Monday, September 04, 2006


Those pigfuckers have gone too far this time

The one on the left is espn, and the one on the right is college football as we knew it.
The vile beast that is espn has alienated an important market segment: me. Ok, so that happened awhile ago, but the fact that one of the biggest college football rivalry games is not on network tv has sent me into a whole other stratosphere of espn-hating. The four letter network (TFLN) is televising the FSU-Miami game on THREE of their networks, but ABC is airing back to back episodes of "Wifeswap" tonight. I don't have cable because I really don't enjoy watching tv (college sports excluded), but I figured I could still get most of the good games on network and go to bars when necessary, particularly for ASU games. In a conversation with my two-time Seminole alum and marketing major girlfriend (who is equally pissed), we figured out where this once noble ship was blown off course.

TFLN was founded by sports lovers in the infancy of cable television. The original crew was taking a risk by working at a fledgling company when no one really knew what kind of success, if any, would occur. These risks were taken because they were doing what they loved- they were watching sports. Even though they are now washed-up caricature versions of their former selves, the passion for sports is still visible in the tenured on-air personalities that are still with the network, Dick Vitale and Chris Berman. That passion has been locked out of the boardroom for years now, and network founder/my fraternity brother William F. Rasmussen is long gone.

TFLN grew beyond anyone's expectations, spawning TFLN2 and acquiring The Classic Sports Network, which was promptly bastardized/Christened as TFLN Classic. Great idea, but now they only show games that originally aired on ABC or TFLN. When TFLN2 began, it announced its presence with Death Star fashion by airing #1 UNC vs. #2 Duke when nobody could even get the deuce because cable companies weren't carrying it yet. In the glory days of sports broadcasting JP/Raycom would have bumped lame sitcoms like Major Dad and aired the game in primetime directly over top of any network programming. Here in the mid-atlantic, that game is treated like state of the union addresses- airing on multple channels, programming be damned.

TFLN grew at such an alarming rate that they partnered with ABC in the late 1990's and began going after different market segments. It wasn't enough to have every red-blooded American male wrapped around their collective johnson, now they had to go after our women and children, something that (I thought) was strictly forbidden by the Geneva Convention of 1949. They used a battle plan known as Sportstainment!, the brainchild of then TFLN head Mark Shapiro. Rather than show sports, they starting showing shows about sports. You may remember Playmakers, A Season On the Brink, etcetera and their sucktastic qualities. During those dark days, I longed for tape-delayed arena football, ping-pong tournaments, and world's strongest man competitions(Magnus ver Magnusson is the shizznit). By seeking out the other gender, they alienated those of us who got them to where they were. We are the true sports fans, and we are no longer a priority.

When ABC and TFLN merged a few years ago, what were once merely sports became seen as commodities to be bought and sold. A game of this magnitude, especially on a holiday, will get a huge ratings share no matter where it is hosted. Because the game is on cable, you have segmented the market to those who are truly watching the game and alienated those who are simply flipping channels. By having this viewership lock down, each brand becomes more potent, and therefore more valuable to advertisers. Even though the overall number of viewers is lower on TFLN than it would be on ABC, the segment that will watch is more likely to buy cars, insurance, and beer, so the cockgobbling network executives can charge more per brand and therefore make more cash. This is why I will not be watching the FSU-Miami bloodbath in my underwear.

Can it possibly get any worse than it already is? Of course it can. Eventually they're going to go 100% Hi-Def, so you better have a plasma screen or you'll be as out of the loop as I am. The next feat by this rising monopoly will be to contract with conferences and teams, something that is already done to a certain extent (see Michigan). It is gravely important that CBS and NBC retain their respective rights to the SEC and Notre Dame, because if TFLN gets a hold of them we may see an abomination of American rights: college football pay-per-view. The Gameplan package is already bad enough, but at least some of those games are still broadcast in their home market segments without a monumental fee.

For those of you that have cable, HD tv's, and all the other cool stuff that leave you saying "shell out the $75 per month you brokeass," below are a few links that should help you see the light of how bad your viewing evperience has become. Enjoy the game tonight, I hope I can get it on the radio. Somewhere Howard Cossell is giving all of those bastards a big middle finger.

EDSBS' list of why TFLN sucks.

Brian's continuation of the above list.
Pretty much says it all right there. This one has daily updates on the loathsome and heinous acts committed by TFLN.
More of the same, just someone else saying it.

Labels: , , , ,

Don't ask how, but I did get to watch it at home. I'll plead the fifth. Horrible coverage overall, maybe I shouuld have gone with a radio.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?