Friday, November 03, 2006

Research of the Week

There's a lot of research out there that paints a very dim picture for local television sports. The latest comes from Penn State, which says local sports segments will continue to get devalued. That means less time and resources allotted to a segment that's already been shrinking for several years. It may be that one day the sports segment simply disappears from local television news.

Obviously, this isn't a simple issue and there are several explanations. But I believe much of what's going on is directly related to television consultants. I've never seen or met a consultant who thought local sports had any value, and admittedly, most industry research supports that. The bigger question--if local sports does go away, will anyone miss it?


Blogger Thermocaster said...

Will local sports on television be missed? Probably not. Most of the sports fans that I talk to on a regular basis dislike having to sit through 27 minutes of "regular" news and weather just to get to an abbreviated run-through of local sports news. The ability to access written information about these local teams on the internet, coupled with sports talk radio's ability to spend exponentially more time on local issues, makes it nearly impossible for local television to compete.

The local television stations in Indianapolis have all gone to a format where they host a "local" sports show, normally on Friday nights (for high school coverage) and Sunday nights (for Colts/Pacers coverage). I haven't seen any recent ratings on these programs, but their longevity (three of the four have been in regular programming since the mid-1990's) would indicate to me that they either have a built-in (albeit small) viewing audience, or that they're cheap enough to produce that their continued airing makes more financial sense than trying to air a syndicated program in their place.

The controversy over the NFL not allowing local TV crews to shoot their own footage just adds more fuel to the potential funeral pyre for local TV sports. Bad enough that local TV sports is getting pressured into non-existence from the THE major sports league in the United States is applying pressure from the other side.

1:43 AM  

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