ESPN/ABC Has Monopoly Over Bowl Games

December 8, 2010

ESPN/ABC Has Monopoly Over Bowl Games

If you have BCS National Championship tickets, or Rose Bowl tickets, or Sugar Bowl tickets, then you might not bother to form an opinion on the fact I’m about to reveal. For the rest of us that experience college football via some form of television broadcast, the upcoming fact is quite distressing.

ESPN/ABC will broadcast 33 of the 35 bowl games during the 2010-2011 college football bowl season.

Cam Newton (left) and the Auburn Tigers will face LaMichael James (right) and the Oregon Ducks on Jan. 10 in the BCS National Title Game.

The two bowl games that escaped ESPN’s clutches were the Cotton Bowl and the Sun Bowl. Fox will broadcast the former while CBS will broadcast the latter.

The biggest problem with so many college football bowl games on ESPN/ABC is there’s a high probability you’ll be forced to watch and listen to Stewart Scott and/or Scott Van Pelt.

The other problem, although not nearly as treacherous, is ESPN/ABC has complete control over the images, statistics, and commentary associated with the college football bowl season. They alone will shape the narrative of college football’s most important time of the year.

That’s a tremendous amount of responsibility for one network to possess, especially a network who already employs Bill Simmons.

Also, can the ESPN/ABC bowl game monopoly effectively cover all the gridiron action? Nevermind controlling the minds of college football viewers, can ESPN/ABC actually show all 33 games in their entirety to the most fans possible?

I remind you of what happened the day after Thanksgiving when the Oregon vs. Arizona match was preempted by a college basketball tussle. The Ducks’ game was eventually shown on ESPN but only after Tennessee defeated Villanova. During the waning moments of the college basketball rumble, the Pac-10 showdown aired on ESPN Classic.

Will situations like that arise on ESPN’s family of networks during bowl season?

The college football bowl season commences Dec. 18 and concludes Jan. 10. During that time there are only five days in which there are no bowl games scheduled: Dec. 19, Dec. 20, Dec. 25, Jan. 2, and Jan. 5 (two of those days are NFL Sundays).

In the aforementioned time frame, there are six days in which multiple bowl games are schedule: Dec. 18 (x3), Dec. 28 (x2), Dec. 29 (x3), Dec. 30 (x4), Dec. 31 (x4), and Jan. 1 (x5).

Perhaps keen scheduling and ESPN’s large number of networks can avoid any preempting, but the fear is still there. And it’s very similar to the fear that at any moment Linda Cohn will unhinge her jaw and swallow her cohort.

The positive implications of the ESPN/ABC college football bowl cabal is you don’t have to search your cable or satellite’s channel array to find the game. All one must do is switch between ABC and the umpteen ESPN networks (or look at the programming guide that comes with every cable and satellite receiver).

Bottom line, ESPN/ABC bowl game monopoly does not serve fans. If we remember economy 101, competition amongst businesses always benefits consumers, and in this case, college football fans are the consumers.

Depress your mouse’s button on this sentence for a complete listing of Bowl contests.


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6 Responses to ESPN/ABC Has Monopoly Over Bowl Games

  1. dudmos on December 26, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    What is really bad is that some people including myself don’t have ESPN for it costs more for that tv package. Example with direct tv you have to pay extra for ESPN and you can’t just get ESPN by itself you have to get all of the ESPN channels. Which i admit i really should have had it by now but i just have the basic package for now. But how long will it be before all sports will be on channels like ESPN, FSN, or The NFL Network. So I guess on new years day no bowl games for me and people like me without ESPN. And why does the ncaa allow one network to cover almost 100% of the bowl games. What a bunch of bull!!!

  2. mdcnnc on December 28, 2010 at 8:18 am

    What about the people like me who only have broadcast TV??? I am not giving my money to cable so I guess I do not matter :(

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  6. Mark on January 1, 2013 at 9:39 pm

    To hell with espn/abc/disney. I used to watch the bowl games. But the big boys at disney think that we should have to pay them to watch what used to be free. They can keep the bowl games.

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