My name ... is Tim

February 28th, 2012 at 4:46 PM ^

Not sure what the viewership is like in the Midwest in non-college towns like Ann Arbor, but anytime I've tried watching out here in the NY/NJ area I've just been met with blank stares when I ask a bartender/waiter/waitress to put on college hockey. Can't say I'm altogether surprised, but at least it's not on The Ocho.

PatrickBateman

February 28th, 2012 at 10:04 PM ^

What is even better is when they decide to play these games in California and other places with strong traditions of college hockey... no wait that isn't right. 

At least this year the Frozen Four is being held in Tampa Bay... WTF?!

In other news, the NCAA is moving the beach volleyball championship to Green Bay, set for January 15th next year.

Clarence Beeks

February 28th, 2012 at 10:58 PM ^

Honestly, I apologize for how this is going to come across, but this needs to be said.  The attitude expressed in the above post is completely inaccurate and unfair.  I'm from Michigan and grew up playing hockey at a high level and, despite what you might think, the Tampa Bar are is a GREAT hockey market.  It's really frustrating to hear/read people repeat a line like the above without knowing anything at all about the market and just making an assumption that it isn't because it's "down south" or because the Miami market sucks so bad.  Hint: almost no one is actually from the Tampa Bay area originally and almost everyone who lives in the Tampa Bay area is originally from somewhere with strong hockey traditions, which is a significant distinguishing factor between the Tampa Bay area and the Miami (i.e. people who move the Tampa Bay area typically seem to come from the Midwest and Pennsylvania, whereas people on the other coast typically seem to come from the New York area).

lhglrkwg

February 29th, 2012 at 10:02 AM ^

but I can almost guarantee you the games won't sell out. Even if there's a good hockey base in Tampa, there's still probably not a good college hockey base. Pulling the frozen four over 1000 miles away from almost all of the teams is bad news. College hockey is popular only in a section of the country and it's still a niche following there

Clarence Beeks

February 29th, 2012 at 10:21 AM ^

That's a very fair point and it's something I've thought a lot about.  I've actually heard a fairly high amount of buzz here about the tournament, and they've plugged it like crazy at Lightning games, but you're probably right.  Not only do you have to take into consideration the distance factor, but the Tampa Bay Times Forum is one of the largest NHL arenas.  I think, ultimately, it'll really depend on who's involved.  If it's any of the Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota or New England schools, the chances go up considerably for drawing transplanted locals.  The other side of the coin you have to think about, and I'm sure part of what they were thinking in choosing the location, is that a lot of people were/are likely to consider coming to this tournament, regardless of whether their team is involved purely because of the location and the time of the year.

Clarence Beeks

February 28th, 2012 at 8:02 PM ^

Correct, Direct has ESPNU in HD.  Also, if you're on Direct you can sign up for the "sports pack" which gets you all of the channels in the 600s, which gets you all of the games for the entire tournament.  For example, the regional Fox Sports (or Root, MASN, NESN, Altitude, etc.) channel for the city where each regional is being held (e.g. for the St. Paul region, you'd get the games on FSN North (668) and for the Green Bay region, you'd get the games on FSN Wisconsin (669)).  The key benefit of this is that you won't have to with for the tape delayed broadcasts on ESPN.  Honestly, as a college hockey fan, it's really tough to beat having the Direct "sports pack".  You get a ton of college hockey on the regional sports channels.

lhglrkwg

February 28th, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

Did the ratings suck last year or something? I would've figured ratings would've been through the roof for a frozen four featuring UND, Michigan, Notre Dame and a school from Minnesota. Probably not a ratings thing though

LSAClassOf2000

February 28th, 2012 at 6:15 PM ^

http://web1.ncaa.org/NCAATV/exec/query

I queried men's ice hockey and yeah, if you don't have ESPNU, then ESPN3.com will be your Plan B for the most part. Women's basketball will dominate ESPN2 for the better part of March, using the same query tool. 

I am assuming that this is based on their estimate of viewership and ratings (because ESPN knows what the people want,  right?), but like someone else pointed out, at least it isn't The Ocho, and you know ESPN at least likes you if you're not sandwiched between ring toss and shuffleboard on The Ocho. 

That just stinks for people that don't have ESPNU or can't access feeds like ESPN3.com at work and the like. If ESPN wanted to find a way to keep the ratings low when they otherwise wouldn't necessarily be in certain markets (although it would never top March Madness, of course), then they are apparently succeeding. It's a shame that they aren't willing to help market college hockey beyond this level of coverage, yet they used to cover the PBA for hours on end back in the day. 

Alton

February 28th, 2012 at 5:55 PM ^

The move of the semifinal from ESPN2 to ESPNU has mostly to do with the date formula for baseball's opening day.  Last year, opening day was Thursday, March 31, and the Frozen Four semifinals were on Thursday, April 7.  This year, MLB opening day is Thursday, April 5--the same day as the Frozen Four semifinals.

Since the Masters is also that same week, there will be golf on ESPN and baseball on ESPN2 on Thursday at 4:30, which moves the first semifinal to ESPNU.  The second semifinal, at 7:00, will be on ESPN2 because The Masters first round will be over by 7:00 and baseball opening day will move to ESPN.

The move of the final from ESPN to ESPN2 seems to be simply to accommodate the NBA on ESPN. 

 

WingsNWolverines

February 28th, 2012 at 6:07 PM ^

interest in completely but think about it. It's hardly talked about in the US except for that fans who watch it. The CCHA isn't as popular here in states like Indiana Illinois Ohio. Especially out west it's not advertised as well and we're talking WCHA territory. It's a tough market to get people interested in. Shame because college hockey is an amazing game!

Wolverine Devotee

February 28th, 2012 at 6:35 PM ^

This is why canada looks down on us when it comes to hockey. Because the blowhards at ESPN are too worried about the Womens Basketball games being moved to another network. There is literally NOTHING GOING ON THAT WEEKEND that anyone cares about. CBS has the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Sorry ESPN, check your ratings, nobody gives a damn about an entire Womens Basketball tournament. If anything, they just care about their school and watch their school's games, not South Dakota State vs Clemson.

I'm sick of these stations like BTN and ESPN not giving a shit about hockey, and letting these hacks call the games (or in BTN's case, not even be in the arena and call the game).

It just disgusts me. Hockey is the greatest sport next to football. FSN should have three sports stations and have the exclusive rights to call the NCAA Tournament. Hell, Xfinity (Formerly Comcast TV) does a better job doing games than BTN. And they don't even broadcast in HD or have equipment from the 21st centruy!!

/rant

Bando Calrissian

February 28th, 2012 at 7:10 PM ^

Little secret:  NCAA hockey is a regional sport with a rather sparse following, even in its hotbed areas.  Most programs don't break even on the year.  It's a niche market, and ESPN is mostly correct to move it around to lesser networks.  This isn't Canada.

Your rant about BTN is well-placed, but even at that, it has a reasoning that is reasonably financially sound.  Someone who worked for BTN posted here a couple weekends back that it costs them (if memory serves) ~$7000 to produce a game with in-studio talent versus ~$40,000 for in-arena production.  Like it or not, there isn't the kind of viewership for these kinds of events that one would expect.  If it's a dollars-and-cents issue, I get it.  Mute it and listen to the WTKA feed. 

As someone who remembers an era when the NCAA hockey tournament was shown on tape delay, if it was on TV at all (the 1996 regionals, for example), I'm just glad we can watch live.

justingoblue

February 28th, 2012 at 8:57 PM ^

Agreed about the BTN. Honestly, I couldn't care less about the commentary. I know what I'm seeing, and if I learn one insignificant, feature pages fact per game they've done their job. I would rather see them all on BTN so I can always watch in HD.

And for me, I do realize it's regional. If I can see it in HD, I'm both greatful and happy.

bacon1431

February 28th, 2012 at 8:53 PM ^

This sucks, but what can we expect when there are barely any d1 hockey programs south of the Mason Dixon line. It's still a big deal to me, whether or not the country cares.