LOS ANGELES — The way behavioral traits such as politeness, common courtesy, professionalism, etc., have often gone by the wayside over the last twenty years, no one should be surprised by the vitriol from both sides of the increasingly heated furor over Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket’s (FSW/PT) use of “rinkside view” (see Rinkside View Loses By Landslide Margin) on their high definition (HD) broadcasts of Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks games this season.
To be sure, the threats, epithets and foul language aimed at Tom Feuer, Executive Director of FSW/PT, are unwarranted. However, the reasons behind the heavy, angry criticism aimed at him are quite valid.
In an article by Curtis Zupke in the Orange County Register’s Ducks Blog entitled, “Upon Further Review..‘Rinkside’ Not Going Away,” Feuer, for all intents and purposes, told dedicated viewers of Kings and Ducks broadcasts to deal with it or go [insert your favorite expletive here] themselves.
“I’m going to get killed for this,” Feuer told the Register. “But if these people truly don’t like ‘Rinkside View,’ then don’t watch.”
Although it is clear that this comment is an obvious reference to ratings for the rinkside view broadcasts, it is, nevertheless, a blatant display of arrogance and a total lack of professionalism.
As stated in Frozen Royalty’s op-ed piece on this subject on October 30, “…Kings and Ducks broadcasts have traditionally suffered from poor ratings and FSW/PT is obviously testing rinkside view in the hopes that it will give their Kings and Ducks broadcasts a boost in viewership.”
Indeed, ratings are up for the rinkside view telecasts.
“It seems to me the ratings for these games are up ," said Feuer. “We’re getting a ton of e-mails, and most are negative. But I think that the people that don’t like something are the ones that will do something about it, and the ones that like it will continue to watch.”
“They may not like it, but they seem to want to watch it,” added Feuer, who said that ratings for rinkside view broadcasts of Kings games have jumped 200 percent, and 20 percent for Ducks telecasts, with the October 14 game between the two clubs earning the second-highest rating since the 2004-05 lockout.
No one can blame FSW/PT for attempting to boost their ratings. After all, higher ratings translates into higher advertising revenues. That said, the tremendous arrogance displayed by Feuer has understandably and justifiably made Kings and Ducks fans seethe with anger.
Although some have called for Feuer’s head, it is highly unlikely that he will be fired. However, it is clear that he has acted without regard to the existing viewer base for Kings and Ducks telecasts. Rather, he has tossed them out with the garbage—sacrificing them by gambling on a gimmick aimed at attracting new viewers.
And while ratings may be up for the rinkside view broadcasts, one thing Feuer is ignoring (or, more likely, does not understand) is that the Kings are a more entertaining team and are a better team so far this season. Despite that, fans are not showing up at the arena—many have clearly chosen to stay home and watch the games on television instead.
Although this likely does not explain all the reasons for the ratings increase, given the circumstances and the state of the economy, it has to be a highly significant factor, one that FSW/PT has not, in all likelihood, taken into consideration. After all, it is all about the ratings, baby.
I have already written about why rinkside view is nothing more than a badly thought-out gimmick in my earlier piece, so I will not belabor the point. However, based on Feuer’s arrogant, go-screw-yourselves attitude, it is time for the management of the Kings and Ducks, if they have the authority, to stand up for their fans—they have to be angry that Feuer told their fans “…not to watch.” Indeed, even though the vast majority of these viewers may not be season ticket holders or luxury suite holders, the Kings and Ducks must now demand that FSW/PT dump rinkside view once and for all.
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