Logo for the DFR Audible post categoryIt’s playoff time in the NHL and NBA, and you know what that means: TV networks lying to you.

I speak specifically of the channels’ habit of giving the viewer their schedules for upcoming games with the dreaded “Coverage begins” indication, as in “Coverage begins at 6:30 PM” for a game that starts at 7:40 PM. Because, apparently, they assume that all fans have so much time to waste that they’ll sit around watching an hour of meaningless blather while waiting for the game to start.

Until recently, networks had the decency to limit pre-game shows to a half an hour, except on Super Bowl Sunday; now this habit seems to have grown to a full hour even for the most routine games on the schedule. And the trend will probably just get worse. I can’t wait for next year’s Finals: “Game 1 of the Finals is Saturday night; coverage started sometime in the Middle Ages…”

Yes, you don’t have to watch, but this kind of promotional chicanery forces viewers to do a bit of math every time they want to make viewing plans, or go to the extra effort of looking up the game time on an independent schedule. That’s not how you’re supposed to treat your customers (which is what viewers really are).

And then the networks have the nerve to wonder why their ratings go down.


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