Thanks, NHL GameCenter

There has been much speculation that since the NHL’s half-year long dispute over the now larger ‘pie’ took hockey from us for four months, perhaps the league and some of the teams may offer incentives for fans to ease their decisions to once again consume the NHL product.

One of the oft theorized offers was a free subscription to NHL’s Center Ice package, the service that allows TV viewers to watch any game broadcast in the U.S. The problem with this,  is that it is a service offered by the various cable providers, not the league, and for once, they are not at fault.

There is another similar paid-for subscription service, however, which the NHL could offer to its former or current fans: NHL GameCenter Live. GameCenter Live allows subscribers to view any game being played via the internet, either on the computer or mobile device- in addition to being able to watch on a TV with a multimedia streaming device like XBox 360 or Apple TV.

Not only as an incentive to the fans they lost, not only to thank those sticking with the NHL, but even because it is a shortened season, it makes a lot of sense to offer this to anyone who wants it free of charge. Like a rap artist passing out CDs on the street corner, getting your product out there is the most basic form of marketing.

Even though I didn’t think the league would actually do something as simple and logical as this, I was shocked to get this email today:


Dear (feeble minded consumer),

The NHL season is set to start and once again you can follow the action live with NHL GameCenter LIVE™.

For your convenience, your annual subscription will be automatically renewed on January 21, 2013 at the one-time price of $49.99USD with the credit card you have on file. To ensure your billing information is up to date, please sign in to your account and select “Billing Info” at the top of the page.

Please read our FAQ and Terms of Service for any questions about NHL GameCenter LIVE™ or this renewal notice. To cancel your participation in this automatic renewal program, please call NHL GameCenter LIVE Customer Support at 866-210-6349 (US and Canada) and 407-708-1356(International). If you do not call to cancel by January 20, 2013, the credit card on file will be charged.

Thanks, NHL, for letting me know that you would automatically take money from me for a service you should be offering for free after squabbling about our money for the last sixth months. This just makes me want to give you any of it even less.

I feel like my girlfriend left me for another man only to return six months later after being dumped asking for that ring I’d always promised. Nay, stealing my credit card and buying it for herself, stating that I said I’d buy it for her a year ago.

Things have changed my love, things have changed.

2 Responses to “Thanks, NHL GameCenter”
  1. Uh, I didn’t “steal” your credit card as much as I “temporarily borrowed” it.

    But seriously, to add insult to injury, tickets to opener for the Kings are at least $150 on StubHub (sidenote: can we all stop pretending like the AEG doesn’t use that site and a third party broker for selling a good amount of their tickets so they can get “market” value???). Good thing the ownership and the talent got their money. Lets all remember that the money that they’re fighting over is…well…all of ours.

  2. I never honestly imagined the NHL giving out Gamecenter for free. That would require a goodwill-toward-the-fans mentality that is constantly missing from the League’s DNA. The NHL hasn’t had the fans’ backs for a long time. The only nod the fans will get is “Thank You Fans” painted at the blue lines.

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