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Saturday, May 01, 2010

Schulman: I am boycotting ESPN “Sunday Night Baseball” tomorrow

I’m sure Zirin will be leading the charg…oh, fluck.

Tomorrow night, the New York Mets will appear on “Sunday Night Baseball” for the third consecutive week. Next week it will be the Yankees, who opened the series and season April 4 against the Red Sox.

On May 16, ESPN takes a breather from its courtship with New York to show the Phillies at Brewers. Maybe that’s just so everyone can be rested up for the May 23 Yankees-Mets game on “Sunday Night Baseball.” It’s time for Major League Baseball to grow a pair and tell ESPN, “Enough.” There is baseball outside the Metropolis and the Hub.

Yes yes yes. ESPN pays a lot of money for the rights. All the teams share that money equally. It’s good for the Oakland A’s bottom line if incessant Yankees and Mets coverage drives ratings up. I’m a capitalist. I want ESPN to make money. Heck, my company owns a huge chunk of ESPN. What’s good for the network is good for the Chronicle.

But at some point, it get ridiculous, and three Mets games in three weeks is ridiculous.

Fix it.

Repoz Posted: May 01, 2010 at 10:02 PM | 52 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, media, mets, red sox, television, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Crashburn Alley Posted: May 01, 2010 at 10:11 PM (#3519805)
TL;DR version:

Objection
Self-objection to original objection
Original objection anyway
   2. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: May 01, 2010 at 10:42 PM (#3519832)
Wow, I thought this was going to be much more interesting than it was. I agree with the general point but...zzzzzzz.

At this point two things are true;

1. Real baseball fans will be annoyed by ESPN's narrowview of MLB

2. ESPN's ratings will be much better because of the same
   3. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: May 01, 2010 at 11:27 PM (#3519852)
I don't particularly like the Mets, but considering that tomorrow's game is in Philly and that the Phillies are back on May 16th, couldn't a narrative be built that the Phillies are also geteting too much ESPN Sunday Night time?

(Mind you, I like the Phillies. Philly is as close to a hometown as I have in the U.S., and the Phillies are my favorite NL team. I'm just being a devil's advocate on this).
   4. davekemp Posted: May 02, 2010 at 12:16 AM (#3519886)
At first I thought this was from Dan Schulman of ESPN, who I believe does weekday games and the occasional fill in on Sunday nights. Which would have made the whole thing infinitely more interesting and controversial!

It's funny how irrelevant ESPN has become in the eyes of the non-casual sports fan.
   5. adenzeno Posted: May 02, 2010 at 12:42 AM (#3519904)
I am a Mets fan and wish other teams were on more than they are. Mets/Yankess/Red Sox all the time is just wrong. As far as ESPN, I never watch except for what little baseball they show- It seems to be all football/basketball all the time. I have MLB channel and Extra Innings so I get lots of baseball!!
   6. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 01:19 AM (#3519948)
I hate the late starting time for postseason games, but every time anyone complains about that, there's a one word reply: Ratings. Is it so hard to figure out that that's the same reason for so many nationally televised games involving the teams with the biggest fan bases? Why would ESPN want to carry games that only draw tiny ratings? Do Pirates or Rangers fans spend that much more money than Yankees or Mets fans?

Beyond that, anyone can subscribe to ExtraInnings and watch all the other games they want. Spread out over a season, it's barely a buck a day. Seems to me that this is the ideal solution.

Or is the point only that you want to listen to Miller and Morgan while you're watching the Mariners or the Marlins? Are your own local announcers really that dreadful?
   7. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: May 02, 2010 at 01:23 AM (#3519951)
There is baseball outside the Metropolis and the Hub.


I see no evidence to support this claim.
   8. Flynn Posted: May 02, 2010 at 02:22 AM (#3519990)
I hate the late starting time for postseason games, but every time anyone complains about that, there's a one word reply: Ratings. Is it so hard to figure out that that's the same reason for so many nationally televised games involving the teams with the biggest fan bases? Why would ESPN want to carry games that only draw tiny ratings? Do Pirates or Rangers fans spend that much more money than Yankees or Mets fans?

The problem with this is that for a national game of the week, baseball needs to insist on more than just the Red Sox/Yankees/Mets. Obviously they don't, because IIRC in the last TV contract ESPN wanted fewer restrictions on teams if MLB wanted more money.

Showing the Red Sox/Yankees/Mets so often creates a cycle where people increasingly don't care unless it's those teams and you get a World Series like 2008, which hardly anybody watched despite an incredibly compelling backstory for both teams. 25 years ago that World Series blows the door off Nielsen with its ratings. But it wasn't the Red Sox or Mets so people didn't care.

I hate giving the NFL credit, but they do a little bit of a better job with this. There's still an NFC/AFC East bias towards what is supposed to be relevant according to ESPN, but they seem to do better at featuring good teams no matter where they are.
   9. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: May 02, 2010 at 02:32 AM (#3519996)
Fact is, I almost never watch the game of the week any more, because I can watch or listen to the game that I want on my computer, and I'm bored by them showing me the same two teams every week. Put someone else on TV, and I might watch it.
   10. JRVJ (formerly Delta Socrates) Posted: May 02, 2010 at 02:34 AM (#3519999)
There is baseball outside the Metropolis and the Hub.


Right, in South Philly (since I suspect the Phillies are going to be treated as being on par with the Red Sox/Yankees/Mets - East Coast bias and such - at least for this year, and possibly for more, if they keep on being succesful).
   11. xbhaskarx Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:07 AM (#3520017)
He forgot the Phillies, it's the Philly-NYC-Boston axis of evil.
   12. Biscuit_pants Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:12 AM (#3520023)
There's still an NFC/AFC East Brett Favre bias towards what is supposed to be relevant according to ESPN, but they seem to do better at featuring good teams no matter where they are.
There that should be a little more correct.
   13. JoeHova Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:23 AM (#3520031)
Or is the point only that you want to listen to Miller and Morgan while you're watching the Mariners...? Are your own local announcers really that dreadful?

Yes.
   14. formerly dp Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:35 AM (#3520041)
Mets have been the Fox game of the week for the two (?) weeks as well. As a Met fan living out of the area, this is nice. But I can see how it would be annoying to other fans.
   15. The Yankee Clapper Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:41 AM (#3520044)
Is it so hard to figure out that that's the same reason for so many nationally televised games involving the teams with the biggest fan bases?

And it's not just the large home market. The Yankees regular season national broadcasts have better ratings than the local team in many markets, IIRC. Might be true for some other popular teams, too.
   16. GregD Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:53 AM (#3520045)
No one would be surprised that New York would be #1 in any selection like this. But it's weird that LA and Chicago aren't #2 and #3, since their media markets are vast, not quite as vast as New York's but still huge. So why doesn't ESPN have an NYC-LA-CHI rotation going? Why aren't the Angels, Dodgers, Cubs, and White Sox good draws?
   17. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: May 02, 2010 at 04:02 AM (#3520049)
They're fine draws, in LA and Chicago. Boston is the biggest net exporter of fans, among Major League Baseball cities. It's kind of a big college town.
   18. Runscreated Posted: May 02, 2010 at 04:06 AM (#3520051)
I live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. We get ESPN which shows mainly soccer. Occasionally baseball is on. I am mainly a National League fan and have been plagued by ESPN's choice of games.
This year there has been a few more NL games being shown over here, but the Yankees are in 5 of the next 7 games being shown.


MLB Regular Season 2010 (Live)
FRI 30-Apr 07:00 New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles
SUN 02-May 14:30 Chicago White Sox vs. New York Yankees (Delay)
TUE 04-May 07:00 Baltimore Orioles vs. New York Yankees
FRI 07-May 07:00 Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals
SUN 09-May 10:00 Colorado Rockies vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
MON 10-May 08:00 New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox
TUE 11-May 07:00 New York Yankees vs. Detroit Tigers

This sucks.....
   19. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 04:09 AM (#3520053)
No one would be surprised that New York would be #1 in any selection like this. But it's weird that LA and Chicago aren't #2 and #3, since their media markets are vast, not quite as vast as New York's but still huge. So why doesn't ESPN have an NYC-LA-CHI rotation going? Why aren't the Angels, Dodgers, Cubs, and White Sox good draws?

Two reasons: (1) The West Coast teams play most of their games when the East Coast is going to bed; the East Coast and Central time zones make up 3/4 of the country, and hence don't know much about those teams. (2) The Chicago teams usually just aren't that good.

I'll bet that as the year goes on, you'll start to see the Rays and the Cardinals on a fairly regular basis, and / or whatever other teams are doing well at the moment. But don't be surprised if more than once or twice their opponents are the Yankees, the Red Sox, the Mets, or the Phillies.

And you're not going to be getting any "affirmative action" teams in there just for the hell of it. This isn't the All-Star game where every team gets represented, and everyone gets to play. They're trying to present the most compelling matchup of the week that the most people will tune into. It's as simple as that.
   20. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 04:13 AM (#3520055)
FRI 07-May 07:00 Atlanta Braves vs. Washington Nationals

I'll bet anything that the Nats never would have been scheduled at the start of the season. Teams like that will get on national TV, but they have to earn their way onto it, as the Nats have with their surprising start.

And I'll guarantee that if Strasburg performs as expected when he comes up in June or July, you'll see plenty more of the Nats on ESPN, TBS and Fox.
   21. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: May 02, 2010 at 04:24 AM (#3520059)
Planning for the long term. If they focus on Yankees/Mets/Red Sox through the entire regular season and then the playoffs contain a bunch of other teams, that's going to cause them a problem.

ESPN has no postseason games.
   22. Biscuit_pants Posted: May 02, 2010 at 04:43 AM (#3520066)
The Chicago teams usually just aren't that good.
But the Mets are?
   23. ASmitty Posted: May 02, 2010 at 08:20 AM (#3520101)
But the Mets are?


A-freaking-men. I can understand the business argument, and even concede it. I can also understand the baseball fan's argument and do the same. I just really hate it when people try and justify the former as the latter. The Mets don't disgrace the pixels of my TV twice a week each year because all the other teams in baseball don't have the courage to match their level of play.

I never, EVER watch ESPN or FOX. I buy MLB.tv and watch the games I want to to watch. I refuse to feed the monster if it won't show a team outside of the Yankees/Mets/Sox/Phils quadruplet. ESPN is not entitled to my ratings just because I like to watch baseball, I have options (thankfully) these days.
   24. CFiJ Posted: May 02, 2010 at 09:16 AM (#3520103)
I can see the "Chicago teams just aren't that good" argument working in the 90s, but in the 2000s, one or both of the teams have been good just about every year.

2000 - Whites Sox win Central
2001 - Both teams have good years, finish 3rd and over .500
2002 - Both teams kinda suck
2003 - Cubs win Central, Sox finish in 2nd place, 4 games back
2004 - Both teams contend till the end of the season, Cubs just miss the Wild Card
2005 - Sox win Central, World Series
2006 - Sox win 90 games, lose tough division
2007 - Cubs win Central
2008 - Cubs win Central, best record in the NL
2009 - Cubs finish 2nd

I'm not seeing "Chicago teams usually not that good."
   25. OsunaSakata Posted: May 02, 2010 at 12:55 PM (#3520120)
I live in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


Is this the same blackout territory as Iowa and Las Vegas?
   26. The Most Interesting Man In The World Posted: May 02, 2010 at 01:43 PM (#3520126)
Is it so hard to figure out that that's the same reason for so many nationally televised games involving the teams with the biggest fan bases? Why would ESPN want to carry games that only draw tiny ratings? Do Pirates or Rangers fans spend that much more money than Yankees or Mets fans?

While I see your point, this is the same kind of thinking that has led to a slew of reality crap on television.

I hate giving the NFL credit, but they do a little bit of a better job with this. There's still an NFC/AFC East bias towards what is supposed to be relevant according to ESPN, but they seem to do better at featuring good teams no matter where they are.

This. I note that no matter who plays in the Super Bowl, the nation essentially treats the day as a holiday.
   27. Weekly Journalist_ Posted: May 02, 2010 at 02:11 PM (#3520135)
The general point is fine, but in this instance I can't think of any game not involving my team that I would rather watch tomorrow than Phillies vs. Mets. Defending NL champions vs. their chief rival with first place on the line. I personally would be kind of annoyed if it was Oakland/Toronto or something.
   28. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 02:14 PM (#3520138)
As for ESPN, what's it going to do when all of its pet teams are lousy, which is bound to happen eventually? There's plenty of room between the current All Yankees All The Time model and Everyone Gets Equal Time.

Then they'll adjust their schedule, which after July 18th is set only 2 or 3 weeks in advance. If the Mets revert to form you won't be seeing much of them after that.

Is it so hard to figure out that that's the same reason for so many nationally televised games involving the teams with the biggest fan bases? Why would ESPN want to carry games that only draw tiny ratings? Do Pirates or Rangers fans spend that much more money than Yankees or Mets fans?

While I see your point, this is the same kind of thinking that has led to a slew of reality crap on television.


Don't blame me, I get my baseball via ExtraInnings and it'd take a hundred bucks an hour to persuade me to watch any "reality" show. I was only defending ESPN's decision from a business POV.
   29. Leroy Kincaid Posted: May 02, 2010 at 02:47 PM (#3520156)
I can see the Mets & Yankees whenever I want. The practice of continuously showing these teams in national broadcasts means I have less baseball on my TV.
   30. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:14 PM (#3520167)
I can see the Mets & Yankees whenever I want.

Just as you can see any other team whenever you want, subject only to the 4:00 Saturday blackout rule. If there's ever been a perfect example of the free market offering a solution to a "problem," this is it.
   31. Leroy Kincaid Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:25 PM (#3520175)
That's true. I do subscribe to mlb.tv. But I also enjoy seeing the games on a larger screen than my laptop. I understand there are ways to "project" my computer through my TV, but the bottom line is that I have to spend extra money and do extra work to see whatever team I want. Years ago the "game of the week" had much more variety.
   32. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:40 PM (#3520182)
That's true. I do subscribe to mlb.tv. But I also enjoy seeing the games on a larger screen than my laptop. I understand there are ways to "project" my computer through my TV, but the bottom line is that I have to spend extra money and do extra work to see whatever team I want. Years ago the "game of the week" had much more variety.

But years ago the Game of The Week was the ONLY non-local game you could watch, and you had to take it or leave it, which is not the case today. Extra Innings on your TV costs $199 a year, which is either $1.10 a day over the course of the season, or 55 cents a day over the course of a year. How much do you spend a year at Starbucks or on junk food?
   33. Fly should without a doubt be number !!!!! Posted: May 02, 2010 at 03:48 PM (#3520184)
Just as you can see any other team whenever you want, subject only to the 4:00 Saturday blackout rule. If there's ever been a perfect example of the free market offering a solution to a "problem," this is it.

Agreed, although there is something special about Sunday Night Baseball. It's a great way to start off the work week. Very relaxing and rhythmic in the background, and I love when it's not the Red Sox, so I can half pay attention and enjoy the sounds of the game in the background.
   34. SoSHially Unacceptable Posted: May 02, 2010 at 04:17 PM (#3520200)
But years ago the Game of The Week was the ONLY non-local game you could watch, and you had to take it or leave it, which is not the case today. Extra Innings on your TV costs $199 a year, which is either $1.10 a day over the course of the season, or 55 cents a day over the course of a year. How much do you spend a year at Starbucks or on junk food?


But the Sunday Game of the Week on ESPN is designed to appeal to more than just the hardcore baseball fan who takes advantage of all those packages. It should work to broaden baseball's appeal, not narrow it (with one result of such narrowing being those unappealing matchups in the postseason).

I don't fault ESPN, that much, for thinking about short-term ratings over the bigger picture. But MLB should take the longer term view about the overall health of the sport when it makes a deal with one of its broadcast partners. It should be willing to take less in rights fees for a promise that its partners will do a better job of promoting the league as a whole. The NFL has done that, to a much greater extent. They sell the NFL, not just its marquee teams (and the appeal of those bigger attractions is mostly dependent on their talent, not just where they're located).

Baseball is more likely to remain a local sport than the NFL, a sport where fans follow the hometown nine less extensively than they do the game as a whole. But the league can certainly do a better job than it has at promoting all of baseball, rather than allowing a select few major market clubs to dominate the public consciousness. That has to fall on Bud, and it's been one of his biggest failings as commissioner.
   35. Leroy Kincaid Posted: May 02, 2010 at 05:02 PM (#3520226)
But years ago the Game of The Week was the ONLY non-local game you could watch, and you had to take it or leave it, which is not the case today. Extra Innings on your TV costs $199 a year, which is either $1.10 a day over the course of the season, or 55 cents a day over the course of a year. How much do you spend a year at Starbucks or on junk food?

Extra Innings also requires I pay for a box and remote control. I have basic cable wired straight into my TVs. I don't drink coffee and I rarely eat out. I "brown bag" my lunch 99% of the time.

Yes, there are more choices overall. So why should national broadcasts go against that and show the same 2-3 teams the vast majority of the time?
   36. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 05:56 PM (#3520252)
But years ago the Game of The Week was the ONLY non-local game you could watch, and you had to take it or leave it, which is not the case today. Extra Innings on your TV costs $199 a year, which is either $1.10 a day over the course of the season, or 55 cents a day over the course of a year. How much do you spend a year at Starbucks or on junk food?

But the Sunday Game of the Week on ESPN is designed to appeal to more than just the hardcore baseball fan who takes advantage of all those packages. It should work to broaden baseball's appeal, not narrow it (with one result of such narrowing being those unappealing matchups in the postseason).

I don't fault ESPN, that much, for thinking about short-term ratings over the bigger picture. But MLB should take the longer term view about the overall health of the sport when it makes a deal with one of its broadcast partners. It should be willing to take less in rights fees for a promise that its partners will do a better job of promoting the league as a whole. The NFL has done that, to a much greater extent. They sell the NFL, not just its marquee teams (and the appeal of those bigger attractions is mostly dependent on their talent, not just where they're located).


That's true, but in the case of the NFL, revenue sharing, free agent restrictions, schedule strength variations based on the prior season's record, and the greater overall importance of the draft make for a far smaller correlation between market size and dynasties. (Hell, the NFL doesn't even need a team in Los Angeles, and who outside of Los Angeles even notices this?) And much of the NFL's appeal is also due to its one game a week schedule and a little thing called gambling.

Baseball is more likely to remain a local sport than the NFL, a sport where fans follow the hometown nine less extensively than they do the game as a whole. But the league can certainly do a better job than it has at promoting all of baseball, rather than allowing a select few major market clubs to dominate the public consciousness. That has to fall on Bud, and it's been one of his biggest failings as commissioner.

That's an entirely different argument, and one I can't really disagree with. But you can might the same argument about late postseason starting times and afternoon World Series games, and the answer always comes back to ratings. As long as the short term beancounters dominate the television discussions, this is pretty much what we're going to get.

------------------

Extra Innings also requires I pay for a box and remote control. I have basic cable wired straight into my TVs. I don't drink coffee and I rarely eat out. I "brown bag" my lunch 99% of the time.

I can't say that I don't admire you for all that, but that does make you part of a small minority among baseball fans.

Yes, there are more choices overall. So why should national broadcasts go against that and show the same 2-3 teams the vast majority of the time?

I'm not saying that they "should" do this, but it does remain the case that the choice is there for anyone who wants to take advantage of it. The fact that you don't choose to exercise this option puts you into the category of the casual fan, and leads us back to the broader question that SoSH raises, that of short term vs. long term thinking.
   37. Bad Doctor Posted: May 02, 2010 at 06:05 PM (#3520255)
The NFL has done that, to a much greater extent. They sell the NFL, not just its marquee teams (and the appeal of those bigger attractions is mostly dependent on their talent, not just where they're located).

It's just not as feasible for MLB. The NFL can give a prime time game to Green Bay and Pittsburgh, and football fans will watch to see two good quarterbacks and some other marketable players (Ward, Polamalu, Harrison, Woodson and Harris, Matthews) and maybe even some very good yet not all that marketable players (Aaron Smith, the GB receiving corps) do their thing. (And that's without even getting into the gambling and fantasy football immediacy that will draw passionate eyeballs left and right.) A fan can watch a football game for one player, whether he's a fantasy guy following the third receiver on his team or a hardcore fan watching a very good lineman dominate.

You can market Joe Mauer and Grady Sizemore all you like, nobody's rearranging his weekend schedule to make sure to watch Minnesota and Cleveland. Especially not when there's a fair chance that Sizemore gets a single in four at-bats and Mauer goes 0 for 3 with two walks.
   38. Leroy Kincaid Posted: May 02, 2010 at 06:06 PM (#3520256)
But I do subscribe to mlb.tv. I doubt most casual fans do. If I were to pay for mlb.tv AND Extra Innings I think that'd take me well past "hard-core" and straight into "deranged" :)
   39. Francoeur Sans Gages (AlouGoodbye) Posted: May 02, 2010 at 06:28 PM (#3520264)
And much of the NFL's appeal is also due to ... gambling.
I hear this argument around here from time to time and I don't really understand it.

Sure, you can gamble on the NFL. But you can gamble on anything. My understanding is that the sports that really do just exist for gambling (horse racing, greyhounds) are good for that purpose precisely because they are going on all the time. There are baseball games going on every day for half the year - there are NFL games going on once a week for 17 weeks. So if you were looking around for something to gamble on, baseball would seem to make more sense.

"The NFL is popular because you can bet on it" seems a very strange conclusion. Surely "People bet on the NFL because they care about it" makes more sense. Particularly given that the nature of the NFL means that traditional odds-based betting has given way to the spread.

But I admit my ignorance - I don't really approve of gambling, so I don't know much about it.
   40. McCoy Posted: May 02, 2010 at 06:34 PM (#3520268)
Football gambling is very straight forward and easy plus they have the football pool. 100 bucks says the Rams will win by 4 or more points. Whereas in baseball it is bet 100 dollars to win 60 dollars if the Yankees win. Giving someone points is much easier to do than figuring out the odds. Secondly is the football pool. For 10 bucks or 5 bucks or 100 bucks or 1000 bucks or whatever you can purchase a square and bet on the quarters or game. For 10 bucks or whatever you can get a card and pick which football teams will win that week. The once a week thing makes it so much easier to get everybody together for this. Buy a card on monday, fiddle with it until friday, hand it in on Saturday. Watch the game on Sunday and collect the next week or purchase another card.
   41. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: May 02, 2010 at 06:57 PM (#3520280)
Baseball pools were much more prevalent 40 yers ago. My parents owned a bar in SF and had a pool on every Giants game. Pay a dollar, draw a number between 0-9, ones digit of total score won the pool. They'd have 1-2 of those a day weekdays, and 3-4 on Saturday and Sunday. Plus one of those "buy a square" pools for every Sunday game, two for a double-header.
   42. rr Posted: May 02, 2010 at 07:24 PM (#3520295)
This is the 3rd straight week the Mets have been on, right?
   43. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: May 02, 2010 at 07:33 PM (#3520299)
Baseball pools were much more prevalent 40 yers ago. My parents owned a bar in SF and had a pool on every Giants game. Pay a dollar, draw a number between 0-9, ones digit of total score won the pool. They'd have 1-2 of those a day weekdays, and 3-4 on Saturday and Sunday. Plus one of those "buy a square" pools for every Sunday game, two for a double-header.

The ease of non-internet gambling for the past 50 or 60 years has always favored football over baseball. For the very limited time I gambled on both in the mid-70's I could find several bookies to take football bets, but I had to do a lot of asking around to find one who would take any baseball action. The reason was always the same: There just wasn't the interest in baseball compared to football.

Of course if you take it back 80 or 90 years you could find places to bet on baseball and horse racing, and college football pretty much anywhere you looked. Every other bar and pool room had a back room with phone banks and AP ticker tape updates, and you could put down a bet on almost anything you wanted to. Throw in the connections these places always had to the hookers, and it was a great time to be a heterosexual bachelor.

IOW it was sort of like the internet today, plus alcohol.....
   44. Dewey, Soupuss Not Doomed to Succeed Posted: May 02, 2010 at 07:54 PM (#3520308)
"The NFL is popular because you can bet on it" seems a very strange conclusion. Surely "People bet on the NFL because they care about it" makes more sense. Particularly given that the nature of the NFL means that traditional odds-based betting has given way to the spread.

Hard-core gamblers will bet on anything, and they like stuff that's going on all the time. But that's not the audience that the NFL appeals to. Dabblers, people who don't follow sports or gamble that often, will gamble on the NFL, because it's easy to follow. They only need to remember to fill out their office pool sheet once a week.

Over the past thirty years or so, gambling has come out of the shadows and become a mainstream industry. It's no coincidence that the popularity of the NFL has risen right alongside that phenomenon.
   45. PaulO Posted: May 03, 2010 at 12:28 AM (#3520451)
Baseball fans rationalize the popularity of the NFL by discussing gambling.

There was no gambling going on for the NFL draft a couple weeks ago.

The first round had a 5.47 rating for just ESPN. It clobbered the NBA playoffs. It beats MLB cable playoffs numbers.
   46. McCoy Posted: May 03, 2010 at 12:40 AM (#3520461)
Who is arguing that the only reason football gets a higher tv rating is because of gambling?
   47. Shredder Posted: May 03, 2010 at 12:56 AM (#3520475)
It's kind of a big college town.
Ian Faith disagrees.
   48. Robinson Cano Plate Like Home Posted: May 03, 2010 at 03:24 AM (#3520588)
There was no gambling going on for the NFL draft a couple weeks ago.

lolwut
   49. Runscreated Posted: May 03, 2010 at 12:47 PM (#3520729)
Anyhoo, must have been a fun game to watch as Santana gave up 10ER. Homers by Polanco, Victorino, Utley, Howard and Barajas. Good stuff. Sitting here in Malaysia, I would have loved to see that game.
   50. Lassus Posted: May 03, 2010 at 01:03 PM (#3520740)
Ian Faith disagrees.

Nice.

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