CHL showing up well in new venture
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - December 5, 2007 - Approached with the opportunity to spread the gospel of Central Hockey League hockey — and at no cost to their fans, to boot — the league jumped on the chance.
Thus, the CHL Network was born over the Internet, and according to the league’s director of communications, Bob Hoffman, the venture has been a tremendous hit.
“It far exceeds what our expectations were when we moved into the “Free-For-View” model,” Hoffman said. “It was kind of a question mark how many people would take advantage of it.”
Last year, fans could pay for streaming video of games, and Hoffman said the number of viewers was very low. This year, the number of viewers in just the first three weeks of the season exceeded the combined viewers for the previous three years under the “Pay-Per-View” model.
It all came about when the CHL was approached by Louisiana company Network Foundation Technology, which promised better audio and video feeds than the pay model of the season before. The key for the league, Hoffman said, was eliminating the cost to the end-user.
NFT taps into the video feeds the teams already use in their arenas, and Hoffman thinks one of the best functions is fans can choose which radio broadcast — home or road — for audio.
To this point, the fans in Colorado, Bossier-Shreveport and Oklahoma City have tuned in the most.
Some of the most entertaining parts of the broadcast are when there are breaks in the actions, fans can still listen in on the radio broadcast.
For one, Colorado’s radio voice Tori Holt, enjoys the editorial time.
“Some are taking advantage of it more than others,” Hoffman said. “I know Tori loves speaking his mind about anything, so that’s no problem for him.
“One thing I’ve tried to encourage our guys with is to really use that time to sell some tickets and promote the team and get them out there for the next home stand.”
With the Eagles selling out every home date, Holt can clear the air on whatever is on his mind. Over the weekend, he celebrated a St. Cloud win on the ice and gave his take on the BCS shakedown.
“I actually kind of take that time to entertain the people that are out there,” Holt said. “People send me e-mails constantly saying they’re laughing at me.”
As of now, only 14 of the 17 franchises have the capability to put out a feed — Austin, Wichita and Tulsa are not wired as of yet. In the past 10 days, Texas has added broadcasts.
From Colorado’s perspective, it’s free marketing and just one more thing to offer their fan base.
“It’s great for people to look in and watch us when we’re on the road,” said Colorado head coach and president Chris Stewart, adding it allows him to keep up with the team on the road as he recovers from back surgery. “It’s an easy thing for us to do, and the benefit we get out of it is very good.”
So far, Hoffman said, it is a service the league has really enjoyed offering, and there are preliminary plans to beef up the broadcast for the all-star game in Broomfield.
“It’s been pretty successful for us and been pretty neat for fans all around to be able to offer them something free,” Hoffman said.
Tulsa made the big additions in the offseason, but since they haven’t paid off, the Oilers now have a subtraction.
Coach Butch Kaebel resigned from the team he took over at Christmas time of 2003. Tulsa is just 5-10-1 this season, giving him a mark of 108-107-27 over his tenure.
Assistant coach Dan Hodge has been named interim coach.
Rocky Mountain and New Mexico built up a bit of a froth over the weekend, with ramifications still upcoming from the 128 minutes in penalties handed out in the third period of Saturday’s contest.
New Mexico’s Kevin Harvey picked up 39 on his own, with teammate Blair Stayzer hit with 31. The Rage’s Justin Schmit bettered them both, with 46.
The outbreak came a night after the Scorpions beat the Rage, 10-0, and New Mexico held on for a 4-2 win in the rematch.
The league announced there could be several suspensions handed out this week.