Robb Swiatek, Orange, Conn.
Versus does do a great job of covering games. However, broadcasting two games a week on Mondays and Tuesdays, which feature two different teams in the league each time, does not garner interest from the casual fan who would care to follow a team out of their market. For example, a Dallas Cowboys fan could be one living anywhere within the United States. A Detroit Red Wings fan cannot say the same thing.
My job requires me to travel week in and week out beginning in April and I don’t have enough fingers on my hands to count the number of times I couldn’t watch the playoffs this past post-season due to my hotel or local pub (in a different major city throughout the U.S. mind you) not carrying Versus. And Center Ice is not a viable option since the casual fan would never pay $140-plus a year for mostly non-HD feeds of teams they will never watch.
ESPN is the answer. It always has been and always will be for national U.S. sports coverage, not to mention internationally. The fact the league would have to compete with the other major sports for primetime coverage would only promote high quality games to rise to the top over bottom-feeder teams battling it out on Versus.
That and the fact ESPN has multiple channels carried by most standard cable packages leaves a wider range of games to be aired to attract new fans and reward the diehards.
Hopefully the league can recognize this fact and not make another mistake giving away free games to second-tier network coverage.