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 didn't care if the NHL lost the season..... let's pick this apart, shall we?
  •'s hockey coverage is not great, so why would hockey fans (who presumably care about the season) go to 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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