One other thing about today’s Ohio State-Navy game that is nettlesome: it’s symptomatic of another unfortunate, entirely money-driven aspect of big-time sports, because it’s being shown only on a cable channel that many systems don’t carry.
When I first looked up the venue for the game, I saw that it was on the CBS Sports Network — which I equate with CBS and channel 10 on my cable network. Wrong! The CBS Sports Network is a separate channel. If you live in the Columbus area and have Time-Warner cable, the CBS Sports Network is part of the sports station package and can be found at channel 531. If you don’t have that package, you’re out of luck and can watch U.S. Open Tennis on the CBS network instead.
Fortunately, I’ve got the package and will be able to watch the game. But the movement of games to remote television venues is here to stay and probably will get worse. It’s a way for networks to multiply their revenue streams, it’s a way for channels to put pressure on cable providers, and it’s a way for cable providers to get more money from subscribers who desperately want to watch their favorite teams play. If having Ohio State on the CBS Sports Network, or having the Cleveland Browns on the NFL Network, once a year causes fans to subscribe to broader channel packages beyond the “basic cable” offerings, that’s great news for everyone in the chain but the poor fan.
But when it comes to sports these days, it’s all about the money.