On Mad Dog Radio, Chris Russo actually was fielding calls about the NHL lockout. Fans were complaining about the owners, the players, Gary Bettman, etc.
I listen to a lot of sports talk radio in Chicago and via SiriusXM, and it was the first time I heard discussion about the NHL lockout (NHL Home Ice excluded). In Chicago, a great hockey town where the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup in 2010, the chatter is all about the Bears and White Sox battling Detroit in the AL Central.
Of course, I might have missed some segments about the Hawks and the lockout locally and elsewhere.
Still, it is in stark contrast to the outrage that dominated sports talk radio during the NFL and NBA labor troubles.
The lack of discussion about the NHL lockout would seem to validate Vince Doria’s view of hockey. Back in May, in an interview with me, the ESPN senior vice-president and director of news took heat for his comments about the NHL’s limited presence on SportsCenter.
It’s a sport that engenders a very passionate local following. If you’re a Blackhawks fan in Chicago, you’re a hardcore fan. But it doesn’t translate to television, and where it really doesn’t transfer much to is a national discussion, which is something that typifies what we do.
Baseball fans are interested where Albert Pujols is going. NBA fans are interested in the Miami Heat. For whatever reason, and this is my unsubstantiated research on it, hockey doesn’t generate that same kind of interest nationwide. You look at national talk shows. Hockey rarely is a topic. People in Boston aren’t that interested with what’s going on with the Blackhawks.
Is Doria right? Just listen to sports talk radio and tell me if you hear much talk about the NHL lockout.