ESPN got back in the hockey game by purchasing the broadcast right for the World Cup of Hockey this coming September. Much was made about the sports media monolith throwing the full weight of the network behind the coverage.
Based on the viewing schedule for the 12 pre-tournament games, the indication is the full weight of the network will have to wait until the actual tournament starts.
Of the 12 pre-tournament games: one will be broadcasted on ESPN; two on ESPN2; one on ESPNU; and eight on ESPN3. For those not familiar with ESPN3, it is the online streaming wing of the network (i.e. not on regular TV).
Yes, these pre-tournament games, but there is a difference between the World Cup pre-tournament games and the NHL pre-season games. Each game you watch is going to have a roster full of major talent, not some group of rookies with a few veterans sprinkled in. (As puck heads, we’re biased. We know.)
What, you might ask, is preventing ESPN from airing all pre-tournament games on television? Two words: College. Football.
We did a little digging and saw that ESPN has planned their programming out through the end of the World Cup. Here’s the schedule from their website. This could change between now and the World Cup, but it gives us a pretty good indicator of how they’ll showcase the tournament.
Breakdown: seven games on ESPN; nine games on ESPN2 (including Games 2 and 3 of final round); and one game on ESPNews. USA vs. Canada will be on ESPN.