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Prepare yourself for the hype
January 25, 2010 - Steve Murch
Are you ready for the Super Bowl? More specifically, the (over)hype of the Super Bowl? The one big downfall to the Super Bowl is all that with two weeks between the conference championships and the big game, there is way too much time for all those who cover the NFL (especially ESPN) to uncover every meaningless nugget of information.
Many years the hype has surpassed the game's quality many times over, though the last several years we've had some better games. Remember all the 50-something to 20ish blowouts?
The one thing the NFL has going for it that the other three sports don't have is there isn't a need for big-market teams. The ratings are going to be there regardless of which teams are in the Super Bowl (This year is the perfect example, New Orleans and Indianapolis aren't big markets at all. New Orleans isn't even in the top 50 markets). That can't be said for the other major sports. Two small market teams in baseball can spell doom for TV ratings. Part of that can be attributed to better marketing by the NFL.
How much does baseball push its stars in small markets? Aside from Albert Pujols in St. Louis, you'd be hard pressed to see marketing campaigns that include players from teams in places like Kansas City and Seattle. Now, think about the biggest names in the NFL: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre (ugh), Tom Brady. Favre and Manning don't play in big media markets; in fact, for years Favre played in Green Bay, which is so far down the list that it's hard to call it a TV market. But because of the team's success since its inception, the NFL can market Green Bay and its stars successfully.
The NFL's TV contract helps that. Some of that is the nature of the game. All the games are played either on Sunday or Monday, with all but the national games played on Sunday afternoon (there are exceptions, of course) and so all the games are highlighted on the wrap-up shows. MLB has games most days, but those games are in the evening except for a few national Saturday afternoon games and getaway days. The night games usually start at 7 p.m. local time, so we don't see the west coast games during the week. NHL and NBA teams don't play a set day of the week, so sometimes it's easy to miss a game.
So football deftly uses its advantage and everyone jumps right up and gets sucked in to the (over)hype. It all comes down to not taking in all the analysis, most of which is repetitive by the Thursday of the first week – meaning we have 10 days of repetition.
If you truly want to enjoy the game and not be worn out from football before it gets here – odd considering the only game between now and then is the meaningless and poorly watched Pro Bowl – then avoid all the analysis and watch something else.
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