As I am sitting here writing this article, my wife and kids are having a nap and I have the TV on and am flipping between watching the NFL and NBA because I am a sports guy and will pretty much watch anything sports. It did get me thinking, if the Edmonton Oilers were playing today how many people would watch it even if it is Christmas Day?
The major leagues in North America are known for copying each other when they find something successful that helps the league make money. The NBA in-season tournament is a prime example. It had success, now you hear talks of maybe doing something like that in the NHL. So, I think it is only a matter of time before the NHL is playing games on Christmas.
The NBA always has marquee games on Christmas, they will find a combo of top-calibre teams and big markets and pin them against each other on the 25th. There is a total of 5 games on the schedule today for the NBA, but how many people are watching them?
I honestly don't know if you would get more TV's on the game or less as families gather together. On any other Monday only the fans of the team will turn on the game and see how their team does. On Christmas, though you will get other people, myself included, watching it for the main reason it is on TV.
I know for a fact that my family would have an Edmonton Oilers game on the TV while we are opening gifts or playing card games. The issue is would the casual NHL fan watch an out of market game. The Oilers have the most exciting player in the world so I would assume they would be playing today.
This leads to the question of would a Florida Panthers fan turn on an Oilers/Flames game while eating turkey. I honestly don't think so. The NHL is still behind the NBA when it comes to what to watch in the USA. In Canada, sure we would throw on some random game, but not the states.
I think in a couple of years if the NHL can grow its fanbase, this could become a real question for the league to ask itself, but as it stands right now I don't see it happening. It is nice for the players, coaches and management of the teams to spend time with their families. Honestly, I don't want to work on Christmas so why should the professional athletes?
The only downside is I am already starting to get a bit of Oilers withdrawal. The Oilers will be back playing games on the 28th. They will head to California for a three-game road trip where they will first face the San Jose Sharks followed by the Kings then the Ducks.