Tag Archive: HDTV


On any given autumn Saturday there are seemingly 27 different college football games on nearly a dozen networks, all available in HD with exceptional video and sound.

And let’s not forget the HDTV games on Thursday and Friday nights as well.

For the addictive channel surfing male of species in particular, there are so many games to choose. There are cold microbrews in the fridge, snacks on the table, and an always available WC down the hall, all provided free of charge in HVAC comfort.

Contrast this climate controlled football nirvana with sphincters yelling in your ear, blocking your view, $10 making-love-in-a-canoe beers, lines for the commode, and endless commercial and instant replay reviews on days/nights which can be blistering or freezing and wet.

As a 30-year and counting Autzen Stadium season ticket holder, Almost DailyBrett has been tempted on more than occasion to leave the overpriced tickets (includes the required Duck Athletic Fund donation) on the coffee table, and watch the game in high-definition comfort at home. Wonder how many Oregon fans will take this option this weekend considering that Pac-12 Networks has decided the game against Montana will start … at 7:45 pm PDT, 10:45 pm EDT.

Seriously, how many folks in the Eastern and Central time zones are going to be watching Pac-12 Networks at midnight, when literally millions in the Pacific time zone cannot even access the network because of contractual issues? If the conference can’t be marketed east of the Rockies, then what’s the point of the late kickoff?

We know from the reporting of the Los Angeles Times that way too many UCLA fans are showing up dressed as empty seats at the 80,616 capacity Rose Bowl in Pasadena. Consider the optics last Saturday as an “announced” crowd of 36,000 attended UCLA’s latest loss, this time against juggernaut San Diego State.

Was the Rose Bowl half full or half empty?

Thankfully, this season will be the last in which the Pac-12 “Championship” game will be played in the nearly vacant Levi’s Stadium in gridlocked Santa Clara on a Friday night (December 6). The announced attendance last year was 35,114. How many freebies were given out to pad the crowd?

Do you know Pac-12 Commissioner, Larry Scott?

The only winner was Fox Sports, providing the network with Friday night “programming.” The losers were the Pac-12 teams, the conference and of course, the fans.

The Networks Don’t Care About The Fans

Alabama is playing its September 21 home game against Southern Miss at 11 am local time.

Does anyone at the sports networks have any appreciation for the expected temps in Tuscaloosa, Alabama when the humid sun is nearing its zenith point for the day? Nick Saban is fried about it (pardon the pun), but he and the Alabama administration seem to be powerless to stop the madness.

Alabama is a perpetual national champion from God’s anointed conference, the SEC, and the school can’t convince the networks to find a  broadcast “window” that works for its fans, friends and supporters?

The networks and the universities want the optics and the revenue that comes from packed stadiums, but are seemingly indifferent to the potential of heat stroke/frost bite by fans. And what’s a fan to do?

How about watching the same cupcake, body-bagger game (e.g., Alabama vs. New Mexico State) in air conditioned comfort in High-Def for free?

Almost DailyBrett initially could not believe when one of my USC fraternity brothers announced that he would not be hosting his long-time tailgate parties at the LA Coliseum this fall. Instead, he said he would “Stub Hub” a game or two, and watch the rest of the games in HDTV.

“We also abstained from buying tickets, so, while we may attend a game or two, will be watching most of them at home.”

One may be tempted to dismiss the above story as simply anecdotal. What is not anecdotal is that college football attendance is down for the major conferences, save the ACC.

“What A Better Way To Spend An Autumn Afternoon” — ABC’s Chris Schenkel (1923-2005)

Almost DailyBrett remembers the days when there was exactly one college football game broadcast on Saturday afternoons by ABC.

The supply of the sport was obviously way under the demand, considering the literally millions of Americans who want to follow their alma maters and favorite teams.

Athletic departments needed additional revenues to fund a wide-variety of sports, the majority of which run in the red.

The networks came to the rescue, but predictably there are no free lunches. The “strings” that came with the deal was the loss of total control, particularly when it came to scheduling and kick off times. The universities, their alumni departments, and most of all their fans couldn’t engage in advance planning with game times being announced only six days before.

Almost DailyBrett is heartened by the complaints coming from Nick Saban and others. The universities want alumni and fans on campus. They want them to sing the fight song, hang out at the tailgate parties, buy the expensive jerseys, have a wonderful time and most of all … write checks.

To this date in recorded history, an empty seat or bench has never written a check to a university.

Doubt this empirical fact of life will ever change.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/ucla/story/2019-09-05/ucla-football-attendance-issues-crowded-sports-field

https://www.espn.com/college-football/story/_/id/27581049/alabama-not-happy-start-due-heat

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/09/10/alabama-football-is-sick-tired-day-games-would-rather-beat-its-cupcake-opponents-night/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/08/01/6-a-m-tailgate-parties/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2019/01/02/the-conference-of-champions/

 

 

To the author of Almost DailyBrett, hockey has become a spring/summer sport.

LOS ANGELES, CA JUNE 11, 2012 -- Center Brad Richardson kisses the cup after the  Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. ( Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

LOS ANGELES, CA JUNE 11, 2012 — Center Brad Richardson kisses the cup after the Los Angeles Kings defeated the New Jersey Devils 6-1 in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final at Staples Center. ( Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Forget the frozen pond.

Forget the Montreal Wanderers.

Forget the Toronto Arenas, winners of the first Stanley Cup in 1918.

Today there is the Winter Classic, a made for television event that over-glorifies just another regular season game, usually staged in a freezing football/baseball stadium at strategic times during the short-day/long-night winter months.

And every four years, the NHL shuts down for two weeks to permit its players to represent their respective countries in the Winter Olympics (e.g., Sochi 2014), and hopefully for the 2018 games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Both the Winter Classic and the Winter Olympics represent public relations victories for a league presided over by villain commissioner Gary Bettman, who seemingly was separated at birth from always fun-and-happy Harry Reid.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York.  The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight.  (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman listens as he meets with reporters after a meeting with team owners, Thursday, Sept. 13, 2012 in New York. The current collective bargaining agreement between the league and the players expires Saturday at midnight. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The league most likely will never completely overcome the tarnish associated with the 2004-2005 lockout season, when no hockey was played and no Stanley Cup was awarded.

And yet the league now has three 10-figure franchises (i.e., Toronto Maple Leafs, New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens) and a reasonable $71 million salary cap for the 2015-2016 season. The average team is worth a respectable $490 million and only one-third are actually losing money, but you can be assured there always will be rich people who want to buy these teams.

Just as important, the NHL does a better job in staging its playoffs than any other professional sports league on the North America continent. The Stanley Cup finals begin this Wednesday, June 3 with the Chicago Black Hawks playing the Tampa Bay Lightning.

In a sense the Stanley Cup is the strength and the weakness of the No. 4 sport both north and south of the longest undefended border in the world. The NHL’s playoffs mean everything/the regular season virtually nothing.

Just ask the New York Rangers, the latest President’s Cup winners (regular season best record) to watch the Stanley Cup finals on HDTV.

Has anyone actually seen the President’s Cup?

The World Series vs. The Stanley Cup

Baseball, which used to be our national pastime until it was systematically usurped by college football in the late 20th Century, celebrates its so-called Fall Classic, the World Series, in which 30 teams from only two of the world’s nations are invited to participate (29 from the USA and one from Canada). Seriously, how can anybody call this overhyped best-of-seven, a “World Series.” Give us a break.

In contrast, football (UK), fussball (Germany) or futbol (Spain and Latin America) holds its real World Cup every four years, which is financed through a series of bribes, kickbacks and money laundering schemes from sheiks and oligarchs located in exotic locations (e.g., Russia, Qatar) spread across the shady corners of the planet. There are 32 teams from (gasp) 32 nations that are permitted to participate in a month-long tournament in which all the profits are sent to FIFA in Switzerland and its supreme leader, Kim Jong Un, … oops, Entschuldigung Sie, Sepp Blatter.

The NHL refreshingly does NOT declare that its champion is indeed the world champion. After all, only 23 USA teams and seven Canadien teams are eligible to play, so the NHL spares us the fallacy that its champion is a global Wunder.

Hoisting the cup is good enough.

Here are the reasons why the Stanley Cup is by far the best post-season in North American professional sports:handshakeline

  • There is a true salary cap in the NHL, which means that any of the 16 teams, which qualify for the playoffs, has a chance to win. The Los Angeles Kings were the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference in 2012 and rode a hot goaltender, Jonathan Quick, through a gauntlet of four-rounds without home ice to win the cup.
  • HDTV has been a Godsend to the NHL. Hockey with its small whizzing disc of vulcanized frozen rubber is not easy to follow on standard-definition television. And yet Emmy winner announcer Mike “Doc” Emrick and his mates are as good as any in capturing the excitement and raw force of ice hockey, and the game is much easier to watch on high definition.
  • A Canadien team has not won the cup since 1993 and that obviously is the case once again this year. Even though Canada invented the sport, it is not longer just a Canadien game. Hockey in many ways has become an American game. The NHL is considering its next round of expansion, and rumors are pointing to Las Vegas and Seattle, not Moose Jaw or Kamloops
  • When someone is checked into the boards, slashed, hooked, held, elbowed, cross-checked, interfered etc., the referees do not award free-throws (how wimpy). Nope the offender is sent to the penalty box, and a two-minute or longer power play unit takes on the penalty killers. Special teams all the way, baby.
  • A team going down three games to none in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is most likely toast, but not in every case. There are four NHL teams that have accomplished this feat of coming back from three down, the last being the Los Angeles Kings against the San Jose (cough, choke) Sharks in 2014. This feat has only been accomplished once in beisboll and never in the NBA.
  • The ceremonial handshake at the end of each series is more than just for show. These are real warriors who skate, check, scratch and claw … not including firing the puck … around the ice for as many as seven games, only to respect each other when all is said and done.
  • And then there is the cup. The winners get to skate the Stanley Cup, the Holy Grail of hockey. No sport does pageantry better than the NHL. Bettman is greeted with boos when he emerges to present the Conn Smythe to the playoffs’ best player, and then the cup to the champions. When the booing/cheering is over, each-and-every player will have his name inscribed on the 35-pound trophy, and a special day when the cup comes to his hometown regardless of where or how far.

Now that is something truly special to tell a granddaughter or son, sitting on your knee.

.http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/news/story?page=cupchamps11

http://www.forbes.com/nhl-valuations/list/

http://www.sportsnet.ca/hockey/nhl/nhl-richest-teams-forbes-toronto-maple-leafs-montreal-canadiens-new-york-rangers-1-billion/

http://www.detroithockey.net/nhl/timeline.php

http://espn.go.com/nhl/story/_/id/12929596/commissioner-gary-bettman-expects-nhl-salary-cap-climb-71-million-2015-16

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Bettman

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanley_Cup

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Emrick

http://www.puckreport.com/2009/04/nhl-playoff-comebacks-trailing-3-0.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Every fall game day, I have a sacred routine.

My pilgrimage starts by walking over the Willamette River knowing that one day my ashes will be thrown off the footbridge into the north flowing current. Soon thereafter I will be partying with friends in the Moshofsky Center (Oregon’s indoor practice facility). Then about 45 minutes before kickoff, it will be time to head into the game. And finally, the three hours-plus of intensity and passion that comes from a no-holds barred game in the friendly confines of Autzen Stadium.

autzen2

I have it all figured out, or do I?

My best friend’s son, who loves college football as much as me, will almost never go to a stadium, any stadium. Presumably, he begins his autumn Saturdays with ESPN’s “College Game Day,” followed by a series of jousts at noon Eastern, and then the first set of west coast contests at 3:30 pm Eastern, and then the featured Saturday night epics at 8 pm Eastern and finally the late West Coast bouts at 10:15 pm Eastern. To wrap it up, he checks out ESPN “Sports Center” to cap off the day.

Does he appreciate what he is missing? Or is it me who doesn’t know what I am missing?

This coming August 15, the Pac-12 Conference will join the other major conferences (e.g., Big 10) in debuting its own network, ensuring that every football, men’s and women’s basketball game of each conference school is televised in high definition with superior video and audio. As welcome as the universal access to all of your alma mater’s games may be, it brings up an obvious question:

Why go to the game?

When I first purchased my Oregon season seats, 15 rows behind the opponent’s bench near the 30-yard line back in 1990; maybe…just maybe…one Oregon game would be televised each year. ABC had a virtual hammer lock on college football and only televised the glamour teams, but that quickly changed with cable.

Even with that change, perhaps four or five Oregon games would be televised each year in standard definition and those were usually the games against teams from the large media markets (e.g., USC, UCLA, Washington, Stanford, Cal). Now all of the games are televised in high definition, including this year’s body-bag game with Tennessee Tech.

The ones-and-zeroes mastery of digital television teamed with telecommunication satellite technology and HDTV with LED, LCD and plasma screens resulted in a viewer experience that absolutely blows away standard definition. We can now actually see the puck during Stanley Cup playoffs. Many times the problem with progress is the unintended consequences.

Even the staid Economist this week noted that better television broadcasts combined with escalating ticket prices have resulted in the NFL seeing a drop off in its attendance.

This perfect storm has to cause even the most devoted fan (I qualify) to question spending $1,000 to participate in the Duck Athletic Fund (substitute your own school’s athletic supporter fund), and then spending $81 or more per seat for the best games (e.g., $345 each for the BCS National Championship game) for the privilege of standing up for the entire game in either 94-degree heat or 32-degree freezing temps. And let’s not forget the slow crawl home with 60,000-plus of your most intimate friends.

Sure, the live game includes marching bands with fight songs and ornamental cheer leaders or as the late (ABC college football announcer) Chris Schenkel said, “What better way to spend an autumn afternoon.” Well, there is an option even for the most devoted fan.

The alternative is the living room with superior sound and picture. The game is free. There is no line for the bathroom. It is easy to dash during a time out for your personal refrigerator. The networks provide replays of key plays for not only the game you are watching, but for all of the other big games. Heck, you can even watch two games at once with picture in picture technology.

espncamera

Maybe this conundrum has prompted many professional franchises and college athletic departments to go slow (e.g., Oregon) in expanding the capacity of their respective stadia or in certain cases actually reduced the capacity (e.g., Stanford). Too many seats (supply) can depress demand (fans), while too few seats (supply) may stimulate demand (fans). Call this the Beanie Baby effect.

Perfect examples in beisboll are the Chicago Cubs (e.g., Wrigley Field), the Boston Red Sox (e.g., Fenway Park) and the San Francisco Giants (e.g., AT&T Park). In contrast, the Oakland Athletics have too many seats in the Oakland Coliseum, prompting the franchise to cover whole sections with embarrassing tarps. How’s that for “Money Ball?”

Oregon has sold out every game at 54,000 seat Autzen Stadium (60,000 with standing room) since 1999. And as long as the Ducks keep winning (e.g., three straight conference championships and three straight BCS bowl games), Oregon fans will pack Autzen even when Tennessee Tech comes a calling. But what happens (and it’s inevitable) when some sub par seasons creep into the mix? It wasn’t that long ago when the Ducks were weak sisters and they were not seen as ultra cool. I don’t want to see a fall off, but I have to be reasonable.

Will hardy fans be tempted to follow their team (and college football in general) by means of the superior quality and convenience of HDTV? The Pac-12 network will reportedly bring up to $30 million in additional revenue to each of the dozen schools in the conference. That is good news to the green eyeshade crowd. One must wonder long term whether this influx of cash will be counterbalanced by dwindling attendance in the face of high ticket prices and awesome high definition sound and picture.

Doesn’t that sound like an unintended consequence?

http://www.economist.com/node/21555606

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Schenkel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pac-12_Network

http://blogs.mercurynews.com/collegesports/2012/05/20/pac-12-network-what-it-worth-heres-one-projection/

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/budwithers/2018252077_withers21.html

http://world.ty.com/catalog/catPage.cfm?status=Current&lineid=3

The Rise of Malcontent CPOS

Just found out that I personify a new acronym.

Yep, I am a card-carrying member of the “CPOS” club or “cell-phone onlys” that is confounding political pollsters and most likely telemarketers as well.

On top of that, I am also a dedicated member of the-why-do-I-need-a-daily-newspaper-dropped-at-my-doorstep-by-some-sleep-deprived-dude-driving-around-burning-fossil-fuels-before-the-birds-wake-up-in-a-derelict-car club. The publishers of daily newspapers don’t want to hear this, but the Internet is just fine. Ditto for HDTV with Fox News, CNN, CNBC, ESPN, ESPN2, Comcast…I have more than my fair share of information, quite frankly more than my brain can accommodate in a give nanosecond.

The existence of CPOS was the subject of an Economist piece http://www.economist.com/node/17202427 that reported that cell-phone onlys were not adequately represented in surveys conducted by political pollsters, casting doubt on the validity of their results.

“The immediate problem is the rapid growth in the number of people who have only a mobile phone, and are thus excluded from surveys conducted by landline (how primitive),” The Economist reported. “About a quarter of Americans are now ‘cellphone onlys’ (CPOS) in the industry jargon and this poses both practical and statistical difficulties.”

Namely, we are less likely to answer our phones (yep, voice mail, caller ID and vibrating phones are good things), less likely to participate in surveys (check) and we often retain our telephone numbers when we move from state-to-state making it harder to know where we actually reside. And the problem that pollsters and telemarketers have with this scenario is exactly what?

Bringing a small grin to my face is the knowledge that automated services (“robocalls”) are prohibited from calling mobile phones by law, and so pollsters (and by extension telemarketers and non-profits) have to hire real people to call people with cell phones at an additional expense. Or pollsters could just not call CPOS, figure that these malcontents are 10 percent of the sample and “rinse” the results to compensate for our presence.

The Economist said that CPOS are “younger, less white, and poorer than the average American. They are also more likely to vote Democratic.” Gee, that really describes me to a tee.

Unmentioned by the Economist is that the recession has prompted literally millions of Americans to question some of their expenses. Why do we need a landline when we are already shelling out for a cell phone, and we may even have family members on our plan…resulting in additional lines? Personally, I am already paying for three cell phones. Why do I need a landline?

The same is true for a daily newspaper. That may sound contrary to the natural whims of a news junkie, who is competing for a master’s degree in Journalism. The bottom line is that I was waking up each morning, grabbing the paper, throwing it on the counter, heading to the computer, checking my e-mails, looking at the stock ticker, scanning the overnight box scores and heading off to work.

And when I came back in the evening? There was the newspaper, now a day old. And who was getting the most benefit? My alley cat, Percy. Guess, I don’t need to tell you how much he appreciated the classified section.

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