Tuesday, January 11, 2011

BCS Rehash

The early returns for ESPN's coverage of the BCS title game are a bit of a mixed bag. The ratings for the game were down from the 2010 game which was broadcast on Fox, but it was still the highest overnight cable rating ever, and even higher than some recent BCS title games.

The strong showing, despite the lack of a true marquee program or player, suggests that signature sports events don't necessarily need broadcast networks and can succeed on specialized cable outlets. I don't think we'll see the Super Bowl on Lifetime any time soon, but with more and more homes hooked up to cable and satellite, the idea of the Super Bowl on ESPN in the foreseeable future certainly isn't far-fetched. And thinking beyond that, I think we're looking at a pay-per-view Super Bowl within our lifetimes. Consider that last year's game between the Saints and Colts had the largest single TV audience ever--106+ million. Charging just $5 per household--a measly amount considering the $50+ charged for boxing and wrestling--would create a payday of more than half a billion dollars.

That's just too much money to ignore.


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