SBJ/August 6-12, 2012/Opinion
GM’s drama, NFL’s draw and NBC’s Olympic love
Published August 6, 2012, Page 24
We all know the NFL’s offseason has been filled with controversy. But early numbers portend that fans aren’t turned off. The Patriots opened training camp July 26 with more than 12,000 in attendance in Foxboro. For practice. That easily marks a single-session record, and is a far cry from when I’d sit on a hill overlooking football fields at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst to watch the hapless team run drills in the early 1970s. But it’s not just in New England — look around at some other numbers: A record crowd estimated at 14,500 attended the NFL Cardinals’ practice in Flagstaff, Ariz. An estimated 10,000 to 15,000 attended the Bears’ first padded practice of training camp in Bourbonnais, Ill. A record crowd of 5,715, a sellout, attended the Texans’ practice at the team’s Methodist Training Center. Each of the team’s practices opened to the fans were sold out. What does this tell us? There is an unquenchable desire for fans to be close to the NFL, for getting inside the game and having access to players, coaches and “the action.” With many revenue streams mature, teams have to try to monetize this not just through on-site opportunities but also digital programming.
My window to the Olympics always starts with the “Today” show. In monitoring news coverage at SportsBusiness Daily, we see “Today” morph into a two-week infomercial for the Olympic Movement every two years. It’s flag-waving (U.S. only) and cheerleading at its core. I am not being negative; I find parts of it interesting and informative, but more of it mind-numbing and cringe-worthy. But give them credit: NBC doesn’t go through the motions or fake it. Nary a negative word is ever said, and it is obvious that Matt Lauer and cohorts really love the Games. NBC and its talent team are “all in,” and I kept thinking how this surely made a difference when the company made its successful bid to IOC officials last year in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Summer fun: Roger Waters’ “The Wall” performance was a highlight. Great theatrics and sound. Yes, I know it should be with the vocals for the 68-year-old Waters clearly piped in at times. … I’m enjoying HBO’s “The Newsroom.” It is well-acted, especially Jeff Daniels as anchor Will McAvoy and Emily Mortimer as producer Mackenzie MacHale. Some feel it’s too preachy and heavy-handed. If you’ve been watching, what do you think?
Abraham D. Madkour can be reached at email@example.com.