Media Sportswatch: September 2017

Joel Bulkley

Hurricanes are topic A but football isn’t far behind.

The ACC season started with both a flourish and a thud. The day Florida State/Alabama game drew monster TV ratings (12.33M viewers, highest since 1996), Mike McIntire’s report in the New York Times on academic favoritism for FSU football players in online hospitality course in 2013 was published. The whistleblower, a teaching assistant, lost her job. Mc­In­tire’s new book “Champions Way—Football, Florida and the Lost Soul of Football” didn’t get much ink in this area.

TV ratings for weekend ACC games were underwhelming: Tenn./GTech 5.26M, WVA/VaTech 4.65M, Purdue/Louisville 1.792M, Temple/NDame1.58M, the lowest for a Notre Dame game on NBC since 2011.

Credit to JJ Watt, Kelvin Sampson and many, many others for taking the lead in helping their neighbors in the aftermath of Harvey with either financial support, clothing donations or memorable good deeds.

Credit to major U.S. dailies for allowing free digital access for hurricane coverage.

Credit to CBS Sports for series of stories called Candid Coaches, developed after interviewing more than 100 basketball coaches at all levels anonymously during summer recruiting period. Many of the questions had local implications like possible 2018 MVPs, whether the NCAA will revoke titles at Louisville or UNC, and best basketball officials.

Results for best officials—Roger Ayers 21 percent, Mike Eades 17, Ted Valentine 15, primarily ACC. Three tied for fourth place with 7 percent. They were from PAC 12, Big 12, Big East. Officials in Big 10 were deemed the weakest, according to survey.

In an espn.com pre-season poll on CFB fan happiness, Ohio State was first, FSU second, Louisville fourth, Clemson eighth. App State was 10 (described as elated), NC State 35, UNC 42 (content), Duke 44, Wake Forest 69, Notre Dame 75, ECU 105 (distraught), Virginia 110.

No credit to the N&O for no longer covering local high school games. The editor said the paper’s priorities will be “less spinach” and more reader-friendly coverage. Their website isn’t much help either.

What they’ve done is drive readers to highschoolOT.com (wral.com) for scores and stories no longer provided by Dur­ham and Raleigh papers.

Meanwhile, the sports section continues to struggle with TV listings. They left out US/Honduras WC qualifier again last week; the week before listings just stopped in middle of daytime college football games on TV. The same listings normally run in both papers.

The Durham paper resumed daily public events listings on page 3 but some like state park hikes and outdoor programs require pre-registration and are full before info gets in paper.

Technology. The UNC/Old Dominion football game is ex­pected to be streamed by Stadium TV Network on Twitter. Wildlife in NC, probably the best looking magazine around, started a digital edition. Cost is $10 for a year (8 issues); $12 for print edition. Get both for $15.

Did you watch US Open highlights on the tournament website? They were compiled by Watson, an IBM computer with artificial intelligence, based on visual and audio information from matches and looked stunning.

Disney said it will start streaming all its new film releases from Star Wars” to Marvel on new movie and TV pay service in late 2019, while sports programming (non ESPN platform content) may come a la carte as early as next spring. Games in non-traditional sports are the most likely candidates.

“Kid Sports Inc.” in Time detailed how your child’s rec league turned into a $15 billion industry with travel teams, individual instruction, fancy equipment and training in the longshot hope of landing a college scholarship or a pro contract.

Indy Week’s “Campus Guide” handbook provided some useful information for newcomers and old timers but was distributed before new college students arrived in town. Their 9 Big Events section includes a bunch that take place next spring or later and dates weren’t listed.

Nine in ten sports fans say NFL brain injuries are a problem, but 74 percent are still football fans, according to Wash­ington Post/UMass/Lowell survey. Anyway, football seems as popular as ever despite head injuries and other concerns though TV ratings for opener were down sharply.

Steve Logan’s football talk is back on Triangle airways (Fri­day 4 p.m., Saturday 10-12 noon, 99.9FM, Sunday 11 a.m., Channel 5, 99.9).