It's not the comparing a horse race to a season, it's the fact that the NHL is thought of so little that a network decided a horse race is more profitable and garners better ratings to televise than a NHL game. You are correct about the frequency of the NFL games, but the NHL is no different than the NBA in terms of games per week in most cases and they seriously lag behind them as well. The chances of the NHL going back to ESPN are slim and none right now and slim left the building a few years ago. The whole reason why the NHL is not on ESPN is that it is not profitable in terms of generating advertising revenue due to it's poor ratings and the amount of money the NHL wanted to televise it's product. It also didn't help that the NHL's reputation had been totally destroyed by that idiotic strike which destroyed a season and any kind of credibility and interest the league had with the general public Ratings proved that. If the NHL wants back on a more mainstream channel like ESPN, then they should drastically reduce their asking price for television rights and kick in some kind of escalator clause that allows an ESPN to broadcast them on the cheap for a couple of years. If the ratings reach let's say an average of a 1.0 - 1.2 share then ESPN would have to kick in more money in the 3rd year or the NHL could exercise an option to shop it's television rights around. But I don't see the NHL ever doing anything like that. The NHL to me seems to be incredibly short sighted in it's business approach and was more interested in taking the greater short-term dollars OLN/Versus was offering compared to ESPN especially after the financial disaster the strike caused to the owners. ESPN had no intentions of paying that kind of money as they saw it was a huge gamble. That's why they let the NHL walk and with their NBA and college basketball (remember, they expanded their coverage of these two sports to fill in for the NHL) commitments, IMHO, they will not miss it.