practical advice here - would it do me any good to call the NCAA chairman like I did last year? Or write the Board of Directors for the NCAA - I looked them all up. Not too many from a school with a hockey team of any kind. Will they care?? Should I call the coaches of the teams and ask for advice? ESPN has figured out where I live - they came to Fargo-Moorhead for NDSU football and broadcast a Saturday GameDay show from here. NDSU's basketball team got a little love from ESPN over the weekend for making it to the Big Dance. Why can't I watch the most important hockey game of the year in D1 Women's Hockey?

brookyone
03-24-2014, 05:29 PM
We don't actually have the quarterfinal games for the girls televised do we? For the girls I believe that begins with semifinal games. I would like for the televised availability to be the same for both tournaments.

Hux
03-24-2014, 05:40 PM
I live in Minnesota, the "State of Hockey". We broadcast all of the state high school hockey tournament for both the boys and girls A and AA games. But I also live 250 miles away from Minneapolis. To those who say fill up the arena for the National Championship game - we did last year! People were turned away who wanted desperately to see the game! And still they could not watch on TV. (I tried my computer and that was a joke.)

For those who say develop the demand - today our Governor asked why he could not watch the Sunday Women's Hockey Championship game on TV. If ESPN does not want to broadcast the game they should give up the rights to it. Thousands of people do want to watch the game. We watched the Olympic games, we watch the high school games. We attend the outdoor games and college games when we can. I cannot travel to the east coast every other year. I have 2 daughters in college now (yes, hockey players) - tuition is expensive. My family subscribes to NHL Center Ice and plays extra to do so each month. I would PAY money through a pay per view system to watch the Championship game each year. Again, this game used to be televised. It still should be. I got calls from friends and relatives on Sunday asking if I knew where they could find the game on TV on sunday. Not all of them live somewhere that gets great internet service (Anyone heard of Warroad Minnesota?) I am looking for real practical advice here - would it do me any good to call the NCAA chairman like I did last year? Or write the Board of Directors for the NCAA - I looked them all up. Not too many from a school with a hockey team of any kind. Will they care?? Should I call the coaches of the teams and ask for advice? ESPN has figured out where I live - they came to Fargo-Moorhead for NDSU football and broadcast a Saturday GameDay show from here. NDSU's basketball team got a little love from ESPN over the weekend for making it to the Big Dance. Why can't I watch the most important hockey game of the year in D1 Women's Hockey?

Simple answer: No money. Football and basketball play well in Peoria, and Valdosta, and any of the Springfields or Burlingtons. Hockey not so much, and women's sports other than hoop, softball or National team soccer not at all.

Bottom line is the deciding factor. If you don't have the numbers, in hundreds of thousands of viewers, you can't charge advertising rates that will cover your costs, let alone make a profit.

Again, given the availability of web streaming there is little incentive to push for anything more, especially since it will likely hurt the gate at the event itself.

D2D
03-24-2014, 05:43 PM
It would be interesting to know how many streamed the game, or at least tried to. :rolleyes:

Trillium
03-24-2014, 05:59 PM
Here's a different perspective. I'm really glad it was not televised....because it would have been on ESPN or ESPN2 or some fringe channel. I do not live in the US and therefore cannot get access to these channels. Because the composition of women's hockey teams includes a high percentage of international players (Canadian and European), that also means the fan base consists of lots of people outside US borders.

When the game is streamed, either by the school or the NCAA, the entire fan base can access it. If I want to watch it on my TV, I just set my computer up with the appropriate cables to do so. Not that big a deal. And I can watch it any time I like.

But if the game is televised on anything other than a mainstream national network channel, or is streamed by a broadcaster even, we have no access at all.

ARM
03-24-2014, 06:38 PM
If I want to watch it on my TV, I just set my computer up with the appropriate cables to do so.No matter what cable you set up, you'll still be watching a poor-quality picture. Some of our local channels used the video stream for their highlights from the weekend on their sports report. KARE-11 had a camera crew in Hamden and shot their own footage. It was a night and day difference. ESPN showed Shannon MacAulay's goal last night in their top 10, and it looked like an old-time home movie mixed in, because they also used the webcast for their video. Yes, I'd love to see the game televised.

pgb-ohio
03-24-2014, 06:41 PM
...To those who say fill up the arena for the National Championship game - we did last year! People were turned away who wanted desperately to see the game! And still they could not watch on TV. (I tried my computer and that was a joke.)

For those who say develop the demand - today our Governor asked why he could not watch the Sunday Women's Hockey Championship game on TV. If ESPN does not want to broadcast the game they should give up the rights to it. Thousands of people do want to watch the game...For me, the portion I've bolded is the key. The game must have at least a little commercial value, or ESPN wouldn't be holding it hostage. Further, I believe I've heard that ESPN has been approached about allowing syndicated broadcasts, but so far no one's been able to cut such a deal.

Viewed from that perspective, it would seem that ESPN is either asking too much or the potential syndicators are offering too little. It's at least theoretically possible that a price agreeable to both sides could be found. Can the public apply pressure on the parties to compromise? Maybe. When a cable company decides to go to war with a programming provider, usually efforts are made to persuade consumers that one side or the other is the "good guy." So consumers do have a legitimate role to play when this kind of issue arises. But with the financial stakes being relatively small, one wonders how influential consumer opinion will ultimately be.


I am looking for real practical advice here - would it do me any good to call the NCAA chairman like I did last year? Or write the Board of Directors for the NCAA - I looked them all up. Not too many from a school with a hockey team of any kind. Will they care?? Should I call the coaches of the teams and ask for advice?Well, it certainly couldn't hurt. I'm not sure when the ESPN/NCAA Championship contract comes up for renewal. But next time it does, the NCAA could demand a more favorable situation for the Women's FF and other similarly situated events. If the NCAA decision makers hear from enough people like you, maybe they'll be willing to raise the issue during negotiations.


Why can't I watch the most important hockey game of the year in D1 Women's Hockey?Here's a wild card possibility. Back in the '70s Public TV in Minnesota picked up the broadcasts of some key hockey games, often in connection with a fundraising drive. That's a LONG time ago, but IIRC, KTCA broadcast the 1976 Stanley Cup Finals (Montreal won) on that basis. Also IIRC, during the 1979 NCAA Men's Tournament, MN vs. UNH (semifinal) and MN vs. UND (famous Neal Broten goal in the title game) were presented on KTCA. The latter would seem to be a fairly good analogy for the situation the GWH program currently finds itself in.

35 years later, would Public Television have any interest in presenting a sporting event? No idea. But the Women's FF would seem to qualify as an "otherwise unserved taste," especially if a local team is participating. Presumably unserved tastes remain part of Public TV's mission.

But circling back to the beginning, this option would also require ESPN to release the rights to the tournament. So my first two comments once again apply.

Appreciate your passion on this issue.

Hux
03-24-2014, 06:48 PM
Last year there was a big push to get the rights so a Minny tv station could broadcast the game. The end result was ESPN wanted considerably more than the local folks felt like paying.

Again, it all comes down to the coin.

KTDC
03-24-2014, 06:55 PM
Last year there was a big push to get the rights so a Minny tv station could broadcast the game. The end result was ESPN wanted considerably more than the local folks felt like paying.


They could have looked at it as someone else doing the work building up the value of their property for them. But that would have taken a little bit of thought, and this is too little for them to think about. It's either worth it or it's not and that wasn't worth it. They own it and that's that.

To me, if there's anybody to call for those who care enough, it's the athletic departments or the NCAA. And in the meantime go out and watch the games.

D2D
03-24-2014, 06:57 PM
Last year there was a big push to get the rights so a Minny tv station could broadcast the game. The end result was ESPN wanted considerably more than the local folks felt like paying.

But from ESPN's perspective, isn't something better than nothing?

ARM
03-24-2014, 07:10 PM
But from ESPN's perspective, isn't something better than nothing?Here is what we could do. We record the programming that is on ESPN's main station during the time slot of the Frozen Four games, and note all of the sponsors. Then we contact both the sponsors and ESPN and boycott those sponsors for the next year, and do so until ESPN either gives up the rights or starts broadcasting the event. That is the only way ESPN would notice. Until then, they could care less. If you got a few thousand people to tell their sponsors that they are now being blacklisted, they would start to care. Sponsors want people to buy their products when they purchase ad time. They don't want to alienate consumers through no fault of their own. That is about the only way viewers can truly influence programming.

Realistically, we could get about 20 people to commit to following said plan, and maybe five of those would actually follow through. And that is why nobody televises the women's game. :(

Eeyore
03-24-2014, 07:29 PM
But from ESPN's perspective, isn't something better than nothing?

Not necessarily. There are costs associated with this kind of deal, including but not limited to rebroadcast rights, ownership of footage, other legal costs, and any possible loss of viewership to their own programming because people are watching something else. So someone would have to be willing to pay ESPN enough money to cover its expenses while also paying a small enough figure to be able to cover their own. And ESPN may have concluded, correctly or incorrectly, that the chances of that happening are too small to make it worth the hassle and expense of entering into negotiations.

Nowheresville
03-25-2014, 09:13 AM
Exactly - Option #3. We first need to create a demand, then the networks will take notice. Having a building that is 1/2 full for a National Championship game does not help to create demand. Having an overflow crowd, with people being turned away at the door would be a good start!!

As a comparison of interest in the women's game to the men's game, take the outdoor game at TCF Bank stadium in Jan - both Minnesota teams were playing Ohio St. Pretty sure both games were broadcast live on BTN - I was only able to watch on TV the later men's game because of a work commitment. It was my understanding the women's game was played in front of an empty stadium, maybe 1000 - 1500 people? The men's game the same night was a sellout, attended by 48,000. The networks take notice of those kind of numbers.

Sorry, but there are several factual errors here.

First, The past 2 Frozen Fours have been sold out, and last year at Ridder not only were people being turned away, scalpers were getting top dollar for tickets. This year, despite what it looked like on video, they were only selling standing room tickets for a couple weeks leading up to the games.

Second, the outdoor game at TCF was not shown on BTN, and actually the women played Mankato, not Ohio State. The game was only shown online, although that feed was being shown inside Mariucci and several other "pregame" events around campus. The attendance was 6,600, not 1000-1500, although that was going to look plenty empty in a 48,000 seat stadium. It was also played at 4 in the afternoon on a Friday, with the temperatures in the single digits, and obviously most people who were about to spend another 2.5 hours out in those conditions for the mens games, not surprisingly it wasn't exactly most people's priority. It should also be noted that the Men's game also did not sell out.


If the network gets good ratings and can make money, 100% certain they will televise the event. If they cannot sell advertising and make money they will not televise it. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is just not enough interest throughout the country in women's hockey and broader in women's sports (the exception possibly with women's NCAA hoop tourney) to warrant TV coverage.

But back to the larger issue, it's nowhere near as simple as saying that networks can't make money on women's hockey. While BTN did not show the TCF game, they did show a Gopher game live later in the year, and in a prime Saturday 7pm spot in the lineup, and they've been showing at least one or two live womens games a year for the past few years, and they also have been showing more games taped delayed. BTN also used the NCAA.com video from the Frozen Four to show highlights during their coverage of the B1G mens tourney.

If BTN can justify showing regular season games live, clearly there is the potential market for showing the Women's championship. There also was a market a just a few years ago, when the game was shown on TV, before ESPN got the rights. Face it, there are lots of sports networks these days, and on a Sunday Afternoon during the NCAA Basketball Tournament, no one is expecting to pull big numbers for any other sporting event.

So why isn't ESPN showing it, or allowing others to purchase it? That I can't say, other than clearly it is not a priority for them. But you do need to remember that ESPN didn't go out and bid on the Women's Hockey Championship, they bought a huge package of games from the NCAA, that just happens to include college hockey. Even on the mens side, while they are doing a better job this year, even some of this years regional games will only be broadcast live online. I suspect they bought all the rights in part as a marketing move to say they are the exclusive home of NCAA championships, or something like that, even if they only show a fraction of the actual games they have rights to.

I don't have solutions, and honestly, showing the games online doesn't bother me much, although I wish the production quality was a higher. I think in 5-10 years, people won't even care about it not being on "old fashion" cable, because watching live events online is becoming more and more commonplace each day.

KTDC
03-25-2014, 09:21 AM
Minnesota's governor got into the debate:

From the Facebook page of Gov. Mark Dayton: "I just watched the University of Minnesota Women’s Hockey Team lose a heartbreaker to Clarkston, 5-4, in the National Championship game. My eyes are still cross-eyed from trying to follow the puck on a 4”x6” screen, via an NCAA computer link. It’s disgraceful that no national or local television station televised the game for the National Championship."

http://www.startribune.com/sports/blogs/251937101.html

This is online at the Twin Cites newspaper, the StarTribune. Check out the comments at the bottom of the page (44 of them as of now). You can get an education on capitalism from some real sophisticates, check out the lowest common denominator, and see the danger of casting your pearls among swine!