OLN OFFICIALLY BECAME VERSUS SEPTEMBER 25TH
On Monday, the OLN television network officially re-named itself Versus. The sports network added the NHL and Stanley Cup Playoffs to a roster that includes cycling
(Tour de France, Giro d'Italia, Vuelta a Espana, Tour de Georgia), the America's Cup, Professional Boxing by Top Rank, NLL, the Dakar Rally
, the Davis Cup, the Boston Marathon, and AMA Motocross among others.
Larry Stewart reported in the Los Angeles Times that the 2-year, $135 million television deal the network signed with the NHL last year includes options which could lead to 6 years. According to a press release
on the name change, Versus is now available to over 70 million homes.
OLN Switches to 'Versus', The sports network, which picked up the NHL last year, changes to its new name today to convey that its reach goes beyond outdoors
- Los Angeles Times.
"It has a range that can suit everything from stick and ball sports to bull riding to field sports," said network president Gavin Harvey... "Versus captures the essence of our brand," Harvey said. "We felt it was a slam dunk, and sports fans we talked to all agreed.
Name change at OLN was inside job
- Boston Globe.
One problem the network encountered is covered by this article in the Media Post
Versus has done research on 21 million TV viewers who are competitive, but don't watch OLN. "For some reason, they aren't watching us. They may watch reality shows, ESPN or local TV hockey games. But not national TV hockey games on OLN," he says. To get the word out, Versus will purchase spots in print, radio, local and national cable networks, as well as late-night broadcast programs that target young men. For print, Versus will be buying FHM, Sports Illustrated, Maxim, Men's Health, USA Today, and local newspapers, especially in NHL markets.
is good, some of it can be inspired
. More exposure on the air, in print, and in bars will help. Another option is to simply air the best content. The inaugural Tour of California
cycling race had to pay ESPN for abbreviated coverage.
The Mavericks Big Wave Surfing Competition had a national telecast, but it was brief and tape delayed several months. There is an annual contest by Billabong XXL
with dual awards for the surfer who rides the largest wave, and the photographer who captures it. Watch this youtube video
of Mike Parsons at the 2005 Tow In World Cup from Peahi, Maui (aka Jaws). Man vs 70 foot wall of water. Sells itself, doesn't it?
Mixed martial arts has taken off with a UFC reality show, and a UFC highlight show on SpikeTv. Fox Sports is in the second year of broadcasting a Pride FC highlight show, which strips out a lot of the drama and entertainment from the main PPV events. ESPN airs kickboxing.
There are literally a dozen non-televised MMA events Versus could chose from and draw a respectable younger audience (Abu Dhabi, Sambo, Pancrase, Judo, Sumo). Or they could put together a regular highlight show once a week and cover all of them. Look at the events currently selling out arenas.
Versus was the first network I have seen stream an entire boxing event online. With the addition of Legends of the Ring
, and Soul of a Champion
features on past boxing champions, Versus is delivering compelling boxing content
. They just need to get the word out.
Stream hockey online, you can measure the audience with a much higher precision, reach a larger audience, and it will draw more eyeballs to the television broadcasts. Take a chance on more non-tradional sports, jump on the bandwagon with Versus Poker, and publish a blog that can tie together all of the disparate sporting threads with links, photos, and videos.
- Preview of the new NHL.com website
, from Vancouver Canucks Op-Ed.
- Compare this article
on NHL coverage in the Toronto Star with this blog post
Here is a 6-month trend graph
I posted that details sports coverage on blogs. It would be nice to have a 6-month or 5-year graph for newspaper coverage. I submitted NHL Blogs to Technorati. This page
now details the frequency of their posts, who they link out to, and who links back to them.
LEFT WING NILS EKMAN
- Left wing Nils Ekman was traded from a line with two scoring champions, to a line in Pittsburgh with a possible future scoring champion
Just for kicks, preseason stats for all 4 from CBS Sportsline
- Crosby, Ovechkin have hard act to follow — their own
- Globe and Mail.
- In a post today from Dan Steinberg's excellent DC Sports blog
, he covers the Washington Capitals, Washington Nationals, and D.C. United's convergance on RFK stadium for batting practice.
- Pittsburgh rookie phenom Evgeni Malkin was diagnosed with a dislocated left shoulder, but he will not need surgery after being re-evaluated
Monday. Are there any owners who can take his place in the lineup until he returns?
- The NHL exhibition game
between the New York Rangers and Florida Panthers in Puerto Rico featured Al Montoya, the NHL's first Cuban-American player according to Vanessa Bauza of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The game also featured Jamaican-Canadian Anthony Stewart.
- Rangers icing in the tropics
- NY Newsday.
- NHL crashes in as Sharks clip Ducks, Fans and Falcons officials ring in the hockey season at Save Mart exhibition
- Fresno Bee.
For Sharks general manager Doug Wilson, it was a chance to connect with fans of his team's ECHL affiliate, the Fresno Falcons.
But truly, an NHL game in Fresno is made for the fans -- guys like Mark Haywood and Heath Baylis. Haywood, an ardent backer of both the Sharks and the Falcons, sat in the upper deck Saturday with group of family members -- all wearing Sharks jerseys.
"My team came to see me," Haywood said.
The Fresno Falcons, backstopped by former Sharks goaltending prospect Jamie Holden, came one overtime goal away from making the ECHL finals last season. Here is a photo of the ECHL Kelly Cup alongside its older brother Stanley and a post from the ECHL Allstar Game
hosted by Fresno in January.
From my experience last season
, the Sharks actually have a big fan base in Fresno, Stockton and Bakersfield. The Kings were the most popular NHL jersey at the Long Beach Arena. Maybe the now defunct San Diego Gulls favored Anaheim.
- Nice blogroll from AOL
Offwing, Hockeybird, Hockey Rodent, Canucks Corner.
The Washington Capitals
also have a nice list of local blogs on the front page, but you have to give credit where credit is due. The St Louis Blues
have been supporting "fan" websites for some time. If anyone links to or references Sharkspage in the future, please use the term "blog" or "website", not "fan site", "fan blog", or "blog site". Thank you.
- Blogs that should be added to this blogroll shortly: Predspage
(nice name), The Pens Blog
, and Hello Hockey Fans
. Submit your blog here
, if there is no room on the front page you will be added on the links section
. Individual posts can be forwarded at any time, but not all can be discussed or linked to.
- From Bruins Legends: Adam Oates
"As far as I'm concerned, he's the second best playmaking center behind Wayne Gretzky in hockey," said Brett Hull. Hull should know. Considered to be one of the greatest goal scorers in the history of the game, Hull enjoyed his finest years in the three seasons Hull and Oates made fine music in St. Louis. Hull scored 72, 86 and 70 goals in those three seasons, an unthinkable total of 228 goals in 231 games.
Hull may be Oates' most famous recipient, but not his only. Oates is the only player to center three 50-goal scorers - Peter Bondra, Cam Neely and Hull. He is also the only one to center two players , Neely and Hull, who scored 50 goals in 50 games.
He ranks 6th all time in career assists, with 1079 in 1337 games, trailing Paul Coffey, Ray Bourque, Mark Messier Ron Francis, and Wayne Gretzky, all of who played more games. His career assists per game ratio of 0.85 is only outdone by Bobby Orr (0.98), Mario Lemieux (1.13) and Gretzky (1.32).
- From TheAHL.com
and Kuklas Korner:
The American Hockey League and B2 Networks announced today the introduction of B2 Power Play, a new service that will provide complete coverage of AHL action to fans on a worldwide basis.
Included in the B2 Power Play package are access to watch every regular-season game of your favorite AHL team, free access to the AHL Game of the Week and exclusive weekly highlights. And in addition to broadband viewing on personal computers, B2 Power Play will also be available on the new B2toGO network, allowing fans to watch American Hockey League games on cell phones and other wireless devices.
More from b2Networks and the AHL can be found here
- Still mighty: Brian Burke now a small fish in a big pond
- Vancouver Sun.
"Anonymity is nice". Unless you are selling a non-tradional sport in a saturated market to a youth segment of the public that is for the most part unmotivated.
With Pronger-Niedermayer being one of the top defensive pairings in NHL history (at least on the power play), a colorful quote machine in GM Brian Burke (I didn't know Sedin was Swedish for punch me), and an offensive-laden crop of forwards lead by a veteran
who likes to score goals as well as do donuts in the parking lot, the Ducks should do fine at the box office. Whether they can draw a significant percentage of television eyeballs will be something to keep an eye on.
Iain MacIntyre finishes his column in the Vancouver Sun with a top 5 list of Burke moves that turned the franchise around: 1. Niedermayer, 2. Selanne, 3. Moving Fedorov for Francois Beauchemin, 4. Trading Sykora, Ozolinsh and Carney, 5. Chris Pronger. Nice list, but after this season Pronger will move up 4 slots to #1.
- For some reason the Chris Pronger image search
on Google Images has been driving a lot of traffic to this blog. Not sure why [#9].
- New video news search feature from TVeyes.com: National Hockey League
- Sharkspage was user #1000 on ArmchairGM.com
. Unfortunately the email I received telling me this also told me I did not win anything. Armchair GM
looks to be a directory of blogs
, with a news archive
, and the ability to submit your own articles and opinions as well.
A review of ArmchairGM was sent in by co-founder Dan Lewis:
ArmchairGM is where sports fans go to write and read about sports. You can read and write a news article about anything sport related, add an opinion to any news article already written, vote and comment on any story. Readers determine which stories are placed on the front page by votes casted on the story. The site is also a wiki, like Wikipedia, and allows fans to fact check and add facts to the website's directory thereby giving the site a validation system for sport readers and writers to verify information against.
- ESPN2 author, Kansas City Star columnist, and frequent ESPN television commentator Jason Whitlock gave a jaw droppingly honest interview with the blog at Thebiglead.com
. After several frank comments on race and sports journalism, Whitlock's critique of Mike Lupica raised concerns with ESPN.
Jason Whitlock later wrote in The Star
that he was fired for the interview. Whitlock neither retracted his comments nor did he back away or clarify them as others have done in similar situations. He stood by his opinions, and accepted the consequences.
- An email from the Oakland Athletics:
A's Win the West ======
The A's jumped out to an early lead with Frank Thomas' RBI
single and homers from Nick Swisher and Milton Bradley.
Oakland never let up, and defeated Seattle, 12-3. The victory,
combined with the Angels' loss, clinched the AL West title for
the A's on Tuesday night. Full Story.
- Note from Chelsea's game today against Levski Sofia in the UEFA Championships League: Didier Drogba's 2006 salary = $37 million euros, Andrei Shevchenko's 2006 salary = $45 million euros. The NHL salary cap this season? $44 million U.S. dollars. Chelsea won 3-0 with a hat trick
scored by Drogba.
- I want to take photos like these
. Gallery from the 2005 MotoGP race at Laguna Seca by Jules Cisek. Next year with my new 400mm lens, I will give it a shot.
- Blog Note: Most of the non-hockey related content on this blog will move shortly to another general sports blog I am shopping around. Details will be posted in the next week or two.
- Welcome to two new Sharkspage European advertisers: soldouteventtickets.com
. Hopefully I can take advantage of your Premiership Soccer and F1 Monaco ticket services next year.
[Update] 'They want a Cup': Falling short last year has only made the Sharks hungrier. This time around, very little will stand in their way
- National Post.
The San Jose Sharks are that other good team from California. Not the one with Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer on its blue line. The Sharks are the ones in teal. The team that is ready -- finally -- to win the Stanley Cup this season.
In the last two playoffs, the end has come to San Jose, not the other way around. The Sharks have been that team that pushed Alberta's Cinderella teams to their limit, but in the end a Joe Thornton goal post, a Martin Gelinas winner or a Dwayne Roloson overtime robbery stood between the Sharks and their chum.