When it comes to TV air time, there is no doubt that the East coast is king. It seems as though every nationally televised game is either a team from New York or a team from Pennsylvania. But why is this? Why does it have to be so lop-sided? Furthermore, what effects does this have on teams from the West coast, especially those at the collegiate level?
I mentioned in a previous post that the main reason West cost teams live in the shadow of East coast teams in terms of TV exposure is the numbers. Just like many things in life, it boils down to money and media outlets like ESPN, CBS, and FOX are all business. The truth remains that the West is outnumber in population and it makes better business sense to cater to the East coast’s larger population.
Showing sports on TV is a business, and one can’t really blame the big networks for showcasing to a bigger market. What usually goes unnoticed, however, is the effects it has on teams out here in the West. I know from personal experience, that the teams you watch on TV when you’re a kid, the teams you’re inundated with on a constant basis, are usually the teams that you fall in love with. This simple fact has tremendous consequences for West coast college teams trying to recruited players from the East.
Take the South Eastern Conference for example. College football is by far the largest sport consumed by Americans via television, and the SEC dominates the airways. This has resulted in an unfair advantage as the SEC continues to attract the top prospects making it much more difficult for other conferences to recruit competitively. Furthermore, this is not a two-way street. Top prospects from the East coast generally don’t make the trip across country to West coast teams, while many top prospects out West head East for the SEC in order to take advantage of the additional exposure.
To me, this is a tragedy and, unfortunately, it has gone unnoticed for far too long. The big networks should work on providing equal opportunity for teams to showcase their abilities on a national stage and provide a more level playing playingfield. Ultimately, this issue needs to be addresses. Otherwise, we risk compromising the integrity of the games we as a country love so dearly. Feel free to leave your comments and let me know if have noticed a bias TV sports coverage as well. What do you think would be fair??