I hope you’re a fan of baseball highlights because that’s about all you’re going to see on ESPN Sportscenter until September. With the NFL and NBA lockouts in full effect and the serious threat of no 2011/2012 seasons for both leagues looming, Total Sports Blog takes a look at life with no professional football and basketball.
Sure the lockouts can end at any moment and their seasons can be saved, but what if it doesn’t happen? What if between August 2011(start of the NFL Pre-season) and June 2012 (end of NBA playoffs) us sports fans are deprived of rim-rattling dunks from Blake Griffin and bone crunching hits by James Harrison? What if the only time we get to see the Manning brothers compete is in an Oreo Cookie commercial? Fortunately there are 8 other professional leagues and 2 amateur sports worth watching set to reap the benefits.
NCAA Football and Men’s Basketball, the NHL, MLB, NASCAR, EPL, MLS, PGA, ATP and even the UFC all stand to benefit from the absence of the NFL and NBA. See this info-graphic that shows how these professional seasons overlap:
The NFL is like a drug and the millions of addicts are going to need something else to get their fix. The start of the EPL season in August may take the edge off a little bit, but it won’t be enough. Sports fans will have to patiently wait until September when college football will be the sports equivalent of Heisenberg’s stuff on AMC’s Breaking Bad. Just wait and see as the NFL fans will be tweaking. “Sunday-Fundays” will be replaced by “Get-up-early-on-Saturday-to-watch-college-football, drink-all-day-and-be-completely-hung-over-Sundays”. Do I care about Michigan vs Western Michigan on September 3rd right now? Hell no. I couldn’t care less about NCAA Football. You take away my NFL Pre-Season though and I’ll be the first person at Duffy’s Pub filling up my yellow mug on that fateful Saturday afternoon.
While David Stern and Roger Goodell are sitting through agonizing meeting after meeting, Gary Bettman of the NHL is licking his chops. When the NHL season gets going in September, Bettman can count on a huge rating and attendance boosts. Hard hits? Check. Speed and skill? Check. Hockey’s got what the avid sports fan needs, and those who haven’t been fans in the past may turn to the ice for their sports entertainment. Stars like Ovechkin and Toews won’t ever fully replace guys like Brady and AP, but they’ll be a fine substitute.
As if it can’t get any bigger, expect NCAA Men’s Basketball to explode without the NBA this November. The talent pool this year is ridiculous. Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger were both #1 NBA draft pick prospects who decided to stick around for another year. Kentucky’s freshman class is the best since Michigan’s Fab Five. Duke vs. UNC are must watch games as both teams have reloaded with stud talent. I could go on, but you get the point. High quality basketball featuring unpaid amateur talent- the NCAA is going to RAKE this year.
Even the less popular leagues should see higher ratings and revenues. Sponsors gotta spend their money somewhere, right? With no football on Sundays, expect televisions to be tuned in to the PGA. No game on? Sure I’ll watch Maria Sharapova smack a fuzzy green ball around for a bit. If I can’t see Ray Lewis decapitate an unlucky receiver coming across the middle, I might as well go to the bar and watch GSP pound someone’s face in. If your wife thinks no NBA or NFL means more quality time she’s sadly mistaken. We need sports. We fiend for it. We’ll find something else.