Bowl games have lost all their meaning

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

3 January 2011

They only exist to make money

The television ratings for the college football bowl games played so far are down, and that’s no surprise. While analysts are convinced it’s because most of the bowl games are on ESPN instead of the major broadcast networks now, that’s only is small part of the story.

For one thing, ESPN reaches nearly 100 million households in the U.S., which leaves only about 14 million households without a way to watch ESPN.

“Now, it’s just a land grab for money and don’t be surprised if more meaningless bowl games are added in the future.”

But there is another, more important reason for the downshift in the ratings: Nobody cares.

bowl gamesThat is a brand issue because with the considerable number of bowl games – with names like the Outback Bowl, the uDrove Humanitarian Bowl, the Beef O’ Brady Bowl, the AdvoCare V100 Independence Bowl, etc. – they have lost their meaning. We, as an audience, have no idea to their significance. The only one with any meaning is the BSC championship game, which won’t be played until next week.

There are now 35 bowl games, matchups between a whopping 70 teams, with absolutely nothing at stake. Oh, there’s money involved and the reputations of the coaches, but little for the viewer. The only ones who care are the alumni of the individual teams and those involved directly with the bowl itself.

The bowl season has reached a ridiculous, completely meaningless stage. It used to be, of course, that there were only a few bowl games, all broadcast on New Year’s Day, and we understood what they meant: The Rose Bowl was the Pac-10 champion vs. the Big 10 champion, and so on.

Now, it’s just a land grab for money and don’t be surprised if more meaningless bowl games are added in the future.

Of course, the way out of this quagmire is to establish a playoff system because then the games would have meaning for the viewer. That’s where the power of any brand always comes from: It’s meaning. Without it, audiences have no reason to care.

See more posts in the following related categories: Bowl games Bowl Season Brand meaning College Football


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