The NFL is plowing ahead with plans for its 2020 season. For college football though, it isn’t so easy. There is no commissioner in college sports, no central authority that can lay out a blanket ruling all conferences and schools must follow. Instead, it is up to individual conferences and their commissioners to make decisions on the upcoming football season.
Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby told Emily Caron of Front Office Sports that he intends to have a decision by June or July. He acknowledges that the ability to play football will largely depend on state lawmakers in the conference’s footprint.
“We have tried to coordinate with public health officials, and we’ve tried to coordinate with governor’s offices because ultimately, that’s where these decisions are going to be made,” Bowlsby said on Front Office Sports’ video series Fundamentals. “They’re going to empower university presidents and chancellors and boards of trustees to go and make their own decisions as to how they’re going to operate their university. I think most of the decision dates for our schools are somewhere between early June and late July in terms of just exactly what the fall is going to look like. Those of us that are involved in the athletics enterprise are going to have to be responsive. I don’t think we can drive those decisions. That’s the tail wagging the dog, I think.”
Bowlsby described the window between mid-June and early July as “the sweet spot” for making a decision. He doesn’t foresee there being enough information to determine whether or not it is safe to resume practices before then. His goal is still to begin the season on Labor Day weekend.
Finally, Bowlsby made it clear that he wants fans to be prepared for an untraditional season. He told Caron that he expects changes in a number of areas including facility operations, travel, sanitation, health, and wellness testing, fan experience adjustments, and venue spacing.
Even with an abundance of caution, Bowlsby says that there is no reason to assume everything goes off without a hitch.
“I just think college campuses are Petri dishes for infectious diseases. They always are. There are lots of people, and they’re living in close quarters, and they’re partying and interfacing, and there’s just lots going on. Some of that is going to find itself in the athletics population.”
Sunday Night Baseball Viewership Up On ESPN
“Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers.”
The first month of the 2022 MLB regular season has concluded and ESPN is celebrating an uptick in viewership for Sunday Night Baseball.
The network announced on Tuesday that viewership for Sunday Night Baseball is up 4% compared to this time last year. In addition to that, compared to the 2020 full season average, ratings are up 40%.
Telecasts are averaging 1.73 million viewers. The Dodgers/Cubs game on May 8 averaged 1.781 million and peaked at over 2.1 million viewers during the 8-8:15 p.m. window.
Karl Ravech, Eduardo Perez and David Cone comprise the Sunday Night Baseball broadcast booth, with Buster Olney contributing reports.
Nickelodeon Gets Christmas Day NFL Game
“This will be the network’s first regular season game.”
The NFL’s Christmas triple header will include a little slime this year. The afternoon game between the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams and Denver Broncos will be simulcast on CBS and Nickelodeon.
Nickelodeon has ramped up its NFL presence each year since 2020. The network has aired a kid-friendly broadcast of a Wild Card Round playoff game each of the last two seasons. Last year’s tile between the 49ers and Cowboys drew an audience of 41 million.
Before the start of last season, the studio show NFL Slimetime debuted. This will be the network’s first regular season game.
Kickoff is set for 4:30 pm Eastern on Christmas Day. No details of what Nickelodeon’s coverage may include are available yet. Nate Burleson, Noah Eagle and Nickelodeon star Gabrielle Nevaeh Green have been on the call of the network’s previous NFL broadcasts.
Kentucky Derby Rebounds With 16 Million Viewers
“The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.”
The Kentucky Derby has now eclipsed 15 million viewers in each of the last eight years that the event was not effected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. An average audience of 16 million tuned in Saturday to see longshot Rich Strike win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.
The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.
During the weekend, the event kept finding new life on social media. According to an NBC Sports press release, the overhead shot of the final call drew big audiences across a number of the network’s digital platforms, having been viewed in total more than 36 million times.
Peacock also cashed in on the event’s success. The streaming platform posted an average minute audience of over 247,000 viewers during the Kentucky Derby.