I love college football.
To me, college football is the lifeblood of the Fall, and my life is consumed by it from August to January.
I bleed orange and blue. I keep up with everything Florida Gators football in the offseason so that when it comes time to play, I know everything I possibly can about the players, coaches, the schedule, and how we’re going to dominate this season.
I love college football so much I want it to be my career. I want to live and breathe college football.
With so much speculation as to whether or not big-name teams will have fall sports this year, I have found myself thinking of ways to keep college football fans engaged this season if fall sports are cancelled, which is looking more likely with each passing day.
I wish I was working in the industry right now so that I could share my ideas, I wish I was a part of the Corona-crisis management team, formulating plans for if the unmentionable and pretty much inevitable happens.
College football is a big moneymaker, and ESPN has said that $4 billion in revenue will be lost if the 2020 season is cancelled.
Sports are so important to so many people, and in times of crisis, it provides an escape from reality, but in this 2020 pandemic, that hasn’t been able to be the case.
I think that universities, sports leagues, and broadcast networks need to find a way to keep sports fans engaged in this time, for their sake (finances) and the fans (sanity), so I have a few ideas for them.
My Ideas to Keep Sports Fans Engaged and Teams Funded in 2020:
Broadcast Old Games with New Commentary
My main idea has to do with sports broadcasting if college sports don’t happen. A big chuck of network broadcasting time in the Fall, especially on the weekend, is devoted to both college and professional football, so networks need to find a way to fill that space without losing revenue. My idea is to air past seasons’ football games and have those athletes and coaches analyze the game.
Every football game, really every sporting event, that is broadcasted live on national TV has a group of commentators that analyze the game, providing viewers with stats, background info on the team, and explaining and re-watching plays.
I think it would be so interesting and so engaging to have the athletes who played in that specific game, along with their coach at the time, analyze. They could describe their emotions during the game, why they chose a certain play, and how they encouraged each other. This gives viewers the athlete’s perspective of the game, rather than a third-party commentator.
These games could be as recent as last season, to dating back to 10, 20, or even 30 years ago, with 1-2 players from that years’ team and their coach giving the audience their memories from the game.
The games that are broadcasted could follow the original program’s schedule, with a few substitutions, to stay as true to the 2020 season as possible, just with past games and a new analysis. For instance, the Florida Gators play the Georgia Bulldogs every Halloween weekend, so a past Florida-Georgia game would be aired on Halloween weekend of 2020.
As someone who thoroughly enjoys the commentary of every game and misses it when I’m in the stadium, instead of watching from my TV, I think having new commentary would bring new life to previous games. It would make these athletes more personable by allowing them to explain their emotions and why they threw to a certain player, did a certain dance, pushed a member of the opposing team, really anything that is caught on camera that would give us a different perspective of that game and the athletes who participated.
Televised Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Debates
Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights have been a concern among college athletes for a while now, but have gotten even more heated in the past couple years. My idea is to broadcast NIL Rights debates between the NCAA and current and former players on live TV.
To give you a little background on NIL rights, college athletes do not currently receive any monetary compensation for their participation in sports, just a scholarship to the school that they attend. The NCAA wants college athletes to remain “amateurs,” and thinks that by doing so they are protecting them from the commercial business of sports.
The athletes don’t think that this is enough, which I have begun to understand for many reasons, they don’t have time to take advantage of educational benefits, most athletes only receive partial scholarships, and universities greatly benefit from athletes’ name, image, and likeness while the athlete doesn’t receive anything.
The NCAA passed in October 2019 that they will begin allowing players to sign contracts to benefit monetarily from the commercial use of their image in properties like video games, sponsorships, and merchandise. However, this won’t be put in place in the 2020-21 season and it is unknown when it will be enacted, leaving the NCAA time to go back on their statements.
You can learn more about NIL rights and amateurism here and here
Anyway, I think that the NCAA should conduct live debates with present and past college athletes to hear their perspective of why they think they deserve NIL rights and give their arguments for why they think this is unethical.
Doing so would engage both athletes and fans, while speeding up the decision-making process.
Fans can learn more about NIL rights and form their own opinions. Athletes will feel heard and like their accomplishing something in a time where they can’t play their sport. The NCAA will be able to vocalize their concerns and hear athletes’ opinions. Networks will be able to broadcast these live debates and receive revenue.
I think it’s a win for everyone.
As much as I hope college football will happen this season, I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do, and I’m anxiously awaiting the final decisions as this pandemic continues to alter our nation on a daily basis.
Let me know what you think of these ideas, if you have your own opinions, or if you have any counterarguments, I’d love to hear!