Brooks is a smart fellow, far as I can tell in the extent of my interactions with him, which involve a short stint as a freelancer for his site about four years ago. He spent a bit of time tweeting tonight about his belief that a sports news network dedicated to reporting “proprietary” sports news as opposed handling event broadcasts (which is getting in bed with the folks you’re supposed to cover) is a money-maker on cable/satellite television — people will flock to it.
Sure, that sounds all well and good, but 24 hours a day of it without any other product? Will people really spend all day watching it? I fail to see where this becomes televisually compelling in any significant way to make any money — which is where the rubber really meets the road, because that’s where you determine advertising rates, pull with cable/satellite providers, etc. Broadcast rights are where you make it feasible. The problem comes with a network’s willingness to tear down the wall between journalism and event presentation.
Pointing to Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski’s Twitter feed of NBA lockout negotiation updates in real time doesn’t help this one bit. Wojnarowski is working in an online paradigm where this type of content streaming works. It wouldn’t make for compelling television, or keep people on the channel for the period ESPN is able to keep people on its networks. The model for proprietary stories will be Yahoo’s stable of writers, and TV outlets will take it as they want or need it. It’s the repetition and amplification they’re good at.
Yes, there are audiences who would watch a sports news network that reported on the world of sports without having the weird conflict of broadcasting event coverage to deal with. But that network wouldn’t have enough content to fill its daily schedule at all. It would wind up emulating the highlight and yapper shows that already exist to a certain extent — that’s largely where cable news has gone anyway when it realized it couldn’t fill a full day and wanted to do it on the cheap.