Thank the maker for Fox Sports-Florida because if you relied on national tv outlets to get your Florida Panthers hockey fix, you’d have a long, cold winter. The NHL released its national broadcast schedule today and, predictably, the new-look Cats won’t get much face time across the US.
A road game on October 11 against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Versus is the only time those outside of South Florida will have a chance to see the revamped Cats without the benefit of the NHL Center Ice package. No appearances on NBC or NHL Network. Sad part is that it’s an improvement of last year’s appearance total of zero.
My first instinct, like any fan, was to get mad until I remembered this piece by the Miami Herald’s George Richards on last season’s TV ratings. Let’s be honest friends, if many locally aren’t watching, you can’t really expect national networks to use their time on a team that doesn’t draw many eyes to the tv.
It’s going to take time for things to fully turn around, especially in terms of national perception. While we’re excited about this year’s team, they’ve yet to play a game so it would be foolish to think networks would forget a decade of futility in just one off season. Step one is putting a winning team on the ice, getting fans back to the Bank Atlantic Center and to their televisions when they can’t make it there. Baby steps, my friends. There are better days ahead.
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