Friday, March 25, 2005

Fickle Coverage

Funny, how when they're just another team, the Illinois-based university basketball and football programs barely get any mention on St. Louis TV sportscasts. The strategy normally seems to be--"only those central and southern Illinois hayseeds would be interested...so why bother". Give us more Mizzou. Give us more SLU. Give us more of anything in Missouri.

But, now that they're the number one basketball team in the nation, all of a sudden the Fighting Illini are "our boys" in St. Louis. They dominate the sportscasts. All the local stations have someone doing a live stand-up in front of the buildings where they play to make sure everyone knows the station is claiming ownership of U of I sports coverage in St. Louis.

I understand that it's a battle for ratings...and the the Illini are the hottest thing going...and that the Final Four is going to be in St. Louis...but how two-faced and transparent can they possibly get? I just don't understand how these station people can look at their marketing area and the pattern of their broadcast signal and regularly be convinced that the one-third of the population on the Illinois side of the river doesn't merit routine coverage.

The only thing more hypocritical than the current level of "Illini" home-cookin'...is the disgusting pandering to Saluki sports fans when SIU-C made their run in the NCAA tourney. Suddenly it was "The Dawgs" and "our boys from C-town". It was enough to gag a maggot. The SIU football and basketball programs have been dominant in the last 5 years or so...certainly much more successful than Mizzou. But I guarantee you won't see or hear another mention of SIU sports until something else enormous happens. If Gary Pinkel or Quin Snyder get a sore throat though, you can bet you'll get a full medical report from the Surgeon General.

Carbondale is a lot closer to St. Louis than Champaign...and about exactly the same distance from The Arch as Columbia, Mo. And there's a good contingent of SIU and U of I grads in the St. Louis area work force. Wake up you people in St. Louis TV. The schools in Illinois merit some regular coverage too. Don't just show up when the rest of the world does.

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