When you have young and marketable stars, one would think that you would thrust them to the forefront of all of your programming. Unfortunately, NBCSN isn’t thinking that way. The first matchup for Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will no longer be shown on NBCSN, rather it will be shown on MSG. The March 1st affair isn’t necessarily the marquee game many had expected coming into the season, but it seems like a blatant disregard of players that will soon be the face of the NHL.
As far as missed opportunities go, this seems like a fairly big oversight. Why wouldn’t you play up the first-ever meeting of two players who are expected to do big things for the game of hockey? Team records aside, the story here is one that’s not only interesting for the viewer, but also easy to market. Start building the rivalry now while the two are young and watch it flourish as the years progress. If the NHL is lucky, the McDavid-Eichel “rivalry” could be a storyline for the next decade which programming rallies around. Is it really too early to get things started?
This matchup is very small in the grand scale of things, but it is a snippet behind the curtain that shows that the NHL and NBCSN doesn’t know what to do with the product. Beyond the scheduling, the 30-minute pregame show isn’t cutting it anymore for fans who demand more. Fans who pay extra to only get a product featured a couple of nights a week aren’t getting the right bang for the buck.
This was an opportunity to build some long-term roots. Unfortunately, for NBCSN it’s just another game.