Friday, February 04, 2005

Do I still care about what sports fans care about caring?

Since I've gotten old(er), it's not too often that I care much about sports. If I watch a minute of the superbowl this Sunday it will be because my friends are getting together for a beer. I don't even know who the Eagles are playing against.

I'll watch a basketball game now and then, and I do enjoy a good hockey game from time to time, but I've outgrown my 17-year-old passion for sports.

It's just kinda dumb, really.

But I stumbled upon this little thing, and I became mildly perturbed.

I see that ESPN is getting into (or perhaps has been in for a while) the game of misrepresentation. So 73% of Americans polled on ESPN.com didn't care if the NHL lost the season..... let's pick this apart, shall we?
  • ESPN.com's hockey coverage is not great, so why would hockey fans (who presumably care about the season) go to ESPN.com for their coverage? It was a jaded sample to begin with.
  • Look at the states with successful hockey teams - Michigan, 42% cared about the season; Colorado, 38%; Pennsylvania, 36%. Think caring about the NHL has something to do with a) having a team nearby and b) having that team do well? Maybe.... I'd like to see how much people in Atlanta would miss the Hawks, for example.
  • 73% of the total population (but from a jaded sample, we agree) still leaves 27% of those interested in the NHL. That's about 70 million people who like the sport. I'm no marketing or management guru, but I think the team owners can make the league work if 70 million US citizens care about the sport.
  • Finally, the way it was represented - with that two-toned map - was just flat-out dumb. A better, more accurate, and more fair way to make a map of that sort of thing is to gradually shade the colors: dark red for the states who really don't care, light red for those who are of a more concerned mind.

That sort of thing just drives me nuts.

While I enjoy picking on media outlets, I sure hope I never blog about ESPN again.

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