Fill the Sports Vacuum … Please

by | July 14, 2010 at 4:39 PM | General, NBA, Sports

OK. This is becoming an annual tradition. Every year we come to the vacuum of a sports day that is the day after the MLB All-Star game, and every year I start to get angry (Don’t make me angry. You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry).

I mean, no sports events? None? Really? What kind of a capitalist, money-sucking country are we? And what happened to the free market? When society has a demand, the market is supposed to fill it. That’s how this works (at least that’s what I think they should’ve taught me in ECON 101 had I ever taken it).

I can only watch so many hours of So You Think You Can Dance before my head explodes. That’s a lie. I never get tired of SYTYCD. That Billy Bell is AMAZING.

But still. Today is a blank slate for sports fans. Any entrepreneur worth his ascot has to recognize that as an opportunity to make mad money.

Hell, ESPN recognized it. That’s why this farce of a sports awards show is scheduled for today each year. I went into this last year, but the ESPYs are pure inanity.

An award show for sports? Yea, they’re called the playoffs. No self-respecting sports fan gives a hoot about the ESPYs. But there’s nothing else on. So the real sports junkies like me are forced to consider watching this torture.

So what can we do? What event can we schedule annually to stave off our withdrawal symptoms?

And no, a WNBA “nooner” does not count.

Last year, I came up with three ideas I stick by todayThe Great Soccer Experiment, The UFC Super Bowl and The Rucker Park Challenge. All three would be wildly entertaining and the first two give up-and-coming sports a chance to flourish nationally on a day with no other competition on TV.

But I’m no three-trick pony. Ideas flow out of me like venom flows out of Dan Gilbert. So listen up, billionaires. Here are some more ideas to fill the most boring day on the sports calendar:

1) Battle of the Network Stars - Remember how great this show was? Why can’t we bring it back? But this time, give a team to MTV also. How much would you pay to watch Matthew Fox, Teri Hatcher and Patrick Dempsey take on Pauly D., L.C. and The Situation in a Survivor-style obstacle course? Not one dime? Great! Because it will be free on network TV!

Oh wait. They tried that already last summer with The Superstars? It bombed miserably despite featuring a Terrell Owens-supermodel cat fight? OK, forget that one. How about …

2) Poker for Suckers – You know that gamblers’ expression: “If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker” (Mike McD)? Well, in this special – that’s never in doubt. Here’s the premise: We get nine of the best no-limit poker players in the world and we sit them down at the table next to one “lucky” amateur. All 10 players start with $500K in chips and if the amateur can finish in the top three at the table, he gets to keep his winnings. It’s like a Pros vs. Joes for poker. Feed the guppy to the sharks and see what happens.

3) The Sports World Spelling Bee – I’m still not sure why the Scripps National Spelling Bee is on ESPN. What watching home-schooled kids spell words I’ve never heard of has to do with sports is beyond me. But what if we made our favorite athletes and sports personalities spell for our entertainment. Kind of a Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader angle. And here’s the twist: We only ask them to spell the names of other sports personalities. Let’s see if Roy Williams can spell Krzyzewski, if Brett Favre can spellKabeer Gbaja-Biamila, if Chad OchoCinco can spell Houshmandzadeh and if Dwyane Wade can spell Dwyane Wade (seriously, “y” before “a”? Even Dwyane can’t get that right every time … it’s too counterintuitive).

Obviously, I’m no television executive – though with those ideas, you would never know.

I still like my soccer and UFC ideas best. Both sports have the potential explode in this country and today is a great day to make that happen. The vacuum is waiting for someone with enough daring and power to make it his sport’s own.

Dana White, Sunil Gulati, David Stern, Dr. Jaques Bailly … I’m talking to you. Step up. Take a risk. Make a move to own the slowest day in sports.

This is America. There’s never a guarantee of success, but always a guarantee of opportunity.

I promise, I’ll watch.

 

Email me at russakoffrules@comcast.net; follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/leerussakoff.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.