Watch yourself ESPN, another challenger to your reign as the worldwide leader is coming down the pipe. Oh and NBC is offering a bunch of soccer. Suggestions for both...
Fox Sports 1 Is (Almost) on the Air
Fox Sports 1 is paying a buck and taking its chance to slug it out with the monolith that is the ESPN family. Fox has offered regional programming plus MLB, and National College Football broadcasts. Now they are offering what they say is an ESPN equivalent. Both sides have been accumulating talent for the pending ratings war with ESPN nabbing Jason Whitlock in a recent deal. Now everything is down to Saturday's launch.
Editorial note I dislike ESPN passionately. I am actively rooting for FS1. Enthusiastically rooting for them. I want you to compete Fox Sports 1, here's how.
Just Show Me Highlights
I don't need Steve Carrell introducing the Top 10 plays of the day, I don't need Will Ferrell doing Harry Caray doing Cubs highlights. I don't need Stewart Scott. At all. Especially not Stewart Scott doing spoken word, karate, or in MMA gear. Yes all those things have happened. I want highlights and commentary. I don't need a month of Tebow coverage or a daily RGIII vs. Shanahan panel. Just freaking highlights.
Tell Me Where You Are
FS1 is taking over the Speed Channel. Quick, what number is Speed Channel? Right, no one knows. Tell me. Put it on a billboard or on an ad. Saturate and carpet bomb me with it. Do a take off of the old Apple Computer giant computer screen face/1984 ad and tell me how Fox Sports 1 is going to change my life at channel ____. Hire Laurence Fishburn and have him ask me to take the red pill and go down the rabbit hole at channel ___. Bottom line, we're all drones and we act out of habit. When I get home my thumb instinctively pushed 2-0-6 on my remote. You have to reprogram me. Help me help you.
Limit Erin Andrews
You know what's interesting about Erin Andrews? Nothing. She's eye candy, great in small doses. Now she's hosting your College Gameday challenger, which should be called "College Gameday Sans Kenny Chesney & Cowboy Troy." I like the rest of your lineup - Clay Travis, Joel Klatt, Eddie George, and Petros Papadakis but Erin hasn't shown the ability to run one of these shows yet. I'm open to being proved wrong, but I don't think it's a fit. She cut her teeth as a sideline reporter, small tidbits in small doses. You're gambling FS1 and I don't like your odds.
Let's get some gimmicks going, errr, signature events. Like ESPN's Big Monday, Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Football, and Bi-Monthly sexual harassment lawsuits. How about PAC 12 Saturday Night? You know, set in a beautiful pacific coast vista, two teams, tons of points, endless uniform combinations, and no chance of competing against the SEC. What about ACC Tuesday Nights with whip around coverage of big ACC games? This last one is free and it WILL work: A 24/7 rip-off that follows two college teams a week as they prep for each other and the big PAC 12 Saturday Night game. Show it the following Tuesday. We could watch Lane Kiffin mishandle talent for a full week! We could see if Todd Graham lasts a full week without taking another job. I'd watch.
Scoreless Ties and Overpaid Uruguayans on NBC
Last Spring NBC spent $250 million to acquire the rights to the English Premier League. Still think America isn't going to be a soccer nation? Still think the NFL is king forever? Put down the meth pipe. Soccer is here and it's growing. For real this time. NBC will show every EPL game either online or through one of its NBC affiliates. Need more of a fix? How about the rest of the EPL lineup - Premier League Countdown, Premier League Download, Premier League 36,
Premier League Goal Zone, Match of the Day, Match of the Day 2, Barclays
Premier League World, Barclays Premier League Preview and Barclays
Premier League Review. That's alotta soccer. Now, let's go from good to great with a few minor suggestions.
Don't Treat Us Like Idiots
Tempting though it may be, US soccer fans aren't dumb, OK most aren't, don't treat us like we are. No need to explain rules like "no hands" or make the soccer ball glow or shoot fire. Limit your references to the Queen, high tea, and the Beatles. Just present the games. Make those who aren't knowledgeable catch up. Otherwise you'll lose your necessary core of fans.
The English Game Presented by Englishmen
The less Eric Wynalda or Alexi Lallas the better. Give us those beautiful English accents, where they mispronounce garage and aluminum. Mix in a Scot for crying out loud. Kilted if possible. Observe the excellence of Martin Tyler.
Mic' the Stands
The EPL is atmosphere. And while the influx of foreign owners and giant stadiums has hurt that atmosphere, the singing and chanting is unique to American fans. Play that up. Mic' the stands so we can here about Spurs Marching In or The Hammer's fans Blowing Bubbles, or how Aston Villa is a small club is Scotland. The commentary can wain while the ball is kicked backwards a dozen times before being lumped forward. Give us chanting, cussing, and wanker signs.
There you go, a few suggestions to help Fox Sports 1 and NBC's premier coverage survive and thrive. Either way, I'll be watching and hoping both succeed. Anything for less Stewart Scott.