TSN to broadcast draft lottery in Canada

Updated: July 21, 2005, 9:03 PM ET
Associated Press

TORONTO -- U.S. hockey fans will have to rely on regional cable outlets for full, live coverage Friday of the NHL draft lottery.

The event will determine the entire 30-team draft order as well as which club has won the right to draft 17-year-old Canadian juniors phenom Sidney Crosby.

While people up north can turn to TSN -- Canada's version of ESPN -- to see NHL commissioner Gary Bettman open the envelopes, American viewers will have to live in the right areas of the nation or settle for bits and pieces of news.

The cable outlets that will show TSN's telecast in their viewing areas are Altitude in Denver; Comcast Sports Net in Chicago, the Mid-Atlantic area and Philadelphia; and New York's MSG Network.

ESPN, which earlier this year decided not to pick up a $60 million option to broadcast hockey games next season, also passed on the chance to show the lottery in full.

"We have ongoing conversations with the NHL on a number of different topics," ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz said. "It was expressed from our end that this was not something we were interested in televising.

"It never went any further than that," he said.

ESPN News, an all-sports news channel of the network, will feature some live cut-ins of TSN's telecast -- probably when the winners of the top two picks are revealed.

It will be on a news basis as opposed to scheduled programming.

The network hasn't ruled out televising NHL games next season but wants to do it on a more cost-effective basis. The damage from the lockout that wiped out all of last season is not yet known.

"Our goal is to have something more reflective of the value," Krulewitz said.

ESPN has begun exploring alternative programming possibilities should it not televise hockey games.

The NHL will soon begin its two-year profit-sharing arrangement with NBC. That was originally supposed to begin with the canceled 2004-05 season.

Projections have NHL revenues falling somewhere between $1.7 billion and $1.8 billion -- down from $2.1 billion before the lockout.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press