OK, NHL, I’ll help you make some money

Well well, Mr. Bettman. Look around, your precious teams are spending to the cap. Your arbiters, bound by laws that make no sense, keep printing currency. And lesser-star players are signing long, salary-binding deals.

It seems to me that the NHL needs to find some new revenue pretty soon, and while they are at it, find a way to sweeten that TV deal (no offense OLN, but I keep getting let down by the show "Ducks Unlimited TV"). A boost in league revenue would cause the salary cap to go up, enabling pricy contracts to ‘make sense’, and all us blog-critics could just swallow our gum for once.

Well, fear not, Mr. B! I’ve thought of a way to do it all, and it has nothing to do with alienating a fanbase by changing names and uniforms, or by changing a dozen on-ice rules to confuse the essence of the game.

My answer: Sell NHL TV footage, digitally. You know, a database of televised historic NHL games that I could browse through and purchase. I could make a list of my favorite games individually, or maybe make a huge damn DVD set of Anaheim’s 2003 postseason through Game Six. Or I could pay a bunch of money to create my own custom DVD, something like ‘Earl Sleek’s 100 favorite goals (from the blueline in), 1995 – 1999’.

Hockey fans all have their favorite moments that they wouldn’t mind re-living. Or maybe they’d like to watch games that they never got to see. Bettman, you always brag about us passionate computer-savvy fans, who’s not going to say that this couldn’t make a bunch of money?

Yeah, yeah, you gotta share that money with ESPN, or whoever owns whatever share of the footage. But maybe in creating and splitting this revenue, you kind of remind networks the value that can exist in televised hockey. It might put a little pressure on you to compete with nostalgia, but really, why can’t the on-ice product be just as good as it used to be?

The only critical thing, though, is whatever money this video-venture brings in better (a) get split well among 30 teams, and (b) count towards the next year’s salary cap calculation.

Otherwise some of your teams (or more probably, your fans) are really gonna be screwed. And despite evidence to the contrary (record attendance this post-lockout year), hockey fans really don’t like to be screwed.

On the bright side, though, fans of lousy teams are likely to spend more in the ‘Nostalgia’ section of this video footage database.

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