01 December 2008
First of all I think Center Ice is a godsend of a product for hockey fans. The theory behind it goes that, for a price, I can watch nearly all of my beloved Avs play from my new home outside of the Denver area. It's truly an outstanding service,and frankly up until this season I haven't had a complaint about the service at all. This season, however, Center Ice has added channels to its lineup. Last season it was rare (in fact I don't remember it ever happening) when a game was shown on channel "Game 11+". All-in-all I probably watched 75 regular season Avs games last season. This season I will not be as lucky.
Why? Because CenterIce has decided to broadcast more games on channels 11+ this season, and COMCAST-San Jose (the only local cable provider) only shows Games 1-10. Now here's where the East Coast bias comes in: The games that are put on the higher channels are the late starting games meaning the Avs, Canucks, Oilers, Flames, Kings, and Coyotes are on those unaccessible channels more often.
Even more frustrating than the East Coast Bias, is the fact that there are usually channels in the first 10 channels that can show the later games. On Saturday, which was an extremely busy night for the NHL, Channels Game 1 & 2 didn't show a game all day and channel Game 3's only game was a matinée. Instead of putting the Avs-Bolts game on one of those channels it was relegated to Game 11 and I was relegated to the radio.
a big part of this is COMCAST's fault for not making a product they offer accessible to their customers (and COMCAST has gotten an angry earful from me a few times already this season) but the NHL, and their Center Ice service should be more accommodating of their fanbase. I have missed 4 games this season and about 20 have been shown on Center Ice, so 20% of the games I'm paying for I am not able to see. As a consumer I may be inclined to not purchase it next season if this continues. And the worst mistake a business can ever make is to have a product someone wants but doesn't have access to (are you listening NFL?).
So if anyone in the Center Ice office reads this, please take the extra 5-10 seconds to schedule as many games on 1-10 as possible.