Hunter: NCAA needs to rethink TV

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One of the best college football national championship games ever took place last week in Tampa when Clemson won their first national title since 1981 with a last second touchdown pass over the Alabama dynasty. However, final TV ratings of the national championship game were down for the third straight year, and here are a few reasons I believe why it will continue to happen.

Many viewers like myself have so-called "cut the crowd" to cable television for several reasons, and it has really affected the ratings and the bottom line of popular cable networks like ESPN. I am not going to waste your time with ideas on how to improve the famous sport channel, I will save those for a future column.

However, the one suggestion I would make not only to ESPN, but also TBS, which did the same thing during last college basketball season. I do not want to viewers to pay extra for cable just to watch the national championship game. The only two major sports, which does this is college football and college basketball.

Both title games this past season were instant classics, which will be remembered for the rest of history, but the ratings could have been huge if they were on free TV like in the past. I do not understand why the NCAA has decided to move their two biggest sports title games to cable except for the nice fat paycheck they get from both networks. They need to figure out a way to fix the problem and put both games back on ABC and CBS.

I hope this is not a start to a disappointing trend if the major professional leagues or important sporting event begin to move them to cable. For example, the NBA Finals are on ABC, the MLB World Series and Super Bowl are on FOX, and the main events from the Olympics, and five out of the seven games of the Stanley Cup Finals are on NBC, and the four golf majors are also on free TV. You see a pattern here NCAA. I mean it is great that CBS gets the college basketball title games every other year now, but it is not good enough. It needs to be on there every year like it was for all those previous title games. The women's basketball title game should be back on free TV like it was in the past.

I think the NCAA should focus on growing their fan base for the major sports instead of trying to get the most cash in their television contract with cable channels, which more people are getting rid of on a regular basis.

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David Hunter
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