ESPN’s choice to air the final round of an inconsequential Sunday Night Baseball show instead of a deciding Stanley Cup elimination game has angered sports fans.
As the Boston Red Sox lost 9-1 at home to the St. Louis Cardinals late in the eighth inning, hockey fans tuned in and hoped to watch Game 6 of the semi-finals of the Western Conference between the Edmonton Oilers and the Vegas Goldens. Knights.
Instead, viewers were left disappointed when the network opted to “dub” or “split screen” the two shows – the left screen showing Chris Stratton closer to St. Louis warming up as the puck dropped in Edmonton on the right screen.
ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball commentator Karl Ravech was left to call the action in the hockey game as Vegas forward Reilly Smith scored the opening goal 24 seconds into the game. About 30 seconds later, Ravech called Oilers captain Connor McDavid scoring the tying goal.
In the end, ESPN continued to show the baseball game on its main channel – between two teams that are last in their respective divisions – which ended with the same score. But by the end of the game, another goal had been scored in the hockey game and the Oilers were leading 2-1.
Here’s how ESPN aired the first base of the Vegas-Edmonton 6 game. With Karl Ravech calling a split screen in a 9-1 baseball game. pic.twitter.com/TEaiDaW0Fi
— Horrible announcement (@awfulannouncing) May 15, 2023
ESPN chose to air an otherwise inconsequential baseball game over an NHL playoff contest
The network opted to split the game between the Red Sox and Cardinals, with St. Louis already winning easily 9-1 late in the eighth inning. At that time the NHL game started
Despite early goals from Vegas and Edmonton, ESPN returned to the baseball game
At the end of the baseball game, the Oilers scored again – scoring three missed goals
Rumors from inside the company suggest the NHL tried to get ESPN to change the broadcast
The Golden Knights ended up winning the game and knocking Edmonton out of the playoffs
ESPN ultimately opted to show the hockey game on ESPN2, but fans on social media said they didn’t tell viewers they could watch the game there.
It mirrored ESPN’s much-criticized choice last fall to halt college football games whenever New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge had a hit at bat in his attempt to break the league record. American League for home runs.
Vegas ended up winning the game, knocking out Edmonton and advancing to the Western Conference Finals.
As fans wonder why ESPN chose a meaningless baseball game in May over a playoff hockey game, Pittsburgh hockey writer Dan Kingerski recounted a rumor he heard from insiders. at ESPN.
On Twitter, Kingerski wrote:, ‘NHL asked to move the Vegas-EDM game to 8 p.m. ET. Upon hearing NHL asked ESPN to move baseball to ESPN2, but ESPN refused. The same rumor has it that ESPN also refused to trade games with (another NHL rights holder) TNT.
Hockey fans and players have taken to social media to express their frustrations with ESPN’s choice
The social media reaction was critical of the network – with fans of both sports angry at the network’s decision-making.
Even active hockey players have expressed their displeasure – with Calgary Flames defenseman Troy Stecher Tweeter ‘[clap emoji] ESPN. Missed three goals in the first three minutes of an NHL playoff game because we needed to finish a 9-1 blowout in MLB #GrowTheGame.
Rachel Doerrie, former Vancouver Canucks analyst tweeted, ‘ESPN choosing a May game between the Red Sox/Cardinals over an NHL Second Round Playoff game shows how the league is viewed relative to its peers. Yeah. Lots of work to do.
Podcast host Greg Kaplan writing‘ESPN potentially saying “actually a really bad Cardinals team against a last-place Red Sox team will do better numbers than a playoff game involving Connor McDavid” is so [levels] wild. It’s almost wild enough that I don’t think it happened.
USA Today writer Matt Zemek tweeted that the network’s decision, ‘OUTRAGEOUS malpractice’ while another fan writing‘It’s fucking 2-1 three minutes and that shit is on the backup broadcast lol everyone involved in ESPN [NHL broadcast rights] the agreement must be subpoenaed”.
Meanwhile, baseball fans were angry at the choice to also share the game on screen
Even baseball fans were furious at the network’s decision to broadcast the game on split-screen.
“If I wanted to watch hockey, I’d turn on ESPN2,” baseball podcaster Kelsey Burd said.
Baseball writer Sara Sanchez writing, ‘Baseball has never been worse than when the ninth inning of a premier game was thrown next to back-to-back Stanley Cup hockey goals and someone at ESPN did it on purpose and let Karl Ravech call hockey instead of baseball for 5+ minutes. I can’t.’
Another baseball writer, Jesse Spector, summed up the feelings of everyone who commented on the matter, saying‘amazing espn work tonight that pisses off baseball fans, hockey fans, baseball/hockey fans, absolutely everyone.’
Currently, the NHL is in year two of a seven-year deal with ESPN and Turner Sports to broadcast their games. The Stanley Cup Finals alternate broadcasters, with this year’s finals airing on Turner.
DailyMail.com has contacted ESPN and the NHL for comment.