Fan Frustration

by

Brent Cannon

I am officially a college football fan. Of course, fan is short for fanatic – and I have entered the world of the fanatics. Now, I do not paint my face, but I do wear my team colors and hang a school flag outside the house on game day.

It has been a long eight months since the college football season last wrapped up. The new season is just around the corner. The anticipation is mounting. I read as much as I can to keep up to date on my team (the Colorado Buffaloes). I watch recent practice video on the web. I e-mail fellow Buffs, and talk about various aspects of the game.

I even take steps to prepare for the season opener. The other day I cued up a DVD of last year’s CU vs. Nebraska game. CU won 65 to 51. But it reminded me of an issue that cropped up several times last year. It not only happened to me, but to many people who tried to enjoy their favorite team on TV. Network coverage – and this can be any network covering multiple games in one afternoon – can drive fans crazy.

If the previous game runs long, you miss the start of your game. You end up watching the score on the banner across the bottom of the screen. Suddenly, you see a score in your game – but you are stuck watching the other game, which has not ended yet. It’ll drive you absolutely mad.

In my case – I had forgotten how the CU/ NU game ended. I knew we won – but couldn’t remember exactly what happened. After rewatching the DVD I knew why. The network cut off the end. CU was in the lead with under two minutes to go. The Texas/ Texas A&M game was about to start – so they cut off the end of my game – and switched to the Texas game. In that final minute or so of the CU game – there were two more scores. That must have been a wild final minute. I will never know. Fans of those two schools never got to see what happened.

Switching – or not switching – depending on which side of the coverage you are on – can come back to bite the network. They can miss a wild finish. They predict the winner and move on – only to have a wild turn of events change the outcome. Not to mention the fact that it seems “unsportsman like” to quit on a game. The teams don’t quit. What if teams said, “Well, there’s only a minute to go. We can’t win. We quit.” That’s not how sports are played. How many last second victories have you seen during your life? Plenty, I bet. What was it I heard the U.S. men’s gymnastics team saying after they won the bronze the other day? “Never give up. Never quit.” That’s the American way. That’s what sports are all about.

I guess making money is bigger to the networks than seeing a game to the end. But it drives fans crazy. I wish fans had a choice. If a network has multiple channels, it would be nice to be able to offer the viewer the option of staying with the coverage – or switching to another channel – no matter what part of the country you are in. It is frustrating to join your game already in progress – or have the end of your game cut off.

Here’s to a new season. I think fans love this time of year because no matter which team you love – right now – anything is possible. Everybody has the same record. Let the games begin!

Brent Cannon
NBC Bay Area Anchor

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