FanDuel - WFBC

June 08, 2012

No Triple Crown as I'll Have Another Scratched: I'll Have Another has been scratched from the Belmont Stakes due to injury, trainer Doug O'Neill said on the Dan Patrick radio show Friday. The thoroughbred was a 4-5 favorite to win the race, which could have brought horse racing's first Triple Crown winner since Affirmed in 1978.

posted by rcade to other at 11:33 AM - 24 comments

Welp, there goes the TV ratings. Sorry NBC, but your ad rates for the event just fell through the floor. THAT'S WHAT YOU GET FOR NOT SHOWING THE STANLEY CUP FINALS ON YOUR BROADCAST CHANNEL, YOU ROTTEN FUCKS!!

posted by NoMich at 11:40 AM on June 08

When have the Stanley Cup Finals ever been shown nationally in the U.S. on a broadcast channel?

posted by rcade at 11:44 AM on June 08

When have the Stanley Cup Finals ever been shown nationally in the U.S. on a broadcast channel?

Does that make NBC any less of a collection of Rotten Fucks for not doing it this year? As ESPN (and pop music) has proven time and time again, people will learn to enjoy whatever you shove down their throats place in the national consciousness. As NBC signed the NHL to a long term deal, it may be wisest to plant the seed as soon as possible, so when some higher-profile teams are in the final in the future, people expect to see it.

But this is a thread about horse racing. Sorry. That really sucks, and not just for the ratings. I suppose it's better to scratch the horse now than to hear about its euthanization in a couple of weeks, though.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:15 PM on June 08

NoMichThe game Saturday night (and the next 2 if needed) are being broadcast on NBC. They broadcast 2, I think of the first 4 games also. rcadeThey do broadcast on national TV occasionally, I watched several games the last time the Colorado Avalanche won the Cup. I don't think they do it every year though.

Shame about I'll Have Another, I was really excited about this horse. I doubt I will even watch now.

posted by steelergirl at 12:16 PM on June 08

I doubt I will even watch now.

I wonder how big the expected audience was going to be for that race. I doubt they'll draw 1/10th of it now.

I had plans to watch it. My parents had plans to watch it. My inlaws were looking forward to watching it. None of us watch any other horse race, except the Kentucky Derby if we remember when it's on.

posted by grum@work at 12:33 PM on June 08

I seem to recall Stanley Cup finals being played nationally on Fox and ABC (when ESPN had the contract) back in the day. They were showing American Ninja Warrior on NBC instead of showing the hockey game. Instead, it was on NBC Sports, a network not a lot of people have.

Gary Bettman should be furious about this. Sweeps were over before the series even started, there's no excuse for this.

posted by insomnyuk at 01:04 PM on June 08

As ESPN (and pop music) has proven time and time again, people will learn to enjoy whatever you shove down their throats place in the national consciousness.

That's a questionable premise. Why would ESPN pay top dollar for some pro sports if it could manufacture interest in cheaper alternatives?

I hadn't realized the Cup sometimes airs on broadcast. In my recollection the Stars Cup year was on ESPN.

posted by rcade at 06:31 PM on June 08

I don't think the NHL costs anywhere close to top dollar. And if they can manufacture interest, why do they seem so interested in not using hockey? It's in more locations, has a robust history, is a ready-made product, etc. I'm more inclined to think that because it's not on their network, they pretend it barely exists. They're a petty tyrant king.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:46 PM on June 08

Why would ESPN pay top dollar for some pro sports if it could manufacture interest in cheaper alternatives?

Like spelling bees? I'm not saying they should have bid more or broadcast the game, but I was on the treadmill for 45 minutes on Thursday morning after game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals. I did not see hockey mentioned once. I saw approximately 42 1/2 minutes of NBA coverage. It's the championship series of one of the "big 4" sports, whether it's the smallest of those four or not. And they act as if nothing is going on in the game.

That's a questionable premise.

Not really. As was noted on this site a few weeks back, ESPN is the national conversation about sports. If they act as if one does not exist, the national conversation follows suit. And vice-versa.

posted by tahoemoj at 10:42 PM on June 08

If they act as if one does not exist, the national conversation follows suit.

So there's really no reason for them to take a flier on the NHL, which even if it's less than top dollar, is significantly more of a risk than, say, a spelling bee. It's up to the NHL to draw U.S. interest, not ESPN.

posted by dfleming at 10:10 AM on June 09

no reason for them to take a flier on the NHL

Reporting on a major professional sport on a show called "SportsCenter" is taking a flyer? Showing highlights from the championship series of that sport rather than 40 minutes of discussion about whether LeBron James is "clutch"? I think it's possible that we might be having a different conversation. You phrase it as tasking oneself with drawing interest in the sport, I see it as attempting to bury a sport that that they were outbid for the rights to broadcast.

posted by tahoemoj at 10:18 AM on June 09

Like spelling bees?

We're talking about pro sports that draw big ratings and cost big bucks to televise, not cheap filler programming like spelling bees and poker.

Not really.

Then give me an example of a pro sport that's popular because a TV network manufactured interest in it. I loved the WPS, which Fox Soccer broadcast regularly, but it didn't get anywhere.

ESPN's coverage of hockey is terrible since it gave up the NHL. It's a shame the Worldwide Leader lets corporate synergy dictate its coverage so much.

It's the championship series of one of the "big 4" sports, whether it's the smallest of those four or not.

I don't think there's a big four in a class of their own. There's those four, the MLS, college football, college basketball, international soccer and the majors in tennis and golf.

I agree with the overall premise that SportsCenter is bad. But the issue was NBC putting the Stanley Cup on its broadcast channel out of some desire to manufacture interest in the NHL. I don't think that's a fair expectation. It's either there because it pulls the ratings or it's relegated to NBC Sports.

posted by rcade at 12:19 PM on June 09

That's a bummer, but glad the trainer and owner did what was best for the horse's health. Nobody wants to see another Barbaro situation, or anything like that filly who came in 2nd to Big Brown who was put down on the track a couple years ago -- forgot her name.

Like so many others, I too will probably forgo watching the race now, as the Triple Crown possibility was the only really interesting aspect of it for me. Such is the life of a bandwagon racing fan.

posted by evixir at 12:33 PM on June 09

I don't think there's a big four in a class of their own. There's those four, the MLS, college football, college basketball, international soccer and the majors in tennis and golf.

Not to mention that auto racing is the fourth most popular sport in the U.S., regardless of whether anyone agrees with that classification.

I think a lot of ESPN's current coverage is the fact that one sport has an intriguing storyline involving two huge markets and the biggest ego in the game, and the other has one team up 3-0 with significantly less star power. I mean, nobody talked about Tim Duncan the way they do LeBron either, which says more about the content that ESPN values than one sport over another.

posted by dfleming at 04:51 PM on June 09

Then give me an example of a pro sport that's popular because a TV network manufactured interest in it.

All of them.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:17 AM on June 11

All of them.

Nonsense. The big sports all were popular spectator sports before television.

How much of the XFL did you watch in 2001 on NBC? That's a great example of trying to manufacture interest in a sport. Major broadcast network. Enormous promotion. The first game a week after the Super Bowl got 14 million viewers, the second week got half as many and it was dead after one season.

I watched the opening game craps-roll kickoff and remember seeing a little of He Hate Me in another game.

posted by rcade at 11:28 AM on June 11

Nonsense. The big sports all were popular spectator sports before television.

Of course they were, but, much like the NHL today, the interest was local and/or regional. Kind of like ESPN's explanation for completely ignoring hockey. Without television, does the entire country hear ad nauseum about Tim Tebow? Before television, did athletes hold nationally broadcast one hour radio decisions regarding their free agency choice? Being a popular spectator sport does not equate to being part of the national sporting conversation. If asses in seats equalled national interest, the NHL would be among the best.

The original point I was trying to make was that I find ESPN's explanation to be completely disingenuous. They say that they don't show any hockey because there isn't interest. Many others, including me, would say that the limited interest in hockey stems largely from the fact that the far and away largest distributor of spoting news seems to be intentionally burying it.

I also tried to make the point that NBC could help to justify their contract with the NHL by consistently airing games on their main network, which would continue to keep the game in people's consciousness. Relegating the NHL finals to a secondary channel which many people don't have or aren't aware that they have is shooting themselves in the foot.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:49 AM on June 11

Without television, does the entire country hear ad nauseum about Tim Tebow?

Yes. Athletes like Red Grange, Jim Thorpe and Ty Cobb were national icons before television.

The NHL is hurt by ESPN's decision to cover it much less often since it stopped airing the league's games, because ESPN dominates the sports media landscape. But NBC Sports Network is helped by having the NHL. In the long term, having the NHL on a rival sports network could be a boon to every sports fan who is sick of the Worldwide Leader.

Last year's Stanley Cup game 1 on NBC was the most-watched game since 1999. So it's not like the sport is fading since it left ESPN.

posted by rcade at 02:06 PM on June 11

Yes. Athletes like Red Grange, Jim Thorpe and Ty Cobb were national icons before television.

I don't think this helps your argument. There is a chasm between Jim Thorpe and Tim Tebow, and it is filled in with Tebow's 'media-darling'hood.

posted by bender at 02:29 PM on June 11

The NHL is hurt by ESPN's decision to cover it much less often since it stopped airing the league's games, because ESPN dominates the sports media landscape. But NBC Sports Network is helped by having the NHL. In the long term, having the NHL on a rival sports network could be a boon to every sports fan who is sick of the Worldwide Leader.

For the record, I don't disagree with any of this.

posted by tahoemoj at 03:19 PM on June 11

There is a chasm between Jim Thorpe and Tim Tebow, and it is filled in with Tebow's 'media-darling'hood.

Tim Tebow is the first sophomore to ever win the Heisman Trophy, was a starting quarterback on one national champions and a contributor to another. He holds the SEC records for passing efficiency and total rushing touchdowns and is second overall in college football passing efficiency.

A big reason he's a media darling is because he's one of the greatest QBs in college history.

posted by rcade at 03:43 PM on June 11

All of his college accolades are well-earned and deserved, but he's not in college anymore. A bigger deal is made of him now than ever was while he was at Florida, and it's hard to argue that it's due to what he's accomplished on the field.

posted by bender at 04:20 PM on June 11

Since I'm old enough to actually remember the days before TV became the primary sports media outlet, and coverage was limited to radio, newspapers, and magazines, perhaps I can offer some recollections from the New England area.

--Professional football was never able to catch on in New England. There were attempts in the '30s and '40s, but these failed, and the teams moved. I remember predictions of dire failure for the Boston Patriots in the '60s because of history, but TV coverage and promotion made a difference, although it took a while.

--College sports were not greatly popular, Harvard-Yale football and rowing being notable exceptions. There was some fan interest in Boston College football, but a lack of local opponents seemed to minimize this. College basketball maintained some interest, especially when Holy Cross had excellent teams, but there were few headlines in the sports sections of the newspapers.

--Ice hockey was the king of winter. The Bruins regularly put good crowds into the Boston Garden, even when their teams were not terribly competitive. Bruins games were on the radio, and while I was not a fan until the early '50s, I still heard much about the team through the media. Once I became familiar with the game, I was able to listen to NHL games on CBC radio stations, AHL games from various markets that had a strong AM radio signal, and of course the Bruins.

--In New England during the summers of the 1940s and early 1950s there was only one sport. The Braves and Red Sox were at the top of the heap, but in the newspapers one could read about the minor league teams and especially about the teams in the various industrial leagues and the "town teams" in the informal local leagues that existed at the time. The Braves and Red Sox games were broadcast on the same radio station, and usually the broadcast was of the team that was out of town that day. If there was no game scheduled, or there was a rain-out, the station sometimes did a 'telegraphic re-creation' of an out of town game. This usually consisted of a studio announcer reading the teletype play-by-play of the game, while a sound effect of a telegraph key banging out Morse code played in the background. To a less-than-ten-year-old kid, this was the real thing.

--Professional football - the NFL - was the first real beneficiary of TV coverage. TV stations did not have a lot of programming available to fill a Sunday afternoon and there was already some interest in football. Given a choice between an old movie, political talking heads, or some other sleep-inducing show, Dad tuned in to the game. the NFL was smart enough to build on this, the AFL owners realized there was enough pie to get their piece, and the explosion came.

--Major League Baseball did not need widespread TV coverage to thrive, but got it anyway. This was not a good thing, at least in my opinion. Even the time between half innings has been doubled to accommodate commercials. The game itself has changed greatly over the past 50 or 60 years, placing more emphasis on slugging vs strikeouts, and less emphasis on 'small ball' and defensive strategies. I guess this is a matter of taste. Many like the power pitching vs power hitting game. I like the fundamental game of getting the maximum return out of every base runner while limiting the ability of your opponent to do the same. To me power baseball can become boring, while 'small ball' keeps me interested in the shifting tactics of each situation.

--The NBA has "sold its soul to the Devil" because of TV. I think that TV has demanded the expansion of the league in order to expand the number of TV markets in which there is fan interest. This has caused a dilution of the talent available to each team, thus causing the game to change from a team-oriented game to one that is built around 2 or 3 individual stars on a team. Thus some fans' suspicion that "the fix is in" in the league. Questionable officiating with no accountability or explanation, strange happenings with ping-pong balls at draft time, the adoration of a few super-stars by networks all contribute to a negative image. Through it all, TV is able to hype the product and keep its ratings high. In some respects the game is better for the performance of the few, but for the basketball purists it is not as good a game.

--This brings us to the NHL. Prior to 1967 the league did quite well with 6 teams, lots of talent, and a high-quality product on the ice. Somewhere in that time, the league's governors figured out that the NHL would always be a marginal attraction unless there was expansion. The influx of European players as well as added opportunity for US players to improve their game in high school, college, and junior leagues has kept the level of play satisfactory, but not as good as it might be. Attempts to expand into the so-called Sun Belt have met with indifferent results, and franchises are moving back into more familiar hockey country. The problem with the NHL and TV is that the game is just not built for TV. Long periods of uninterrupted play do not favor the surfeit of commercials that appear during football or basketball. The play itself moves quickly, and for those who are not familiar with the game can often be confusing. Perhaps the biggest problem is the lack of scoring. Today's players seem to skate better, are better at blocking shots, and the goaltenders are better. Much of this can be attributed to better equipment, but the NHL game is still being played on the same 200' X 85' rink. You'll probably never get the stadium owners to agree to it, but perhaps changing to the international 61m X 30m (200' X 98') rink will give just enough additional room for the skating game to develop and add some goal scoring. National TV coverage of the NHL has not succeeded in the past. Perhaps NBC Sports will be able to make it go. I hope they do, but I am not optimistic.

posted by Howard_T at 05:21 PM on June 11

Cool post, Howard.

I don't think today's NBA suffers talent dilution. Now that it's a global sport the number of players is much larger than it was back in the day, and the pull of riches and glory is much stronger with its enormous TV audience.

A bigger deal is made of him now than ever was while he was at Florida, and it's hard to argue that it's due to what he's accomplished on the field.

Tebow got most of his NFL hype after the winning streak got going last season. If he goes 2-4 there's no way ESPN devotes 30 hours a day to him.

posted by rcade at 05:37 PM on June 11

You're not logged in. Please log in or register.