Fans will get a big dose of late-night Wolf Pack football
April 17, 2014
Sports fodder for a Friday morning… CBS television has Late Night with David Letterman. NBC has the Tonight Show. Northern Nevada has Wolf Pack football. Get ready for Late Night with Brian Polian, Pack fans. Wolf Pack football has turned into a late night television show. Five Wolf Pack football games — four at home against Washington State, Colorado State, San Diego State and Boise State — are already scheduled for 7:30 p.m. kickoffs this fall. Get used to it. Coaches love the bonus they receive in their already inflated paychecks and conference commissioners and school athletic directors love the television revenue. Attendance at college football games simply doesn't matter anymore. It won't be long before college football games on TV use a "cheering" track the way TV sit-coms use a laugh track.
Late night college football games are designed for a very specific live audience. It's basically the same fun-loving crowd that dresses up like Santa in December and walks up and down Virginia Street with an adult beverage in their hands. Families with young children don't go to late night games in large numbers because well, let's just say that Mackay Stadium isn't exactly a wholesome family atmosphere at night. Older fans are more likely to stay home because the living room couch watching the game on TV is a much more enticing option than sitting next to the Santa Pub Crawl crowd and freezing in the stands as the clock approaches midnight. Late night college football on TV is simply about lining the pockets of the athletic directors and coaches.
The athletic directors and coaches will tell you that college football on late night TV is about all the great exposure it gives their university. Don't buy it. ESPN, which has more cable stations than programming, and the CBS Sports Network simply need something other than bass fishing and poker contests to put on the air. Who, exactly, is watching a San Jose State-Nevada football game? A Washington State-Nevada football game? Colorado State-Nevada? San Diego State-Nevada? Boise State-Nevada doesn't even have the same appeal it once did. Don't forget that these games are starting at 9:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. everywhere east of Denver. Late night games also destroy local media coverage. So what exposure, exactly, do these late night TV games generate for the schools?
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