Before the New Year’s Day bowl games began, the main topic of conversation on College Gameday that had the sports world buzzing was the idea of players opting out of bowl games. The comments made by Kirk Herbstreit, David Pollack, and Desmond Howard were met with many criticisms to the point where Herbstreit had to go to social media to clarify some of his comments. Here is the full segment in case you missed it:
Howard appeared on Keyshawn, J-Will, and Max (hosted by Alan Hahn and Harry Douglas on Monday) towards the end of Monday’s show (around the 30 minute mark). The former Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl MVP mentioned that he had much more to say during that segment, but due to time constraints from producers, he wasn’t able to give a good portion of his take.
“If you watch the segment, I had a lot to say but I didn’t say it because as you guys know, we have producers and the producers are in our ears and I made the comment on-air that I am playing by the rules of the producer who is telling us to wrap-wrap-wrap but they kept going meaning Kirk, David, and Rece Davis because he just wanted to get further explanations of things that were being said. I had a lot more to say because I have strong opinions about this. If you watch the segment, I even mentioned that you guys are running right through that red light and I am sitting here playing by the rules.”
During the segment on KJZ, Howard wanted to make his opinion very clear to the point that it extended into the final commercial break of the show as he talked about what he hears from people he talks to in college football about the competitive spirit or lack thereof from some players.
“When you look at these kids nowadays and it’s not just the opting out, let’s go back to the transfer portal,” Howard said. “Those of us who do this for a living, we talk to coaches, you talk to coordinators, you talk to people in the program. They like to talk about how some of these kids, not all of them. The competitive spirit for some of these kids isn’t as strong and that’s why you see the transfer portal is now the cup runneth over so to speak.
“It’s crazy the amount of kids in the transfer portal because kids who don’t want to compete, they kind of feel entitled whether they were told this during the recruiting process or not that they were going to be starters…They don’t seem to want to stay there and compete, they jump ship a lot. The competitive spirit doesn’t seem to be there based on the people who are involved with these programs and the conversations we are having with some of them. That kind of trickles down to the bowls.”
As a former player, Howard says he is an advocate for players and he likes the fact that players can make their own decisions whether people agree with them or not because he hates they are being exploited.
“I understand why some players opt out. Do I agree with it every time? No I don’t always agree with it because I don’t think it’s great for the sport in certain circumstances. It just sets a bad precedent moving forward for a lot of these bowl games.”
Yes, College Gameday has a lot of stories and topics to get into in a three-hour span before games begin, but with the comments that were being made from the panel, you wonder if maybe they should have re-visited the player opt-out topic in another segment to allow more time to clarify statements. Still, at least Howard got the chance to say what he wanted to say on a different ESPN show.
Ricky Keeler is a reporter for BSM with a primary focus on sports media podcasts and national personalities. He is also an active podcaster with an interest in pursuing a career in sports media. You can find him on Twitter @Rickinator555 or reach him by email at RickJKeeler@gmail.com.
PGA Tour Expects Mic’d Players To Be Common For 2023 TV Broadcasts
“This doesn’t need to be a walk and talk like I did. But we can make it what you want it to be.”
Following the success with Max Homa last weekend, the PGA Tour is planning to mic a player up this weekend at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
According to Sports Business Journal, the Tour is considering micing up a player on either the 14th or 18th hole at Pebble Beach.
“The point of this is that if you want it to just be, they have an air pod on your caddie and they ask him one question, he could elaborate on something,” Homa said in an interview on the podcast No Laying Up. “That would be an improvement. This doesn’t need to be a walk and talk like I did. But we can make it what you want it to be.”
Homa added that he appreciated that the questions he was asked while taking part in the segment were solely on the task at hand and tackling the hole he was on.
“It wasn’t about how it is being a dad, how it is being in contention, it’s about golf,” he said. “This hole. That’s what we wanted it to be.”
CBS received positive reviews for debuting the new segment in their season debut at Torrey Pines last week.
It will be interesting to see if having players mic’d up for a segment will carry into NBC coverage or if it remains exclusively CBS. Have to think that in April at The Masters, if CBS keeps with it, the segment has the potential to be pretty compelling especially if the interview is with a player in contention or even leading.
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He works full-time as a multimedia specialist at the Virginia State Corporation Commission, while also putting in part-time work for News Radio WRVA and 910 The Fan in Richmond. Additionally, you can find Jordan contributing coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly and ABC 8News. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.
ABC Scores Most Watched NBA Saturday Primetime Game In 4 Years
“The game drew 3.7 million viewers.”
The Boston Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. While the game’s controversial finish left LeBron James and Patrick Beverly upset, executives at the Walt Disney Company had nothing but smiles thanks to the performance of ABC.
The game drew 3.7 million viewers. That means the Celtics’ win is the most-watched game in the ABC Saturday night prime-time window in the last four years. A February 2019 game between the Lakers and Golden State Warriors drew 4.1 million.
Boston also delivered the highest-rated game of the NBA season so far outside of the league’s stacked Christmas Day slate.
NBA Saturday Primetime on ABC is experiencing a nice uptick in viewership this season. Through the weekend, the Saturday night games are averaging over 3.4 million viewers according to an ESPN press release.
That number represents a 16% jump from last season. The edition of NBA Countdown that airs before the Saturday night game is having a good season as well. It’s average audience is up 3% to just under 1.5 million.
NHL Ratings on ESPN, TNT Down in 2nd Year
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season.
Viewership totals from ESPN and TNT show NHL ratings have declined heading into the All-Star break, but there are some extenuating circumstances for the nearly 22% drop.
So far this season, games on ESPN and TNT are averaging 373,000 viewers, which is down from 478,000 last season. However, both channels have increased their linear television schedule, doubling from 27 games to 54.
ESPN has aired 18 games with an average of 402,000 viewers. In the same time period last year, the worldwide leader had only aired seven contests, but garnered 622,000 per game. None of ESPN’s games last season had aired on weekends, while the network has broadcast six games on Sunday this year alone. The 12 games ESPN has aired that weren’t on Sunday have averaged 491,000 viewers.
The 2023 NHL All-Star Game will air on ABC Saturday, and the network is hoping for a lift from last season. In 2022, ratings fell 38% from the previous All-Star Game on NBC, and hit the lowest total since 2009. The NHL Skills challenge saw its largest audience in a decade after airing on ESPN in primetime on a Friday evening. Nearly 1.1 million watched the skills challenge, a 30% increase compared to 2020.
At this time last season, TNT had aired 20 games. Through 36 games this season, the network has seen an average of 359,000 viewers. The network is helped by the 2023 Winter Classic, which took place at Fenway Park on Monday, January 2nd. The afternoon contest saw an audience of 1.78 million, up 31% compared to the previous year.