Leading Sports News Outlets Ignore Many Leagues

If you are a sports fan, you know most of the sports news outlets available for your viewing or reading pleasure. What you may not know is that each of the outlets that broadcast live games tend to be biased towards the properties in which they have a direct stake.

Most recently I was watching an NFL game on Fox. In the score ticker at the bottom of my screen I noticed that they were showing scores from the English Premier League. Earlier in the day, Fox had broadcast a replay of the Liverpool vs. Manchester United game. Clearly these scores are designed to increase interest in the property that they broadcast. I can’t remember CBS or NBC ever showing EPL scores in their tickers. Clearly only the EPL’s broadcast partners see fit to display these scores.

Furthermore, in the US, ESPN doesn’t give much attention to the NHL. Coverage dropped considerably after the NHL moved their games to Versus, now renamed NBC Sports. Rarely will you find a big NHL story at the top of the headlines on their espn.com homepage. One could argue that hockey is simply not popular enough in the US to warrant the coverage, but the lack of coverage has been significant since they stopped broadcasting NHL games. Similarly, in Canada, the Canadian Football League (CFL) moved their game broadcasts exclusively to TSN (The Sports Network). Games used to be shared with the nationally subsidized Canadian Broadcast Corporation (CBC). Subsequently coverage on TSN’s sports broadcasting competitor, Sportsnet, and other competitive Canadian outlets has been drastically reduced.

These news outlets will of course report a score, but they won’t dedicate time otherwise in their daily schedules to discuss or analyze the previous week’s results or upcoming matches. Here’s why: if ESPN or Sportsnet don’t have the rights to broadcast a certain sport, they view that any time they spend covering that sport or league as free advertisement and promotion for their broadcasting competitors. Why devote time during your evening or late night highlight show or develop 60-minute show to focus on a sport that is the exclusively broadcast live by another network?

Unfortunately, if you like several sports, it means that you likely won’t be able to get all the coverage you want in one place. You need to pick and choose the outlets that cover your favorite sports best. If you want NHL coverage, you’ll likely have to look beyond the ubiquitous ESPN properties. If you want CFL coverage in Canada you’ll need to go to TSN. Of course if you are online, you can just go to the websites of the given league of interest.