For their first foray into the concept of an overlapping Monday Night doubleheader, ESPN and ABC attempted to placate the audience of each game by providing maximum information about the second game. In the future, perhaps a better plan would be to give less. much less. May be nothing.
When it comes to prime-time, fans are used to watching only one game. Many like it. The overlapping doubleheader is intended at least in part to reduce the total time commitment from six hours to roughly four. But there’s a better way to balance the interests of those who want to consume two games at once and those who prefer to invest a full six hours (or more) watching one game at a time.
This is the greatest piece of unsolicited (and probably unwanted) advice that can be given. ESPN and ABC must aspire to retain the capacity of viewers to watch each and every game without spoilers. The game should be self-contained, not simulcast.
On Sunday afternoons, highlights and scores and other information from other sports are shared regularly, even if most spectators are watching only one of the seven, eight or nine competitions. The audience is used to it.
Thirty years ago, fans had the ability to know what was happening at other games, and the only way to get that information (short of calling the 976 line) was to watch whatever game was being broadcast in the local market. Had to see (CNN was the first network to flash scores of in-progress NFL games at the bottom of the headline news screen, making it — for a year or two — a one-stop destination for fans who wanted to know what was going on. Game that was not available on TV.)
The experience on Monday nights (and in prime-time in general) has been very different. Fans are used to watching one game at a time. Many like it. With two games being broadcast nationally, there’s no reason for people to watch one game in a row to keep up with what’s happening in another game. Those who want to watch both games will find a way to do it. Whether they have a pair of TVs or a TV and a laptop or tablet or phone, it’s not nearly as difficult and expensive as it used to be to watch two games at once.
So the goal should not be to keep the audience of one game fully informed of the progress of another, but to be completely uninformed. The score bug, which is very distracting, should be dumped for the second game. Also, there is no need to show both the games together. Cuts the screen in half to show what’s happening in the second game and moves away from the primary game. And there’s certainly no reason to show highlights from one game to another.
Scott Van Pelt is great. But when watching Vikings-Eagles, I don’t need him to show up and tell you about the highlights of the other game—especially when, on at least one occasion, he was narrating highlights from Titans-Bills on Vikings’ action. . -Eagles. (It’s not his fault. He was doing his job. But someone higher needs to ask if this is a work that should be done.)
There was an experiment last night. ESPN will likely tinker with the game’s presentation a little, or a lot. Hopefully, ESPN will consider the value of giving it to fans who want to watch one game at a time, without any spoilers.
It serves no purpose to potentially entice viewers to switch from one Disney-owned network to another. The audience is already drawn to one of the games. There is no reason to try to reverse them. There’s every reason to watch people who are willing to invest six hours watching straight monday night football To do so without knowing anything about the other game until they see it.