Monday, December 29, 2014

Watching TV

For those in the greater Princeton metropolitan area who were dreaming of a white Christmas, well, this wasn't the year for it. There was a greater chance of thunderstorms than snow flurries on Christmas Eve as the temperature reached into the 60s.

TigerBlog went for his usual on-campus walk Christmas Day and found more people out and about than he thought he would.

That was followed by more temperatures in the 60s this past weekend, when TigerBlog saw people out in shorts and t-shirts. Princeton will play 13 men's lacrosse games this coming season, and TB figures that maybe three or four will be played on a nicer day than this past Saturday.

If you bought tickets for the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium between Penn State and Boston College, you probably didn't expect it to be warmer for that game that it will be for most April baseball games played there.

You also were in the minority of people who actually attended a bowl game.

TigerBlog watched enough of a few of the games to be astonished by how empty the stadiums appeared to be, the sold-out Pinstripe Bowl notwithstanding. TB then read a story in the USA Today that basically said that nobody associated with the bowls is all that concerned, because the television ratings - and revenue - continue to be very good, and isn't that all that matters?

The USA Today story mentioned that all but one bowl game a year ago outdrew the opening day Yankees-Red Sox game. Maybe that's because discerning viewers realized that the 2014 Yankees and Red Sox would both be bad.

Or, more likely, it's because football so dwarfs anything else on television these days.

And so that's why there continue to be all of these bowl games played in front of all these empty seats. It's because the market can sustain it, driven by television revenue.

Would you rather have your bowl game sold out or on TV? You would think sold out, but the answer is quite the opposite.

And what does this mean for non-bowl games? And for Princeton? Is the future going to feature fewer and fewer fans at games? Sigh. That's for another day.

As for the bowl games themselves, TigerBlog hasn't watched any of them from start to finish and has no actual on-field comment to make, because nothing has stood out other than the very, very ugly fight between BYU and Memphis and that wild Hail Mary-ish touchdown that one team scored against another team on the final play.

TigerBlog is so disinterested in the bowls that he can't even remember which teams they were. Western Kentucky was one maybe?

He does know that the play was pretty wild, and it made the score 49-48 after the team that scored had trailed 49-14 in the fourth quarter.

Okay, TigerBlog got a little curious. The other team was Central Michigan. And its coach, Dan Enos, is now a TB favorite after going for two to try to win the game.

Yes, the conversion failed and Western Kentucky held on. But hey, at least he had some guts. He had the momentum. His team was hot offensively. His odds were better than 50-50 at that point, even if it didn't work out.

The NFL regular season has come and gone now. The Giants played 64 quarters, and TigerBlog probably watched fewer than 20 of them.

Okay, the Giants weren't very good. And perhaps TB is spoiled by the last two Super Bowl wins. Or maybe he's just not into watching games on TV as much as he used to be.

He watched some of the Giants-Eagles game yesterday.

He then watched more of the Princeton-Quinnipiac men's hockey game than he did the late NFL games.

Actually, this is for another day also, but TB watched the game Saturday between the Tigers and Bobcats on videostream and the game Sunday on ESPNU. What was the difference? It wasn't huge. And there are important lessons for the future here too.

But not for today.

For today, the ESPNU game was a 1-0 Quinnipiac win. It was also a great showcase of Baker Rink and Princeton hockey.

Quinnipiac swept Princeton this weekend, and the Bobcats find themselves in first place in the league. Princeton is now tied for 11th in its first season under head coach Ron Fogarty.

Oh, and speaking of Fogarty, he had a great quote afterwards when he said that the game cost him $8, since he had to get a haircut for TV.

TigerBlog knows next to nothing about hockey, but he's impressed with Fogarty and his staff. They have a plan to rebuild the program on the ice, and they have great, forward-thinking, advanced thoughts about building the program, the brand as it were, off the ice.

They are great promoters of Princeton hockey, and they have a great sense of how to generate interest in the team and its players.

It doesn't hurt that Baker Rink is a great place to see a game. Yesterday's game was sold out, for instance.

Okay, Princeton didn't win. Still, it was a pretty good day for Princeton hockey.

And TB hopes, and is fairly confident, that there are better days ahead.

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