Imbalance in Sports Media Unfairly Promotes Football

The NFL, college football disproportionately shown on TV while NHL, NBA, MLB are snubbed

      How many of you know who Connor McDavid is? How many of you know who Tom Brady is? Probably more for Tom Brady. Why do you think that is? Well, it likely has something to do with the amount of marketing that each receives, specifically on major sports networks like ESPN. Before the NFL Draft, all of their marketing and programs focused on that instead of the NBA playoffs. That played a part in the NFL Draft having 5.03 million viewers while also being on ABC (over-the air), and the Timberwolves-Grizzlies game had 3.47 million viewers on ESPN. While the coverage was preempted, there was no need for ABC and ESPN to both air the draft. 

      I’m not blaming the leagues here. This falls on the sports networks. They need to expose all of the sports to the nation, since ESPN is “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.” The problem is, these networks are not doing that. They are shoving aside hockey, basketball and baseball to focus on the “big guns”, the NFL and college football. Take the NHL for example. If you look at the ESPN and ABC TV schedules for this year, you’ll find that there were only 25 NHL games on. 25. Out of over 1300 games played. That’s less than one game a week. College football, while it does have more teams, has anywhere from five to seven games a week on ESPN and ABC. That’s a big difference.

     There’s also studio shows and coverage. The NFL and NBA have shows every weekday, which may seem equal. However, the NBA show concludes at the end of the season, while the NFL one continues throughout the offseason. See the difference? The NHL has one studio show a week. One. It doesn’t even air on ESPN. It airs on ESPN2. The MLB doesn’t even have a studio show anymore. 

      Another big difference is the staff size. ESPN has 18 people listed as NHL staff, and 16 of them are broadcasters. The NFL has 56 staff members, including one writer for each team. The team ratio in the NHL is 16 teams to 1 writer. The NFL ratio is 1.75 reporters per team. That’s a huge difference. The NBA only has 13 writers for all 30 teams, in addition to the 30 broadcasters. The MLB has 12 total staffers including broadcasters. 

      Now, I’m not arguing that they should be like The Athletic, who have at least one writer for every team, but lose millions of dollars every year ($41 million last year). I’m just saying that ESPN needs to have more well-rounded coverage of all sports.