The sorry state of televising bowl games

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My grandpa got me hooked on watching bowl games. He was a sports addict, and had 2 TVs set up in his living room so he could watch sports while grandma could watch whatever she wanted. But on New Years day, he commandeered both sets, and we’d watch 2 bowl games at the same time. I was in heaven.

We had our schedule perfected. The Hall of Fame Bowl (now Outback) started at 11am and the Citrus Bowl (now Capital One) started at 1pm, and that’s when the fun started, with a bowl game on every network.

Now things are different. There are only three, count them, three bowl games on broadcast television this year. And two of them are not even good match-ups, featuring unranked teamst

  • The Sun Bowl: Catholics vs. Convicts, on New Years Eve (both teams unranked) on Dec. 31
  • The Outback Bowl: Urban Meyer’s last game vs. JoPa (both teams unranked) on Jan. 1
  • The Cotton Bowl: LSU vs. Texas A&M on Jan. 7th

ESPN carries the rest. It has even gotten into the business of owning the bowl games themselves. ESPN “owns” 7 bowl games, including powerhouse bowls like the Beef ‘O’ Brady bowl. It’s actually an interesting conflict of interest, where ESPN selects the schools, forces them to sell ticket allotments, and then hypes the game on it’s network. All with little disclosure to the public.

The Granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl, isn’t even televised on ABC. The Rose Bowl used to be so coveted that when the rights to the BCS games were sold to Fox in 2006, ABC refused to include the Rose Bowl in the deal. So much for that.

My grandpa would not be pleased.

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