Thursday, June 23, 2016

The Summer Slowdown

With the NBA season over and the NFL’s first regular season game not scheduled until September 8, sports fans are facing a long summer.

Baseball, tennis, and golf can occasionally work as a stop-gap. The conclusions of both the Copa America and UEFA European Championships will also provide some diversion for those with an interest. And of course the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil, set to play out from August 5-21, will be welcomed by sports fans, too.

But for the majority of sports fans -- in the U.S., at least -- these are the super-slow months, with none of these options necessarily presenting too much that tempts.

Meanwhile the World Series of Poker continues. Poker fans are already following what’s happening out in Las Vegas this summer via updates and the various reporting sites. But once again -- as I’ve thought before right around this time of year -- it seems like there’s an opportunity perhaps being missed.

I mentioned yesterday how I’ve dipped into the live streams now and then on WSOP.com this summer and have been impressed, particularly with the stud games where they’ve discovered a method to handle the graphics in what seems to me a viewer-friendly way.

I don’t really think any of these preliminary events necessarily warrant a larger platform, although I found myself imagining half-hour recaps of key final table moments being shown on one of the many sports networks. WSOP.com is already doing something similar at times when showing highlights/bustout hands from past final tables while waiting for a new stream to begin.

I do think, though, that ESPN could well do something with the Main Event in July to fill a week’s worth of otherwise slow summer nights, sports-wise.

I know there’s the long-standing argument that ESPN wants to avoid potentially affecting viewership negatively for the weekly edited shows -- that tend to air opposite NFL games, actually -- by showing Main Event coverage in July. If memory serves, 2011 was the only year they did try some July shows from the Main Event, to mixed reviews.

Unfortunately, not only won’t there be anything like that on ESPN in July, but there won’t even be any live streaming of the Main Event either. Ah well... there will probably a baseball game on somewhere.

Image: “Blue Skies & Hot Sun” (adapted), Michele Frazier. CC BY 2.0.

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