Monday, October 31, 2011

Baseball, Basketball and Hockey Need the Red Zone Channel

It was kind of funny, the trick I was playing on G yesterday afternoon.  We were watching the Giants and Dolphins game on the Red Zone Channel.  Then the game quickly changed to the Panthers and Vikings game.  G was zoning out for a bit - it took him a couple of minutes to know that the game had even changed.  And just like that, the game changed again to the Rams and Saints battle.  He asked me to turn the first game back on and I told him that I didn't have the remote.
"Dad, stop changing the game.  Give me the clicker."  G was exasperated.
"I don't have it."  I deadpanned.

"Wait what's going on?  I don't get it!"

The wonders of The Red Zone Channel.  One of the best media inventions since the invention of Fantasy Football.  It's appointment television every Sunday afternoon in the Fall.  The premise is simple, the NFL has television rights to all of these NFL games and simply whipsaws around the league showing all of the Red Zone action on one station.  It's ingenious in its simplicity.

But the NFL doesn't do things any differently than professional baseball, basketball or hockey.  Each of those leagues has its own networks and likely have the same rights to their own games.  My idea for these leagues is even more ingenious.  Each of these sports should have their own versions of the Red Zone channel.

Save Channel.  Baseball should focus on the late innings and the obvious save situations.  As the Texas Rangers recently reminded us in the World Series, saves can be one of the most exciting parts of the game.  While it will be difficult to have the channel work with various games starting at four different times at night, this channel would have the greatest potential for revenues, since the games are played practically every day from April 1 through October 1.  And with Fantasy Baseball right behind Fantasy Football in popularity, the games can pinwheel around popular players when they are batting.  Wouldn't you watch if you saw every at bat from Prince Fielder, Albert Pujols or Joe Mauer.

Hoop Vegas Channel.  This is a no brainer.  The games are normally exciting at the end anyway, but then add all of the star players like Kevin Durant, John Wall and Derrick Rose that we can watch every night plus the fact that basketball is the second most bet sport after football, Hoop Vegas Channel would have the greatest chance of succeeding.  We just need to think of a better name for the channel.

Blue Line Channel.  Hockey lends itself well to this kind of channel.  Power Plays, Overtime and Shootouts make hockey well suited to the kid of back and forth action that is the hallmark of a station like the Red Zone Channel.  Ever since the prolonged strike/lockout several years ago, hockey has been playing catch up as the other sports overtook the NHL and in fact zoomed away.  The Blue Line Channel is the way to recapture this audience. 

Baseball, basketball and hockey are starting to fall behind football in ratings and popularity.  Consequently, revenues are starting to fall behind.  These leagues should look at some of the things that make the NFL so successful and try those ideas on for size.  Thus the Red Zone Channel.  Having the games showcased in this manner will generate excitement and more importantly - ratings.  It certainly can't hurt.

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