March 6, 2008

The NHL Back on ESPN...With a Catch

I know what you're saying. "Gary Bettman's finally done something right!"

"No more Hockey Central followed by WEC Cage Fighting?"

"No more of Brian Engblom's mullet?"

"No more Bill Patrick??"

Sorry, they'll all be there back on Versus next week. So what's the deal? Well, if you're familiar with ESPN 360, you know that via your computer you can watch many ESPN-broadcast sporting events, including UEFA Champions League soccer matches, all while you putz off at work. If you live in Europe, not only will be able to watch this type of programming, but you can also catch your favorite National Hockey League team playing, for a price via the NHL Center Ice feed through ESPN 360 Europe.

"ESPN360 delivers the most comprehensive video coverage of North American sport in Europe. With free access to highlights, news and analysis from a diverse range of sports including Baseball, College Football, Basketball, NHL and MLS there's plenty of action to choose from. There's also a premium section featuring live streaming of NHL and NCAA matches, as well as all your favourite ESPN shows, from Pardon The Interruption to Around the Horn. Plus you get a fully interactive experience with real time news ticker, extended press conferences and more. ESPN360 will change the way you watch sports online."

Of course, if you're a Brit and were in attendance for the Ducks-Kings games in London and now fancy yourself some hockey, you're SOL.

"The service will be available across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, barring rights restrictions in certain territories. Countries currently blocked from the service are the UK, Ireland, Russia, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan."

So basically ESPN will broadcast NHL feeds for Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but Joe USA and Darren Canada better have TSN, RDS, Versus, CBC, NHL Network, or NHL Center Ice to watch hockey.

Dean Martin said it best, "ain't that a kick in the head?"

I eagerly await the day that Mr. Ahmadinejad begins writing the NHL Closer for Deadspin and takes one morning out of his busy week of stirring shit up by filing the NHL FanHouse Ice Sheet for AOL Sports.

If there's anyone who reads this living in Europe that can access this service, I'd love to know how the quality is and what the price is.

Ballhype: hype it up!


Kris said...

Hey, I just saw this pop up a few days ago on some Google sponsored link. Course I could've used this last year when the Sabres were in the playoffs.

For the NHL "Playoff Package" it costs €49.99. Monthly NHL is €14.99. Daily is €6.99. They have the season pass at €29.99, but I think that it's prorated, and I'm pretty sure they were running a promo earlier in the week that you paid the Playoff Rate for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

Single games are around €3 I think. It only works with Windows Media Player using DRM, but streams at "at least" 800kbps...I've never used it, but it's good to know it's there with the possibility to buy single games, but let's face it - Fuck Bettman. Since I've found SOPCAST (and after missing all of last season because he sucks), does he actually think I'm going to pay the USD equivalent of $11 for a day? Or $76 for the playoffs?

Plus I'm sure that there's some sort of licensing thing which would mean that G7 of the Finals won't be shown or something asinine like that.

Sean said...

Kris, thanks very much for the info