So ... it’s the Sunday after the Super Bowl. I’m sitting at home with the TV on.
If you’re a sports fan sitting at home on the Sunday after the Super Bowl, you probably know what’s coming. There’s nothing on TV.
There’s a smattering of college basketball games. Reality shows that all look alike. Some auto racing. And Deal or No Deal, the empty-headed game show that just won’t die.
As I clicked through the channels, I came across a football game between the Arizona somethings and the Salt Lake somethings. This is the AAF — the Alliance of American Football — the latest attempt to get a new pro football league started.
The uniforms are colorful, the rules are different and the referees are dressed like they’re wearing bullet-proof vests. The players are (mostly) not quite good enough to play in the NFL and the host cities are (mostly) not quite big enough to get an NFL team.
But it’s football, and American sports fans can’t seem to get enough of football, which is what organizers are banking on.
Latest Line, the daily odds-making service that runs on our Names and Numbers page, offered odds on the AAF’s weekend games. I chuckled when I saw that — who could possibly know enough about these teams to make an educated wager? — and I didn’t run them. But should I have?
This is a question we always face when a new sport or league comes around. How do you know whether readers are interested?
I’m sure if I offered coverage of the CFL, NBA development league, Web.com golf, indoor lacrosse or Australian Rules Football, somebody, somewhere would like it. But every inch taken up by that coverage crowds out stories about sports that appeal to the general public as a whole.
Please note TV’s approach to this. They give you gobs and gobs of the sports events that have a general appeal. Which means wall-to-wall college basketball on winter Saturdays and non-stop football on fall weekends.
The new sports or leagues show up when there are empty spots to fill, like this past Sunday. Some of these, like the XFL, make a quick exit. Others hang around and are harder to figure out.
Mixed martial arts, for instance, does extremely well with the “coveted” 18-to-34 male demographic, but I’ve heard from few, if any, readers asking for coverage. And the fact that their big events are held late at night on Saturdays, after our deadlines, makes it difficult to satisfy any demand that’s out there.
If I were to go outside the box, I might do more with European soccer. The TV ratings on that are surprisingly good, considering that it’s shown in morning and early afternoon slots in the Eastern time zone.
For now, I think we’ll stick with running just the AAF standings. If someone really, really wants those odds in the paper, drop me an email. I promise to withhold my opinion about your betting habits.
I lasted a quarter and a half with that AAF game on Sunday. The novelty kept me watching for a while, and football is football, though some of the rule differences didn’t work for me (I understand the reasons for not having kickoffs, but it still seems like something is missing).
I eventually lost interest and ended up switching over to — I cannot believe I’m admitting this — Deal or No Deal.