Turn On Your TV: Early October Offers A Buffet For Sports Fans – Forbes
Each year, the first weekend of October is a bonanza for sports networks and fans alike. All the major professional sports are playing, college football is in full swing, high school football is being played throughout the country, other sports are in session ― and a massive amount of games, analysis shows, highlight shows and feature shows fill the airwaves. The advertising revenue fills the coffers of a wide array of networks.
Consider this: This last weekend of the Major League Baseball playoffs involved eight teams. The New York Yankees, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Chicago Cubs come from the three top television markets in the nation. The Washington Nationals, the Houston Astros and the Boston Red Sox represent the seventh, eighth and ninth biggest ― meaning six of the top nine markets are covered, and the Arizona Diamondbacks are based in No. 12 (Phoenix). That sets the stage for boffo ratings for FS1, TBS, MLB Network and TNT, all part of the coverage.
I turned on the television in Los Angeles at 9 a.m. on Saturday to watch college football and had my choice of six games; the action was still going at 11 p.m. The games were televised on ABC, CBS, CBSSN, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNU, Fox, FS1, Pac-12 Network, BTN, ACCN and SECN. Undefeated teams like Oklahoma and Michigan lost in upsets, and Texas A&M pushed top-ranked Alabama. The night before, there had been a series of high school football games on local networks as well.
The NFL took center stage on Sunday with a slate of games carried on CBS and Fox. The Fox game of the week was a thrilling contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Dallas Cowboys that came down to the last seconds. Many fans subscribe to the Sunday Ticket package on Direct TV, which allows them to watch any game being broadcast or multiple games at once. Other fans tune in to the Red Zone Channel, which has no commercials and flips to the games where teams are closest to scoring. The NBC game on Sunday night has been the highest-rated television show in Nielsen ratings for many weeks.
The NHL had its first weekend of games of the season; they were generally broadcast on regional networks like MSG Network, Fox Sports West and the TSN and NHL networks. The NBA is finishing its preseason, but its games are also being broadcast. ESPN has hosted a few, as have NBC, NBA TV and regional networks like MSG. Soccer is perpetually televised, both MLS and international games, on FS1, ESPN, TSN 1 and UNIMAS. The PGA had a televised tour event this weekend on the Golf Channel.
This coming weekend offers much of the same television madness, just with four fewer baseball teams in the playoffs. Sports television will be profiting greatly from these few weeks, and true sports fans are in heaven.