“Tough Times Where There Were Once Good Times”
The sports landscape has drastically changed in the last five years.
Viewership, fan turnout, corporate support is waning.
While MLB, the NFL, the NBA, the NHL and March Madness are flush with money thanks to their lucrative television deals, there is trouble brewing just ahead for one sport, and terrible fallout other places.
Remember the era of the Big 3-Networks, ABC-CBS-NBC? Then came ESPN and its explosive growth across lots of platforms. Then Fox became a big time player.
And then we splintered off to the NBC Sports Network and the CBS Sports Network. Here came FS 1. And then the regional sports channels.
College conferences dove head first into the water, investing tons of money for the Big 10-channel, the SEC, ACC, and to a lesser degree the PAC 12 and Big 12-networks.
Lots of money being thrown around, to put lots of sporting events on the air.
Now the contracts are coming up and the dollars are likely to go down.
There are only so many TV viewers in households. Whereas before the networks could split those viewers into a 5-way pie, ABC-CBS-NBC-ESPN-Fox.
Now we have the same number of viewers, with tons of options to go watch games. Viewership on specific channels are down. That means advertising rates will likely drop, and that means revenue streams will fall off.
The golden goose that was college athletics may not pay out as much in future deals. And that’s a big problem.
School loaded with TV money in these first deals, went on spending-building sprees for facilities. Ditto for the arms race to pay coaches. Everyone’s salary is up. Tell me, with the next wave of TV contracts, with likely less revenue coming in, how will Universities pay off the bills on these new facilities and the continued salaries of its staffs?
And it does not stop there.
NASCAR’s fan turnout and TV ratings are in a couple of year plunge. No one can explain why it is no long the sports that people flocked to just decade ago.
Indy car racing has dropped off the radar completely. Aside from the Indy 500, fan turnout and television viewership is pitiful.
Seen or heard anything lately about the NHRA?, the dragsters? Formula 1-has never established a foothold here to match what it is in Europe.
Pro soccer here has never arrived as a TV sport nor a revenue stream equal to what the ‘Men in Blazers’ show and the English Premeir League deliver there.
Aside from the tennis grand slam events, no one watches, no one cares.
And now Pro Golf might be headed there. Aside from the Masters and the British Open, what happens when there is no more Tiger-Phil competition? Is there a superstar out there to capture the fancy of the fans like Arnie-and-Jack?
And once upon a time the LPGA had stars, personalities and was a big event. Not anymore. It’s lost a ton of title sponsors, is hardly ever on TV, and its stars are foreigners, who don’t speak the language. How do you market that?
The Olympics hold great historial lure, but because of time zone differences, do not generate the ratings they used to, despite being spread across lots of platforms.
It is indeed a different time in sports for sure.
Tough Times coming where there were once good times.