American idol has hockey singing the blues
Monday, June 2, 2003
In a world dominated by reality television programs based on plot twists, a feel-good-nonfiction-sports story is king. Networks are introducing a new reality television show every week and Americans are gobbling them up. So why isn't anyone watching the Stanley Cup playoffs?
This year the programs that have dominated hockey in ratings, according to Nielsen Media Research: "American Idol" averaged a 14.1; "The Bachelor" 9.6; and "Survivor: Thailand" 12.1.
Of course, each of these programs and the NHL don't appeal to nearly the same audience, although I would like to see some of the people who watch Survivor get laid out by a Scott Stevens cross check. But the NHL isn't anywhere close, averaging an infomercial-like 1.6 on Saturdays.
Because drama sells.
Americans can get all the suspense and drama they need packed into an hour of Survivor rather than a three-hour telecast of a hockey game. For the same reason the average American couldn't name the starting goaltender for the New Jersey Devils, but he or she could tell you who won Amercian Idol.
Now NHL commish Gary Bettman wants to find new ways to excite fans and appeal to newer audiences. Changing the game to heighten the excitement is not a good answer because fans don't buy that either.
Just ask the XFL.
There is plenty of excitement coming up in your baseball-filled Week Ahead:
The first 25,000 fans age 16 and over will receive a Cardinals cap from SBC as part of an obvious theme night. SBC is international, intercoastal, and intercontinental. Are you picking up a pattern here? The Cards and Orioles are playing in an interleague game at 7:10 p.m., part of six-game interleague home stand.
David Wilson is a sports writer for the Southeast MIssourian and a student at Central High School. His column "The Week Ahead" appears every Monday.