CBC’s lukewarm response to ex-pat hockey fans

{cross-posted from Ephemeral Feasthouse post: CBC’s lukewarm response to ex-pat hockey fans Re: Why you can’t watch Hockey Night on the web outside of Canada via The Tea Makers: IM chat with Andrew Lundy}

CBC streams their coverage of NHL playoff games along with TV coverage etc. but if you are a (taxpaying) Canadian living elsewhere, you are outta luck. I thought CBC might take a progressive approach on this conundrum and view this as an opportunity but no luck – instead a lukewarm meandering response showing disregard for the love of hockey held by Canucks abroad. And frankly waiting for the NHL to do anything smart or useful is a waste of time. Anyhow, thanks to a mystery blogger quoted via Inside the CBC, here is an interview snippet and my comment. And yours?

O: I have a lot of friends who live overseas. Every time I talk to them they ask me why they can’t watch the Stanley Cup online….

AL: Our agreement with the NHL is for Canada only. NBC and Versus wouldn’t like it if someone in Boise was watching an HNIC broadcast online, eating into their customer base. Ditto for someone in Sweden (although I don’t know who’s broadcasting competitively there).

I understand the frustation, though. We’re sending this online to a population that can watch it on main net and in HD.. why give them online? But it’s the way of the future and our numbers were, I’d say, solid for a first-time, and for games that were played in the evening (not online’s prime time by any means).

O: So that’s that?

AL: For now, that’s that. I don’t know of anyone who has global rights. Not for anything major, anyway.

O: Why doesn’t the NHL sell a subscription a streaming site of their own making? So people could pay to watch?

AL: You’d have to ask them. Major League Baseball sure does, and they do a fantastic job. But each league is different, and maybe there’s a different philosophy at play between the two leagues.

I chime in thusly with this impassioned plea for reason:

DaveO Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

June 13th, 2007 at 11:04 am PDT As a podcaster (I make the Canucks Outsider) and an occasional ex-pat, i think CBC pursuing a way to get hockey to all Canadians is a key initiative and a worthy mission. Frankly few in the US is watching anyhow as i learned while traveling on business during the Stanley Cup playoffs and couldn’t even find a bar in NYC who’d play the games (there was yet another Yankees/Red Sox game on).

CBC certainly has sufficient clout with NHL – who are discounting rights heavily anyhow to get any US network to carry games at all (and Versus’ coverage is a joke but getting better) – i suggest CBC has enough clout to make this almost-essential public service happen. Bear in mind, hockey is not just sport, hockey is culture to us. Just try living overseas while your team is in the playoffs and you’ll agree with the “essential” part.

During the Canucks run, I produced a companion broadcast of the games (no, i didn’t show the actual games) to Canadian hockey fans in UK, China, Australia, … all of whom would eagerly ante up a subscription fee to view the CBC broadcasts. Also bear in mind, many border states cable packages include CBC so there are some rights cross-overs existing already.

Please do not wait for the NHL to do *something* – the CBC is the real home for hockey coverage for all of us Canadian (taxpayers) no matter where we live.