The old expression says you can’t get enough of a good thing. But that adage will be put to the test this fall when it comes to the amount of football on television. The football season is ready to explode on television screens with more games, more football spectacle and more yappy talk shows than ever before. The combination of football and television is a broad cultural force in America, perhaps now bordering on an unhealthy national obsession.
College football’s opening weekend will see 45 games broadcast on national television. Big television dictates starting times and even the days when games are played. Televised college football games will be played regularly this year on Thursdays, and even some Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This can’t be good for the student part of the student-athlete equation, or for the non-athlete students who attend games.
The college season has been lengthened to harvest additional revenue from television. The finalist teams in the college playoff this year will play 15 games with a season stretching from Labor Day weekend through the title game on Jan. 11. Conference playoff games and the new four-team national playoffs are designed mostly as revenue producers, the largest amount coming from broadcast rights. Notre Dame’s national title team in 1973 played only 11 games, the season beginning Sept. 22 and ending with a Dec. 31 Sugar Bowl win against Alabama. Only four Irish games were on live television that year. Now, all Irish games are national broadcasts.
When it comes to the power of television and media hype, however, the National Football League makes colleges look like pikers. The NFL generates an estimated $10 billion a year in revenue, with $6 billion coming from the sale of television rights to Fox, NBC, CBS and ESPN. The broadcasters then hype their NFL connections year-round to convince audiences that the NFL is, indeed, essential to their lives.
The NFL doesn’t really need a marketing department. Networks, sports talk radio, local newspapers and television outlets do the bandwagoning for the NFL, which is constantly in the news. In addition to the 16 games each team plays, there is endless coverage of preseason practice, off-season personnel moves, player drafts, stadium renovations, and of course, hysteria over deflated footballs or whatever distraction comes along.
The league is now looking to extend its product further into the national consciousness. It recently created an executive position, hiring a Hollywood television producer to push the brand into non-game content. That could include NFL quiz shows and reality shows. He will also oversee entertainment programs around the Super Bowl, including the halftime show. Of course, nothing says football like Katie Perry and dancing sharks.
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Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
FanDuel TV Strikes Deal With ONE Championship Martial Arts
“We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
FanDuel TV and ONE Championship Martial Arts have struck a deal that will see the MMA, Muay Thai, kickboxing, and submission grappling series air weekly events on the newly launched channel.
“We’re eager to continue expanding the variety of content we’re offering at FanDuel TV to introduce our audience to emerging sports,” said FanDuel Chief Commercial Officer Mike Raffensperger. “We’ve long respected the content the ONE Championship team is producing and are looking forward to bringing their action to our audience through FanDuel TV and FanDuel+.”
ONE Championship is a top-five global sports property for digital viewership and engagement according to Nielsen measurements.
“We are thrilled to join the FanDuel TV lineup and give our passionate U.S. audience yet another way to engage with ONE Championship,” said ONE Championship Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong. “Having a quality partner in FanDuel will help raise the profile of our company in the region and provide their viewers with action-packed martial arts events like they have never seen before.”
Bob Costas Re-Lives First Announcing Assignment For NBC
“My biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979.”
Legendary sports broadcaster Bob Costas appeared on KNBR’s Tolbert & Copes Thursday to discuss the death of Baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry. But before the conversation turned to the recently departed pitcher, the show asked Costas about what he has announced that would surprise someone. He reminisced about his first time on the air for NBC.
“My very first assignment for NBC, my biography usually says I began with them in 1980, but technically the first time I was on the air with them was in December 1979,” Costas recounted. “There was a program on NBC then called Sports World. It was an anthology series that was their answer to the gold standard, ABC’s Wide World of Sports.
“So they traveled the globe, like Wide World of Sports did. So they sent me, wearing a red NBC jacket, to Tokyo to cover a sumo wrestling tournament with seven-time world power-lifting champion Larry Pacifico as my color man. Now, this is all the Japanese I learned as we came on the air: ‘Minasan kon’nichwa watashinoamaeha Bob Costas’, which means ‘Hello everyone, my name is Bob Costas’. If ever there was typecasting, when they sat and looked at their roster of announcers and went ‘Who should we send to the sumo wrestling? It’s gotta be Costas, who’s entire body weight would constitute one meal for the sumo wrestling champion.”
Costas departed NBC Sports in 2019 after 40 years with the network, announcing MLB, NBA, and the Olympics, in addition to his work with the network’s sumo wrestling coverage.
Matt Leinart, Alex Smith Make Wager Over Pac-12 Championship Game
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous. I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.”
FOX Sports analyst Matt Leinart and ESPN analyst Alex Smith have made a friendly wager over the upcoming Pac-12 Championship Game.
USC, Leinart’s alma mater, is slated to play Utah, where Smith attended, in the game Friday evening on FOX from Las Vegas.
The two agreed to don the other player’s jersey. “At least it will be 11,” Smith said, noting he and Leinart both wore the number during their playing days.
“I gotta be honest with you: I’m not that nervous,” Leinart said when presented with the offer. “I know that sounds kind of arrogant and confident.” Smith jokingly responded by calling USC “Free Agent University”. He added he would overnight Leinart a jersey to ensure he had one if the Utes were victorious.
Garrett Searight is the Editor of Barrett Sports Media and Barrett News Media. He previously was the Program Director and Afternoon Co-Host on 93.1 The Fan in Lima, OH. He is also a play-by-play announcer for TV and Radio broadcasts in Western Ohio.