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BY: Rory Spears, Editor & Director Content. Follow Rory on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy.
When it comes to sports on TV these days, there are some big issues and things don’t always work out real good for the fan. TV tries to become more fan-friendly these days, with running clocks in the corner of your screen, and quite often the score. But could they do more, probably so, and more than likely as techology moves forward, so will TV.
However all the hard work and all the improved graphics, better camera angles and microphones on players, coaches or officials doesn’t help if nobody is watching the broadcast. You always hear how rating numbers are up, but are they. I’m still waiting to hear from a reliable source that numbers are way down, or down from last year when you know the viewing audience wasn’t what was hoped for.
Mt. Prospect Golf Club Opening August 1st, stay clicked in for announcements regarding opening day.
Golf when it comes to TV for the most part gets it right. Then again the game gets played outside and in daytime conditions.
That being said, golf has learned how to draw an audience instead of pushing them away. Give Commissioner Tim Finchem some credit here for being flexible, for both the fans and players while making the TV networks understand that as well.
Golf has learned how to work around weather and not get controlled by Mother Nature in all circumstances. Number one it’s called flexible start times, what an amazing concept. If rain is coming in later in the day, you move up the start time and either complete the round, or get darn close to it. Baseball for example still hasn’t learned that concept, they still waste top starting pitchers letting them warm up and pitch two innings before a game gets called from a downpour.
The Erin Hills Clubhouse. Erin Hills opening next Monday May 11th.
When lightning gets close, the players and fans or patrons if at Augusta National get removed from the course long before anyone gets hit. Yes there were a few situations some years back, changes were made. TV might insist you could play for another 15-20 minutes before stopping play, but golf moves people out of danger in time. The NFL and MLB haven’t quite got that concept right just yet.
Starting times for golf on TV are done pretty well, even though the at the majors there have been some problems with late start times for the networks. Sending leaders off at 3 PM, makes for playoffs on Mondays, or players finishing in the dark like at Valhalla last year in the PGA. The USGA botched a couple of start times with west coast U.S Opens in recent years. Having the leaders stroll up 18 at 9 or 10 PM in the Eastern or Central time zones just doesn’t work. I’m not sure what the plan is for this year with the U.S. Open being played at Chambers Bay in Washington State, and not far from Seattle. Here is to the USGA and Fox getting it right the first time around come next month. Wrapping it up by 6 or 7 PM on Saturday and Sunday out East or in the Midwest is the time frame golf fans are looking for.
The time frame viewers are not looking for is what is being done in the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHL’s post season TV schedule has being nothing short of full blown TV disaster, especially here in Chicago were 5 of the first 8 Chicago Blackhawks games have started after 8:30 PM local time and three of those games are on school nights. While golf is doing everything it can to grow the game with the kids or fans of tomorrow, the NHL is shutting them out. This past Saturday the NHL showed it’s only playoff game at noon eastern time, which meant a 9 AM start on the west coast, and it was over before lunch outwest. That’s just dumb for a second round playoff game.
The Palmer Cup, at Rich Havrest Farms in Sugar Grove, coming June 12-13-14. See Richharvestfarms.com for details. Admission & Parking are Free.
While golf has made a few TV blunders along the way, the bottom line is that they get it right for the most part or learn from the errors of the past.
Now the question is can the other so called main sports do the same. Golf has had declines in youth participation in recent years, but number drop in golf is a drop in the bucket compared to sports like Football, Baseball, Hockey and Basketball. Step one in trying to stop declining participation levels are putting games or tournaments on TV at times people can watch them.
Here is the phone call that needs to happen.
“Hello, hi this is Tim Finchem who’s this, oh hi Gary how’s things in New York, oh you actually want to get more kids watching hockey so you can grow your sport, well here’s a thought and it starts with television.”