Perspective: Why The NHL isn’t Mainstream

NHL: NHL Draft


I know, I’m supposed to talk basketball on this blog, but I just read an article about the 2016 Stanley Cup playoffs ratings being low for the first time in 11 years. While there has been a lot of great games in this year’s NHL playoffs, I guess people aren’t flocking to their television screens to watch. There could be some reasons, like fans who’s favorite team missed the playoffs didn’t want to tune in, you’re into the NBA Playoffs more, you’re a fan of the outdoors during spring, or maybe you’re a Pittsburgh Penguins hater (had to throw that in there, Go Pens Go). Whatever the reason maybe, I believe it all falls down to one thing, lack of drama. Just think about it, the NHL is pretty much the only Major League Sport that doesn’t promote drama. The NBA and the NFL are the two sports that thrive off drama, reasons being, the star players in both leagues are well known, and they both rule social media. The NHL has a #NHLTwitter but compared to the levels of #NBATwitter and #NFLTwitter it doesn’t even come close. When ESPN broadcasts a game they make sure to sell whatever story is out there during the broadcast.  Just recently, they have been speaking on the Draymond Green suspension for game 5 and the name calling of LeBron James in various outlets. They push the drama because it forces people to tune in to see how the Warriors and LeBron James will respond to all the drama, they’re selling real life movie scripts. They promote it because it starts discussions, not just in the sports bars, but on social media as well.

The NHL on the other hand promotes the game, the commentators will discuss some of the issues that’s headlining the league, but overall they just promote what’s going on out there on the ice. Major discussions regarding the NHL as of late has been the fighting & concussion issues, BORING. Even Star players in the NHL are boring, they have money, but overall, most of them seem to be low key and don’t want the spotlight like NBA players, unless you’re Evander Kane. The NBA promotes their league the same ways television networks promote their upcoming shows. While the NHL has their Rivalry Week, it’s not the same if its the Pittsburgh Penguins vs Washington Capitals or the New York Rangers every week. They have to start thinking out of the box when it comes to promoting their league & players, but that’s if it chooses to, and since most players don’t want the spotlight, it kind of puts them in a bind. Superstars & stories sell the league, and brings in a ton of ratings, the NHL seems to lack in those areas. What do you guys think, should the NHL promote their league the same way as the NBA & NFL to gain viewers? Or should they keep it the same?