As sports fans struggle during the coronavirus pandemic to find TV programming to keep them entertained, networks will face the opposite dilemma once professional sports leagues resume.
Golf readjusted its schedule Monday. The British Open was canceled. The PGA Championship, as announced previously, will be Aug. 6-9 in San Francisco.
What’s interesting are the new dates for the U.S. Open (Sept. 17-20) and the Masters (Nov. 12-15). Those events are televised by Fox and CBS, respectively, and both networks have Sunday afternoon NFL games, which provide the most-watched sports inventory in the country体彩app官方网站.
Of course, all of this is contingent on the sports world as we used to know it resuming normal activity. As Masters chairman Fred Ridley put it in announcing the date change, “We want to emphasize that our future plans are incumbent upon favorable counsel and direction from health officials.”
The NFL schedule hasn’t been released, and, unlike most years, won’t be until after the draft scheduled for April 23-25. (May 9 at the latest, the league says.) What was announced Monday certainly will have an impact on how pro football is presented those weekends.
What seems logical to me is for the final round (Sunday) of both tournaments to be played earlier in the day, ending by 4 p.m. Because of weather concerns, the Masters telecast last year on CBS began at 9 a.m., and play concluded at 2:37 p.m. It’s not ideal, but there won’t be enough light in November at Augusta National for a traditional 7 p.m. finish.
If the golf entities cooperate, Fox could air NFL in the late (4:05 or 4:25 p.m.) window on Sept. 20, after its golf coverage, and CBS could do the same Nov. 15. The NFL is capable of those concessions.
That’s just the beginning of what’s liable to happen once pro leagues and NCAA sports resume operation.
It will be an embarrassment of riches if sports are afforded a return to normalcy by late summer.
“I will be blessed when it all comes back," NBC Sports executive producer Sam Flood said. "It’s going to be a complicated process, but we are ready for whatever eventuality comes our way. You’re going to have overlapping sports that have never overlapped before if things come back this fall, but we have (broadcast) teams ready to go.”
Major League Baseball already has talked about extending its regular season at least through the end of October to get as many games as possible. That would push the postseason into November, creating more potential conflicts with the NFL.
College体彩app官方网站 football, should it start on time, may find it harder to get important games the peak exposure they deserve. Fox may have to do some juggling on U.S. Open week, and CBS will be in the same situation during the Masters. That doesn’t even address the PGA Tour playoffs, which now have been pushed back a week and will conclude on Labor Day weekend.
Add to that the uncertain status of the NBA and NHL. Both leagues want to resume their 2019-20 seasons at some point. If those extend into July, and with an overflowing inventory of other sports stacked up in the fall, will those leagues push back the start of the 体彩app官方网站-21 seasons?
Don’t forget, the college basketball regular season begins the second week of November. Will there be room for that on the sports TV landscape?
The good news for the viewer is that at some point these sports will be back in operation, and there will be a lot more options than there are now.
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