Toledo, BGSU lose the limelightWritten by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Blame Tim Beckman and Dave Clawson, or blame BCSN.
The Toledo-BGSU rivalry has aired on national television since 2002. This year, it wasn’t even on local live TV. The best view anyone not in Doyt Perry Stadium witnessed was BCSN’s tape delay, several hours after the score was broadcast on the radio, Internet and the 6 o’clock news.
I suppose this is somewhat the fault of both schools experiencing growing pains with first-year head coaches.
Coming into the Black Friday game, Beckman’s Rockets were 5-6 and Clawson’s Falcons were 6-5. ESPN had their pick among the five MAC games on that day, and it chose Ohio-Temple, which decided the East division. Anyone not from Northwest Ohio (and perhaps a few inside the region) would have made the same decision.
Being on national television is not a birthright, even though both teams had their days with ESPN cameras in their stadiums this year.
But honestly, it felt like tradition for the annual rivalry game to be seen from afar. In a corner of the Earth, notorious for having its native children flock to the coasts; being able to watch is perhaps a luxury taken for granted.
But what about those with access to BCSN? Surely, they would be bestowed the reward of living locally. Not so. They sent their crew to masterfully cover the game, but they didn’t let a soul set eyes on the coverage until later that night. This programming strategy makes the coverage the second most puzzling concept in college football that begins with “BCS.”
Playing an amateur devil’s advocate is one of my side duties as a classically trained sports blogger, so I’ll attempt to rationalize this.
The primary goal for sporting events is to sell out. Once every ticket is in the hands of a fan, and then the TV coverage becomes profitable, which is known in the cliques as “The Detroit Lions Rule.” Not airing the game is theoretically an incentive for everyone in the region to drive to Wood County and shell over a few bucks to watch in person.
Nope. I tried, but I still didn’t convince myself.
The attendance on Nov. 27 was 14,075, a little dismal for such an anticipated showdown. Exactly four fewer humans went to BGSU-Ohio, and there were likely several Wal-Marts that morning which outdrew the Battle of I-75.
So, where’s the added value in sending a broadcast crew to the game regardless, only to air it after everyone knows the outcome?
This is a world in which information can’t sit in a production van for hours. And it’s no way to build interest for the rivalry. It gives off the impression, “Well, if the channel covering it doesn’t care all that much, why should the fans?”
When it comes to revenue sports, BCSN will usually air the BGSU games live, and the UT games on tape delay.
Here’s another decision I’m struggling to understand. Of the two universities, Rocket athletics have the higher demand, so therefore they will forgo a larger audience by not showing it live. But here’s a volleyball game from a couple days ago.
They certainly wouldn’t want you to watch the game for free. Gasp! What’s next: free newspapers in Toledo?