Thursday, January 07, 2010

FSN Blows Away 'High School Hockey Night' Schedule

A few years back, Fox Sports North started up a pretty cool program called High School Hockey Night. It was a chance for the network to show local teams and highlight the tradition of the sport in Minnesota.

The broadcasts were generally well-done, and fans seemed to enjoy them.

Unfortunately, it appears advertisers didn't feel the same way. The network announced recently that it is dropping all but a few games from the original broadcast schedule.

“It’s totally financially related from a business standpoint," Mike Dimond, FSN's senior vice president and general manger, said today. "[Ad revenue] wasn’t coming in to the degree that we needed it to. The simplest way to put it is that we’re not a non-profit business, and ultimately I have a responsibility to the bottom line of the company. This time, it just wasn’t making it. The revenues didn’t offset the costs.”

This is bad news for hockey fans around the state, as the work FSN did helped expose people not only to great players, but also great rivalries (the team made the trip to Warroad for a Warroad-Roseau game, and they've also done great rivalries like White Bear Lake/Hill-Murray, Cloquet/Duluth East, and Hermantown/Duluth Marshall).

While it's easy to understand FSN's sentiments, it's odd that they would go through with announcing an ambitious broadcast schedule when they didn't have the revenues coming in to cover the costs of the schedule.

Doing things that way would allow FSN to keep the egg off their face.

That said, I don't think anyone in their right mind would seriously ask FSN to keep doing games if they're losing gobs of money off the deal.

The network will still broadcast Hockey Day Minnesota, which is Jan. 23 and will mainly take place in Hermantown, where there are three high school games scheduled to be played outside.

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