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USA Today article "Wrestling needs to rethink its calendar "

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I see another NCAA premier event competing for tv air time, rather than baseball. Totally different fanbase. Better to step around march madness and accommodate the real fanbase for wrestling, when they aren't distracted by high school tournaments.

 

I agree. I don't know many folks who are itching to watch opening day of baseball, and if they are, it is not the all weekend time grab that March Madness is. Even if they do, how does that take away from Saturday night being NCAA Wrestling finals night. March Madness is the absolute worst time to try & get attention for the sport. People who don't even follow basketball are watching basketball...MLB is not even close in that discussion.

 

Sounds like this is all a moot point either way.

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I worked on a sports desk for eight years at a Tribune-owned daily newspaper and I can attest to how mainstream media works first hand -- when baseball season arrives, resources are thinned.

 

You have reources thinned from a coverage standpoint. It's also that crossover portion of the season. There is more to media coverage than ESPN. Baseball, while apparently not interesting to people on this board, is a giant coverage-suck in terms of resources to promote and cover the event. Moreso than tournament basketball.

 

Trust me on this ... I've seen it first hard. You might have a hard time believing it, but it is a fact.

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I worked on a sports desk for eight years at a Tribune-owned daily newspaper and I can attest to how mainstream media works first hand -- when baseball season arrives, resources are thinned.

 

You have reources thinned from a coverage standpoint. It's also that crossover portion of the season. There is more to media coverage than ESPN. Baseball, while apparently not interesting to people on this board, is a giant coverage-suck in terms of resources to promote and cover the event. Moreso than tournament basketball.

 

Trust me on this ... I've seen it first hard. You might have a hard time believing it, but it is a fact.

This is why I think this weekend, just before Cruck, Gammons, etc get completely giddy and weekend after 48 BB games (3/4 of march madness games completed), has an opening for ESPN to incorporate live championship coverage to supliment MLB preseason features and analysis of MBB (that is carried on competing networks). Is ESPN carrying other live championship coverage this weekend? Frozen Four? Happens in 2 weeks. Gymnastics? Both M and W are 3 weekends away. They are avoiding both march madness (completely) and MLB opening week, and each other.

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I worked on a sports desk for eight years at a Tribune-owned daily newspaper and I can attest to how mainstream media works first hand -- when baseball season arrives, resources are thinned.

 

You have reources thinned from a coverage standpoint. It's also that crossover portion of the season. There is more to media coverage than ESPN. Baseball, while apparently not interesting to people on this board, is a giant coverage-suck in terms of resources to promote and cover the event. Moreso than tournament basketball.

 

Trust me on this ... I've seen it first hard. You might have a hard time believing it, but it is a fact.

 

JB, with the media experience you have, I'm interested in your viewpoint. Do you personally think the NCAA's (i.e. college wrestling season) is at the optimal time? Or if you could change it, where would you place it?

 

My only argument against baseball is that popularity seems to be declining in baseball and wrestling doesn't have much crossover with the sport in terms of fan base, at least compared to football. Baseball really isn't very interesting until the post-season.

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Tirapelli:

 

MLB is slipping in comparison to NFL, CFB, and maybe NBA, but that is a function of those experiencing an explosion of interest (somewhat media driven and promoted). The Dodgers, by themselves, alone, just signed a $7 billion media deal. Yankees may be close to the most valuable sports property in the world.

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Tirapelli:

 

MLB is slipping in comparison to NFL, CFB, and maybe NBA, but that is a function of those experiencing an explosion of interest (somewhat media driven and promoted). The Dodgers, by themselves, alone, just signed a $7 billion media deal. Yankees may be close to the most valuable sports property in the world.

 

MLB isn't slipping at all. ESPN just ran an article regarding the fact that MLB teams overall have gained an incredible amount of value over the past five years in spite of the economy. There is a perception among non-baseball fans that it is slipping because there are not tons of games on the major networks. The reason for this is that baseball has gone regional - each team essentially has its own cable channel (in most cases a Fox Sports affiliate) that broadcasts nearly every one of its games. Additionally, MLB Network broadcasts tons of games. And if you don't think people are watching those games, well, you're wrong. More people watch (or listen to) the Cubs lose on any given Sunday afternoon than have ever watched any NCAA wrestling tournament. Further, unlike the NFL, MLB is popular in a number of countries outside the US. Wrestling could learn a lot from the people who market baseball.

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I worked on a sports desk for eight years at a Tribune-owned daily newspaper and I can attest to how mainstream media works first hand -- when baseball season arrives, resources are thinned.

 

You have reources thinned from a coverage standpoint. It's also that crossover portion of the season. There is more to media coverage than ESPN. Baseball, while apparently not interesting to people on this board, is a giant coverage-suck in terms of resources to promote and cover the event. Moreso than tournament basketball.

 

Trust me on this ... I've seen it first hard. You might have a hard time believing it, but it is a fact.

 

JB, with the media experience you have, I'm interested in your viewpoint. Do you personally think the NCAA's (i.e. college wrestling season) is at the optimal time? Or if you could change it, where would you place it?

 

My only argument against baseball is that popularity seems to be declining in baseball and wrestling doesn't have much crossover with the sport in terms of fan base, at least compared to football. Baseball really isn't very interesting until the post-season.

 

 

I think his point is that even if there is not much fan crossover, the media resources that are used to cover the tournament for, say, ESPN, are not going to be there once baseball season opens. Wrestling is on ESPN right now because CBS has March Madness locked down and baseball (which ESPN devotes enormous coverage resources to) doesn't start until April. The value of the tournament for ESPN (as a way of competing for eyeballs with CBS) goes down dramatically once MLB opens.

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DocRevue:

 

Nailed it. We won't leverage coverage based on popularity. We might, however, become more "popular" if we are able to fill what to me looks like a media window begging for valuable (championship) inventory. ESPN has the tournament for more than the next decade. Lets make it of more value to them (simply by moving back to second week of march madness).

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Avoid MARCH all together and make NCAA Wrestling the "Event"...The Dual team championship is a wash and starting in January will push things deep into March if not April...If the NCAA Champions or coaches attending High school tournaments...Being a distraction is also not true...Who would be recruiting who???

 

P.S. If wrestling is dead in November and December...It's DEAD!!!

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I worked on a sports desk for eight years at a Tribune-owned daily newspaper and I can attest to how mainstream media works first hand -- when baseball season arrives, resources are thinned.

 

You have reources thinned from a coverage standpoint. It's also that crossover portion of the season. There is more to media coverage than ESPN. Baseball, while apparently not interesting to people on this board, is a giant coverage-suck in terms of resources to promote and cover the event. Moreso than tournament basketball.

 

Trust me on this ... I've seen it first hard. You might have a hard time believing it, but it is a fact.

 

 

I, like Adam, would be interested in JB's opinion on an "optimal" time.

 

JB ?

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If I remember wrestling was ready to change its calendar about three years ago but the proposal was squelched by the D3 institutions. Extending the season for non scholarship athletes at that level was just asking to much. Lets face it coaches would find ways to get the season started just as early as they start now. It is my opinion that the season is just fine where it is at. Interest in the tournament is at an all time high and getting higher each year. Lets leave well enough alone and concentrate on getting T9 fixed.

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If I remember wrestling was ready to change its calendar about three years ago but the proposal was squelched by the D3 institutions. Extending the season for non scholarship athletes at that level was just asking to much. Lets face it coaches would find ways to get the season started just as early as they start now. It is my opinion that the season is just fine where it is at. Interest in the tournament is at an all time high and getting higher each year. Lets leave well enough alone and concentrate on getting T9 fixed.

Good idea. Lets concentrate on what has stood (and arguably gotten stronger) for over four decades, and not bother trying to raise our visibility. :roll:

 

I do agree that the season doesn't need major adjustment. Simply moving D1 finals to second week of march madness would give far greater visibility. ESPN would benefit also, a good ally to have working with you.

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If I remember wrestling was ready to change its calendar about three years ago but the proposal was squelched by the D3 institutions. Extending the season for non scholarship athletes at that level was just asking to much.

 

I didn't hear this, and I don't understand it. What do D3 institutions have to do with when the DI championship is held?

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If I remember wrestling was ready to change its calendar about three years ago but the proposal was squelched by the D3 institutions. Extending the season for non scholarship athletes at that level was just asking to much.

 

I didn't hear this, and I don't understand it. What do D3 institutions have to do with when the DI championship is held?

 

The proposal was to move the whole season (all divisions). Even moving the season just a few weeks for just Div I would have some impact on the timing of open events where the divisions meet. Not sure it would be a deal breaker but ...

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I'm curious as to why the discussion has moved towards exposure and seems to be leaving behind what is best for the student-athletes. What makes most sense for ALL collegiate wrestlers, move the sport to one semester or remain at two semesters? Personally, I think that allowing the guys a full semester to focus on academics, especially freshmen, helps everyone across the board.

 

Beyond all of that, now that basketball has slipped into April in the past few years and rivals baseball's opening day for coverage at that time, here are some other dates to be cognizant of for that month:

 

NBA Playoffs begin the third weekend in April

The NFL Draft takes place the fourth weekend (Thursday start with first round) in April

NHL Playoffs begin the last week in April

 

In terms of the NCAA, after basketball the only championships to "compete" with in April are men's gymnastics, but it's a small window between the finals of NCAA basketball and the start of the NBA playoffs.

 

As one person, I'd like to see the season "officially" begin practices some time in mid-November and competition beginning the third Saturday in December, when most all universities that support wrestling on the Division I level have completed final exams. December, January and February can serve as open tournament time with Late-February and March transitioning into the dual portion of the schedule.

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Tofrurky:

 

NCAA championships to go in the next month MBB, WBB, MGym, WGym, Frozen Four. We are nearing midway of college baseball (increased importance of conference play), MLB begins this week, Masters approaching, major tennis events coming. I advocate not changing the season at all, with the exception of moving D1 finals to the second week of march madness. This drops the number of competing BB games by 75% and also avoids doubling up THE championship finals in two NCAA sports in the same weekend. There may be other tweaks that some advocate, but this single event moving would provide the greatest return with least disruption.

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It also may enable some separation between championship events. If we're two weeks shifted, then we wouldn't have the issue of 9 Division I qualifiers and a D2 championship the same weekend, making higher rated officials more available for a national championship.

 

I favor a one-semester sport starting in January with those opens still available, but not starting until Dec. 1 vs. Nov. 1. Obviously, CKLV and scored events early on will be impacted. If there is no "change" in season, I don't have an issue with bumping it back, but the calendar is a funny thing. Sometimes it works in your favor, sometimes it doesn't.

 

If we move the season back at all, i think it has to be across all levels. I'm not a fan of making one group of athletes more important than another. Yes, D1 gets the exposure, but there's more parents paying tuition at D3 schools with wrestling than there are parents doing the same at D1 schools.

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Aligning with semesters may cause problems for some even as it helps others. While a majority of schools are using semesters, there are still many on quarters (Northwestern?) or alternative systems.

 

JB: do you think there is a postseason schedule (independent of changing the regular season) that might assist each division's access to refs, that would allow D1 to avoid both opening week of march madness and final four?

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Aligning with semesters may cause problems for some even as it helps others. While a majority of schools are using semesters, there are still many on quarters (Northwestern?) or alternative systems.

 

JB: do you think there is a postseason schedule (independent of changing the regular season) that might assist each division's access to refs, that would allow D1 to avoid both opening week of march madness and final four?

 

To me, the only way to address the officials situation is to train more officials. Get people actively involved in the sport so we have a bigger pool of applicants.

 

With the post-season the way it is, extending the season, to me, isn't exactly the best practice. Maybe shortening the front-end to enable a slight extension for the championships season makes the most sense, then we can fill in backwards once roundball has its sites and schedule set to plug in.

 

From most of the past discussions, the move was push it into April, but the plausible scenario to get it away from the opening weekend of hoops to the second (Sweet 16 weekend) seems to make a lot of sense. The question is now the NCAA and their scheduling and how far ahead they are thinking with the bid process. The bids are dependent upon openings and the dates -- example: Hampton, Va. had a stellar bid for the Olympic Trials, but the date didn't work. Their facility was booked. Well, they couldn't move the tenant for that weekend and boom, they lost out. (Granted, Iowa City was awesome for the Trials).

 

The date situation needs to be taken care of, THEN the bid process. If you award bids to cities starting in July and it's still the old dates, you're just spinning your wheels.

 

With 2015 and beyond on the take for the July bidding process, there needs to be a move from someone to get the date moved by one week. If that strategy has already been explored and isn't feasible for one reason or another, it's dead in the water.

 

Maybe there's enough time to lobby the powers that be to consider a one week move. I think that's a step in the right direction. We just can't move the entire sport (D1>JUCO) at risk of losing teams and personnel. One school would completely drop it based on their structure.

 

Even one week would make a bit of a difference, but when you get to the end of March and into April, that's where you lose it. If you want it moved, you have to identify exactly why those weekends work, NCAA resources, etc.

 

I think a one week move back could be good, but then again, the calendar could affect things, and then you push all those post-season tournaments (HS) into April, then you get into the freestyle vs. folkstyle offseason debate, yadda yadda yadda.

 

A lot of moving parts have to first be identified for a date change to even occur.

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Tofrurky:

 

NCAA championships to go in the next month MBB, WBB, MGym, WGym, Frozen Four. We are nearing midway of college baseball (increased importance of conference play), MLB begins this week, Masters approaching, major tennis events coming. I advocate not changing the season at all, with the exception of moving D1 finals to the second week of march madness. This drops the number of competing BB games by 75% and also avoids doubling up THE championship finals in two NCAA sports in the same weekend. There may be other tweaks that some advocate, but this single event moving would provide the greatest return with least disruption.

 

I'm aware of college basketball and what's going on there. Men's gymnastics has 16 DI teams and 17 teams total in the entire NCAA. Percentage-wise, how many cross-over fans does wrestling have with women's gymnastics and collegiate hockey? I'm guessing that number is awfully low.

 

In the end, what is this about? Is it about supporting the best interests of the student-athletes or marketing the sport specifically to the EPSN crowd when basketball isn't seen as being as strong? Simply being on ESPN hasn't solved the issue wrestling has with it's marketability. All that did was fulfill the contract that the NCAA and ESPN have for championships.

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Aligning with semesters may cause problems for some even as it helps others. While a majority of schools are using semesters, there are still many on quarters (Northwestern?) or alternative systems.

 

JB: do you think there is a postseason schedule (independent of changing the regular season) that might assist each division's access to refs, that would allow D1 to avoid both opening week of march madness and final four?

 

Of all the DI programs in the nation on a quarter schedule (none are on a block schedule), only the following five universities with wrestling are:

Stanford

Cal-Bakersfield

Cal-Poly

Northwestern

Oregon State

 

All of these folks were done this year with finals come Saturday, December 15.

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I haven't read all of the posts but here are my thoughts:

 

A one week adjustment to a later date for championships seems very reasonable. It avoids the busy opening weekend of March Madness but piggybacks in some ways on the energy and viewership of the "Madness".

 

That said...A marketing research firm could probably paint a much clearer picture to make decisions from instead of wrestling people just throwing ideas around. A non-biased analysis of who our fan base and potential fan base is could really have positive impacts on the sport. They could also tell us what is and what isn't exciting about the sport to that potential fan base. Has there been any significant effort by NWCA or anyone else to try to compile an analysis of this sort?

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lol at this thread

.

its the ncaa.......

ITS THE NCAA

.

it will never change

.

is run by the ncaa

Perhaps. Perhaps not. NCAA isn't motivated to improve wrestlings lot for the sports sake. They are, however, motivated by money. D1 wrestling national championship is one of a very few (out of over 60 events they sponsor each year) championships that rather than lose money, actually generates a profit for them. It's been years since I saw a listing but if I remember wrestling ranked third or fourth? TV money for march madness obviously accounts for most of the NCAA's revenue, but we aren't a drain. If improving our time slots allowed for ESPN to see greater potential perhaps we could contribute more (although I believe we are already contracted through 2024).

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