The hockey world was watching as the Edmonton Oilers and the Vegas Golden Knights played their 6th game of the second-round series in this year’s playoffs on Sunday night. But it wasn’t easy as easy watching the game as many would have hoped.
The game was scheduled to start at 10 PM ET, which many found weird. It was the only NHL game scheduled on Sunday, and such a late puck drop was far from desirable. But according to Dan Kingerski, the NHL asked to move the game to 8 PM ET, but ESPN declined. In the meantime, ESPN broadcasted MLB.
The NHL accordingly asked ESPN to move the baseball to ESPN2, but once against, the network declined.
The NHL, still according to Dan Kingerski, also proposed to trade games with TNT so the Oilers-Golden Knights game could be more available to the fans, but they declined that as well.
And it wasn’t just fans who were frustrated with the decision from ESPN. The network did show some of the beginning of Game 6 with a split screen as a pitcher did some warming up in the baseball game. An ESPN baseball commentator even made an on-the-fly goal call, and all in all, fans who were waiting for the game to start on ESPN, and not just ESPN2, missed three goals.
And even some NHL players took to social media to describe their disappointment.
Calgary Flames defenseman Troy Stecher wrote the following on Twitter:
“👏🏼 ESPN. Missed three goals in the opening three minutes of an elimination NHL playoff game because we had to finish out a 9-1 MLB blowout. #GrowTheGame”
On social media, fans were furious with ESPN’s priorities and their decision not to broadcast the NHL playoffs game ahead of an MLB game. And NHL commissioner Gary Bettman isn’t making himself more popular, with how difficult it seems to be for him to sell and advertise the game.
”TBF. They can’t really cut this game short since there are only about another 800 games this MLB season…,” one said.
”Basically what we all expected from ESPN,” another said.
”I’m glad we have players and people in the business talking about the state of the game. It’s not as rosy as Bettman is selling it to the owners,” a third added.