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.
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.