A tip of my cap to Andrew Bucholtz for tipping me off to a brief footnote in a Globe and Mail column by Bruce Dowgibbin providing me with some more cannon fodder for our dear diminutive NHL figurehead.
Let’s just cut to the quick:
Has Lance Armstrong become the Tiger Woods of cycling? The controversial American has been away from the Tour de France since 2005, but is making a comeback this year. For the first 10 stages of the 2009 Tour de France, ratings for Versus’ coverage are up 77 per cent through the comparable point last year. That includes an 85-per-cent rise among men 18 to 34 and 132 per cent for men 18 to 49. The 479,800 viewers for the Tour de France tops the 442,300 viewers Versus averaged for the first round of the ’09 Stanley Cup playoffs.
Yeah, I know the off-season is tough so we’re reduced to cycling news and talking about Lance Armstrong and…
Wait a second, what was that?
Cycling is doing better than the NHL on television when the cycling takes place while most Americans are supposed to be at work and away from television sets.
Un. Freaking. Real.
Remember, the NHL airs during prime time hours and they attempt to cater at will to anyone and everyone, meanwhile dudes in spandex riding a bike (RIDING A BIKE) do better TV business than the NHL on the SAME DAMN NETWORK?!
I can see the visionary changes with Versus and the NHL now.
Games played at 11 in the morning on a mountain in Europe and changes to the uniforms to make them even tighter than they are now and more expensive for fans to purchase just so the league can cash in on this cycling craze that has the ratings all abuzz.
Better yet, let’s just get right down to what this means for the NHL.
Bicycle Ice Polo.
Get ready for it – it’ll be the most difficult sport ever created and it’ll come to Versus because some inept boob can’t make his current sport more popular/noticeable/marketable/affordable.
How can this leadership failure be allowed to continue? It’ll be fun when the salary cap falls by $5 million dollars after this upcoming season and teams start to really cry foul about money. Good thing the NHL extended that non-lucrative TV contract with NBC recently because, really, who needs TV money to survive anyway?
Not Herr Bettman and certainly not the NHL – they operate in a world without money. They operate in the South Pacific islands where bartering is legal tender. Make sure you brought enough chickens and volcanic stones to the ticket office so you can see a game this season.