Now that you've fully expressed your euphoria from the Blazers winning the first game of the Phoenix-Portland series, let's take a moment to talk about what happened to Phoenix AND Portland fans nation-wide last night.
As almost always happens on TNT, the preceding games went long. It's funny because I watch 82 games every year. When they're broadcast locally these games run 2 hours, 30 minutes almost like clockwork. Every game that's on TNT pushes the three-hour mark. Any fan of West Coast basketball knows what this means. Either your game starts late or you miss part of it. The latter is exactly what happened last night. They delayed the start of the Portland-Phoenix game but the Dallas-San Antonio contest still ran over into it. Anyone who couldn't see the game on their local network (and at this point I highly recommend anyone who can access the game by another means do so) missed the first four minutes or so.
That's not my beef though.
My complaint is that after Dallas-San Antonio concluded TNT went to 10 commercials before they cut over to the Portland-Phoenix game. For 82 games, most of a year, you watch and grind, anticipating this moment. Then after all of that you miss the tip-off so a cable network can make sure it gets all of its money.
Mind you, I am not complaining about the money. They're entitled. But when the money comes at the cost of the sport and of the fans I have a problem. TNT has shown repeatedly that the sport and its fans are secondary. Between the delays, the pace of the games, the decisions about commercials I have about given up on them. They just...don't...care. Lots of people love Ernie and Charles and Kenny. So be it. I hope they get to follow the broadcasts to another network someday...a network that gives a rip.
This isn't brain surgery. Your first priority when you contract to broadcast games is to broadcast those games. If the previous game is going into triple-overtime that's one thing. But commercials? Those may take priority in your world but we're not tuning in to see network executives and sales reps work. We're watching you because we want to see basketball.
This isn't rocket science either. Make-goods for those post-game commercials should be an easy call. You have 10 commercials to run, right? About five minutes of time? CUT FIVE MINUTES OUT OF THE HALFTIME COMMENTARY. You have at least four segments there. Make each one a minute shorter. You may not be able to show all the film from the previous games nor show somebody calling Charles Barkley an idiot over their video phone but you can do all that in the post-game show. You'll get to show every commercial and nobody misses the action.
My beef isn't done, though. Two of those spots were from the NBA itself, showing how much the NBA cares about things. Believe me, I appreciate your community service. But if you want me to think you care why don't you show that you care about your fans who are waiting to watch your games? There should be a standing rule that if a game is in progress those NBA commercials don't get shown over that game. How any NBA exec can watch those spots roll knowing we're missing actual NBA action and not squirm to the bottom of their cushy rolling chair is beyond me.
Sports fans are funny. We have certain views and superstitions. Those become particularly strong when we get upset. I have not set foot in a Staples since they associated themselves with the Los Angeles Lakers. I just won't do it until their name is off of that building. I took down the name of those commercial sponsors and I'm adding them to that list. I'm not upset about them supporting the league and its broadcasts, of course. But it should be a quid pro quo for every sponsor that if the choice is between their commercial and the game, the game gets shown and their commercial gets worked in unobtrusively. Until that happens they'll just have to risk their good name making people ANGRY instead of convincing them to buy product. So I hereby pledge to you that from this moment on:
- I will not buy any kind of Haier appliance.
- I will not drink Dos Equis beer.
- I will not use AutoTrader.com
- I will not get a Capital One card of any type
- I will not eat Snickers bars
- I will not go to McDonalds for morning coffee or anything else
- I will not believe the NBA cares
I'm in a tricky spot with the last sponsor, as it was the government advertising an extension of the home-buyers' tax credit. I'm not sure how to boycott the government. But I'm plenty mad at you too, cheesy-looking guy in the Uncle Sam costume.
I am dead serious about not using those products. And the list will grow the more game-stealing commercials I see.