If you've seen any episodes of NHL 24/7 this year with the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Rangers or the original installment last season featuring the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins, you likely fell in love with it. The show offers a new, fresh and human angle to the game we all know and love.
With the series being widely loved and enjoyed by fans, the question must be asked - would a regular series be the smart move for the NHL?
If the NHL wanted to, they could produce their own show by mirroring the style we have seen used on HBO. They could produce a weekly show to air on NHL Network, spotlighting a different team each episode as the season progresses. Not only would we continue to be treated to the action behind the scenes, but we'd be able to learn more about each time in the league as opposed to just two a year.
It's unclear what it might cost to produce such a show but one could imagine that the NHL would make more than enough in return by having it air on its own network and being able to air old episodes whenever they thought best.
On the flip side, there is the thought that a saturation of behind the scenes shows might ruin the essence of what the show is all about - a rare look behind the scenes. If fans are regularly treated to looks inside the dressing room or the antics of what happens on the road, then maybe fewer viewers tune in as they have "been there, done that".
Currently, the series only airs on HBO and consists of just four episodes each season. A large portion of NHL fans might not have HBO (myself included) and thus are left to either go without or look for the series online. Casual fans that have caught some of the 24/7 series have loved it and many have expressed their new found interest in the game of hockey. With this reasoning, one might draw the conclusion that a 24/7 styled show on a more easily accessible channel could do some big things for the game of hockey.
With all these positives, you might be left asking where the risk lies. Simply put, if the NHL was to create their own 24/7 type show it would likely end HBO's version. There is then the risk that the NHL isn't able to master the technique that HBO has over the past two years. We could end up with a watered down, less than impressive version that pales in comparison to the current form.
Then there's the issue of saturation I alluded to before. Currently, with just four episodes a year, the rabid NHL fan is left craving more for an entire season. When the series returns, it is an event for the serious fan. For the casual fan, while it doesn't bring about the same amount of passion, the series draws interest due to the waves it makes from the serious fan. In essence, the fact the show is just four episodes and is just once a year actually cause it to be more popular than it might be if it occurred more frequently.
Personally, while I'd love to see some behind the scenes footage of other teams, I'm worried that move would kill the best things the current 24/7 has going for it. The show almost feels exclusive, made specifically for NHL fans. A wider, larger show might ruin the magic we've seen in the 24/7 series, which if that was the case, would ruin the show for good.
What's your opinion? Should the NHL create their own 24/7 style show and have it run regularly all season long? Should the show remain as it is, appearing on NHL for just a couple weeks a year? Sound off.
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