Bob Thompson, president of Fox Sports Net talked recently about his network.On the NHL
- First of all, it's no play, no pay. To the extent that teams aren't playing games, we don't pay rights fees. The flip side to that is we obviously sell no advertising in those games. And depending on how long a work stoppage goes, at some point it will kick in that you have to refund money to your distributors. They pay us a fee on the expectation that they're going to get a certain level of product.
We also save money if there are no games because there are no production fees. There's savings there.
Net, it's probably a financial gain for us. I wouldn't call it a windfall. And I would much rather have the games being played than not have them. We're in the business of televising local sports events.On the future of the NHL
- Yeah, missing an entire season is tough. I've been through a lot of work stoppages, and this one scares me the most probably. The NHL had less room to maneuver. The people who follow hockey are rabid fans, but there are not as many of them. For that reason, you can make the assumption hockey will bounce back quicker. But to the extent it upsets their hard-core fans, then there are serious problems.
I'm not writing the sport off by any means, but it's certainly something I'm concerned about. As we go forward with negotiations, or extensions, renewals of NHL deals, we will certainly watch very carefully as to what the response is upon the time they do finally return.How are the ratings?
- It's interesting. In a couple of places, from a ratings standpoint, we've actually benefited from not having hockey. There are certain markets where you can put on a college basketball game and do a better rating than NHL hockey would do. L.A., Phoenix, Nashville, Raleigh, Florida - not exactly hockey strongholds. The flip side, say in Detroit, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Minneapolis, there is a ratings effect.