Satelliteracer, please understand that I get that you are exactly right, that it does cost a business a considerable amount of money to broadcast anything. No dispute in that premise whatsoever.
However, I'm just saying that given that the NHL has a much smaller fanbase than the other three major sports, and because they have had several past strikes that have harmed the game in recent years, it may be worth it to both owners and players to offer at least Gamecenter either free for this season or at a substantially reduced price to win back fans who have been alienated by the whole mess. Sometimes, you have to invest money to eventually win back money and customers.
ESPN will tell you the NHL has a smaller fan base and so will many other mainstream outlets that are sheep.
The fact of the matter is the NHL and NBA draw just about even in average attendance and then if you throw in attendance with % to capacity (NHL seating configurations are less in a building than in the NBA) then numbers skews in favor of the NHL.
On the TV side, in 2011, VAN vs BOS had 11 million U.S viewers. In 2010, PHI vs CHI drew 12 million U.S viewers. The avg NBA final for the last 15 yrs averaged 13 million viewers. the last 2 world series only drew 8 million viewers.
Then toss in this observation by Mark Cuban which I think is very valid:http://www.thestar.c...-message-to-nhl
and these sports are peers.
Canada is so much like the US in many ways. Most of the same products and TV shows are shared.
Yes I know of a difference. McDonald's and Wendy's have Maple Leafs on their logo.