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Edmonton Oilers Attempt to Justify New Pay Per View Schedule

EDMONTON, CANADA - FEBRUARY 27:  Shawn Horcoff #10 and Fernando Pisani #34 of the Edmonton Oilers watch from the ice with teammates behind them on the Oilers bench as a video plays on the jumbotron during a ceremony to raise former Oilers great Mark Messier's #11 banner to the rafters of Rexall Place prior to the Oilers game against the Phoenix Coyotes on February 27, 2007 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  (Photo by Tim Smith/Getty Images)
Tim Smith/Getty Images
Jim ParsonsContributor INovember 15, 2009

It's no secret that the amount and cost of a PPV has gone up over the past couple seasons. It's also no secret that the quality of what's being offered during those broadcasts hasn't really increased.

Oiler fans are still getting repeated player segments, in-depth profiles (which aren't getting any more in-depth than the first time we saw them), and sometimes brutal feeds from the opposition's announcers, until the regular broadcast as it was intended to be shown kicks in.

Yet the Edmonton Oilers expect fans to continue to shell out $14-$17 a game to watch what so far has been a very mediocre hockey team.

I guess the correct way to phrase that would be, "know" the fans will shell out the money, because after all, Edmonton is a hockey town and Edmonton fans need their Oilers fix. I'm no stranger to this feeling.

I for one, have no single reason to order the Sunday game against the Thrashers. Kovalchuk is hurt and likely a shade of his usually entertaining self, Souray may not make his return as he's a game-time decision, and the Oilers team still seems to be full of AHL players.

But, like a sucker, I'll be sending my cable company another close to $20 to see my third PPV game in November.

I'm not the only one who finds this an issue. A hot topic amongst some of the Oil blogosphere, has brought this issue to attention.

So much so, that a rep for the Edmonton Oilers made a statement on the Team 1260's "Oilers Lunch" radio show and I've noticed now, has put a statement on the official Oilers website .

What I find most interesting, is that instead of actually suggesting they'll make the product better, or find a way to decrease the cost for fans since the local cable companies have decided to broadcast fewer games, they've come up with this quote...

"It’s also important to note that that Oilers PPV was created as a vehicle to broadcast Oiler games which would not otherwise be broadcast and we remain true to that initiative."

Gotcha. I agree, I'm glad there is a way to watch more of the games. However, if that is truly the reason, why are there two additional games not being broadcast on any format other than the Oilers website? Couldn't you have made those two games PPV's as well?

My guess is the answer is yes, they could have. And I'm not really sure why they didn't. Unlike a decade ago, the Oilers are swimming in money.

They are one of the most profitable NHL franchises in the league and it can't be the cost of creating the PPV that's slowing them from showing those final two games.

Or maybe, if the team feels sorry for its fans, and we're only watching this many PPV games because Sportsnet dropped it's coverage from 48 to 40 games; why are we not being offered a less costly product?

Oilers, you say the PPV's only go up because they have to. Does that mean the price had to as well? Because just like the quantity, the cost has continued to climb.

I suppose I could be ignorant to the workings of the Oilers network deal with PPV providers and that the cost to the franchise has increased, but somehow I doubt it.

I'm pretty sure however, I'm not ignorant enough to believe the Olympic excuse presented by an Oiler rep as to why Sportsnet has decreased it's coverage.

You say the Olympics hurt the schedule? The same Olympics that start in February? To me, that has little to do with five PPV games in November, a month in which the Olympics won't be a factor.

I guess what I'm saying is, I'm confused. I'd have been better if the Oilers had just come out and called this an additional revenue stream. That's what it is.

The demand is there and I don't deny it. The supply is there also. Just at a cost close to the edge of what people will pay before demand goes down.

Yet again, maybe not. I'm an Oiler fan. I'll be watching the game, paying my $20 and I'm not really sure why.


On a side note...

My heart goes out to Fernando Pisani and his loved ones. His illness has flared up again and let's hope this isn't bringing him to the end of a fine NHL career.

With a contract ending this season, he'll be looking to be 100 percent healthy before signing on with the Oilers or another team.

That said, his focus shouldn't be on his career. It should be to get healthy, for his sake and for his family.

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