I had a number of beefs with todays TV broadcast from ABC... Of course I've already mentioned TV flubs... but there's a bigger flub that I really am pissed off about.
What happened to the Tampa Bay versus Philadelphia rivalry story?
There was brief mention of the Lightning and Flyers facing off once before, in 1996, but there was no mention of the bad blood between those two cities. No mention of how 1980 and 1996 only helped fan the flames of a closet rivalry between the two cities that grew into something with the Bucs / Eagles battles of the last few years. Where was this coverage?
I'll tell you were it was - straight up Disney's ass.
ABC / ESPN are smarting mightily not having "marquee" teams (ie teams they covered profusely during the season) in the playoffs. So instead of building up the games, they are building up one team and hoping to high hell that team advances -- Philadelphia. I'm not trying to tear down Philly or trying to trash talk on the Flyers and their fans because Philadelphia is a formidable team... but honestly they are desperate to have one team from the northeast corridor in the finals to guarantee that media market watching.
And you know what? That's bad for the league.
Continuing to stack all of their eggs in few baskets is what is detrimental to the league on TV. ESPN's coverage used to be a huge thing when they visited an NHL city. It was an EVENT. Now? It's passe. There's no fire to things any more... Why? Because they are covering most of the same teams nightly and give teams outside the major media markets only passing attention.
Tampa Bay included. San Jose included. Calgary included.
SO instead of building up a series primed to be a big sports rivalry, ABC took game one and made it bland and boring and stacked in the Flyers favor making this series seem more one sided than it is. It didn't give people a reason to watch besides their local teams playing, it didn't encourage the nation to watch, and it sure as hell didn't seem to care about trying to sell either team as great examples of professional ice hockey.
And yet these assclowns are going to get a contract extension from Gary Bettman... Oh well, he doesn't know better. The last 15 years of his reign have proved it.