The Suddenly Swirling World Of Television Sports
What in the wide, wide world of sports is a-goin' on here?- Taggart in Blazing Saddles
Television executives, like Generals, sometimes make the deadly mistake of preparing for the last war. In the less deadly case of sports the networks build around what was popular the last decade.
The NFL is, of course, the monster. It is immensely popular and dwarfs the other sports. The only thing that could sicken the monster is itself. Its own greed could drain the beast. In an increasing economically depressed America, fans do not want to hear billionaire owners battling with millionaire players over how to further fleece the fans. The obscenity of Personal Seat Licenses, eight to twenty dollar refreshments, and triple digit priced tickets apparently is not enough. Greed is Good for Goodell.
Fans leaving NFL's tax payer built stadiums should bleat because they have just been fleeced.
Gas, hotel, game, and tickets and one might as well just take a cruise cause the expense is about the same but the ship has the deep blue sea and better food.
But the NFL drives onward with their own Network pushing itself onto every ones cable across the land. Onward perhaps to the Day of a Pay Per View Super Bowl...99.99 in 2019?
Senator Arlen Specter, R-PA, Comcast's man in Washington, is contemplating battling the NFL's Antitrust on behalf of his cable masters. Likely they settle and push the cost back on the fan. Spy Gate is used as a Shield to hide the real reason for Washington hearings. Like the Senators have nothing better to do though, eh?
NASCAR has a faithful and fruitful fan base. Pricing the fans who attend the races out of the economic picture is the only way racing slows its growth. One must build the base to maintain the future.
NCAA Football, despite the short sighted greed of the Big Ten and PAC Ten Lords in resisting a Playoff, still maintains a strong hold on America. Its regional ties and loyal fan bases will always keep it strong. The lack of a playoff prevents it from perhaps eclipsing the NFL in popularity.
NCAA Basketball remains strong. The tourney is exciting and a national draw. NCAA hangs onto its fruitful niche.
MMA, which made its brutal entrance onto the network stage with a CBS card in May, is growing. It has eclipsed fading Boxing and draws heavily from the coveted younger viewing crowd. Much buzz exists over this sport which has world wide viewing potential.
Perhaps as times grow more brutal we seek more brutal sports.
Buzz less sports? How bout the three B's? Lets talk boxing and baseball. And Pro Basketball to a lesser degree.
Boxing has been in serious decline for decades. Lacking a Heavyweight to enthrall the public, facing the competition from MMA, mired in endless alphabets soup produced champions, and always soaked in corruption this sport might be down for the count.
And I'm a boxing fan. But after to many dull, over priced, post midnight on the East Coast matches I have thrown in the towel. To much felonious Don King not enough free Saturday Afternoon fights to build the fan base.
HBO, a network in serious decline due to a lack of quality original shows, still bets big on boxing. As does Showtime which did hedge its bets by picking up MMA for Saturday Nights. The next big Television contract will be MMA.
Baseball mired in steroids, stuck with a much older viewing base, and, well, boring, with its endless Television breaks is stagnant. The season is endless, the World Series starts too late to be watched by East Coast Fans and kids, and going to the games is overpriced.
Older Fans are disgusted with the steroids and still bitter over the strike. Younger fans just do not have much of an interest.
The NBA has its niche but like Baseball its season and playoffs are endless. Play is sloppy and some fans find the massive contracts and obnoxious showboating obscene. That goes for all the Professional Players.
With the country in a recession seeing a whiny, cuddled multimillionaire man child, who after all just plays a game for millions, complaining about his life is a sure way to alienate the viewing public. That's you Vince Young and your ilk..you hate football so much go join the Army.
Hockey with their strike screwed themselves into being a second rate sport.
Greed, inflated egos, and short sightedness might do the same for some of the other sports. In this economic climate the Networks might demand cutbacks or send baseball to the outdoor channel.
Boxing is heading to the Classics channel...
Sorry Stanley Ketchel....
Boxing needs the next Ali or Dempsey....but he is probably playing Power Forward or Defensive End somewhere. Not getting punched in the face quite so much...
The Television times are changing, as are the Economic times for all Americans, and which ever network rolls with the punches wins.
Change ain't lookin' for friends. Change calls the tune we dance to.- Al Swearengen
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