Saturday, March 29, 2008

Late games good for TV, bad for fans

In my first job after college, I worked for a small afternoon newspaper in Upstate New York that required me to be at the office at 7 a.m.

During my second month on the job, Atlanta was playing Minnesota in an epic World Series. My eagerness to see great baseball wasn’t as strong as the force of nature, and I fell asleep in front of the TV before the games were over.

I stopped watching baseball because of the late start times, and I suspect a lot of other fans did, too. I’m also convinced late starts are a reason Monday Night Football no longer is on ABC. Fans on the East Coast couldn’t stay up late enough to see the end, so they didn’t bother watching.

Which brings us to Saturday’s 9:05 p.m. starting time for Louisville vs. North Carolina at Bobcats Arena. My 7-year-old daughter would love to watch this game, but it starts after her bedtime.

CBS and the NCAA have a great thing going with this tournament. I believe it’s rivaled only by the NFL playoffs in terms of capturing the hearts and attention of sports fans in the United States.

But CBS and the NCAA can’t afford to lose my daughter’s attention any more than MLB and Monday Night Football could afford to lose mine. In order to squeeze a few more ratings points out of this game, they’re starting it late in prime time.

That’s a good short-term decision, but poor long-term planning if CBS and the NCAA lose the next generation of fans.

-- Ken Tysiac


Anonymous said...

The networks do not set TV times based on childrens bedtimes. Basketball is much different than football. 9pm is not too late.

Tremaine said...

TiVo the game. She can watch it in the morning. Or bite the bullet and let her stay up. It will be over by 11pm. Not much merit to your argument.

Plenty of parents took their kids to see Miley Cyrus when she was in town. I'll guarantee you they wre up late. It's not even a school night.