At the start of the 2009 season, the NFL launched a channel, which would become the marquee channel to own and watch for NFL Sundays, especially if your favorite club played during a different time slot, or were on a bye that week. The channel would be named NFL RedZone, it would cost the viewer $49.99 and it would, perhaps most importantly, be commercial free, partially the reason the consumer pays an annual fee.
Naturally, my mind, as it’s programmed to think, considered one thing immediately: “How do we incorporate this into better basketball watching?” As I’m aware that the NFL’s RedZone is going strong in its fifth year, it was only recently that it was brought to my attention that the best place to share this newfound channel idea with the world would be my Dime Magazine column. Thanks to my lovely girlfriend for pointing that one out for me, in a conversation that essentially ended with her pointing out how much of an idiot I am for not writing about this five years prior when the initial lightbulb went off in my cranium. So I’m here to give you more apologies than Eminem gave for making his fans wait five years for Relapse and, subsequently, Recovery.
First, to understand my NBA channel, it would behoove you to understand the NFL’s, in the event that you’re one of the nine people reading this who are unaware of how it works.
In short, the NFL Network provides us with one of their many practice squad analysts to guide the viewer through all of the NFL’s games at a given Sunday time slot (either 1:00 or 4:00 EST) focusing on games that are in the, wait for it… RED ZONE!
If multiple games are in the red zone, said D-Leaguer will go split screen or do his best impression of the guy who handles the remote at the house you watch your Sunday football at, and much like your friend, he does an awful job when left with the responsibility. Fortunately, the NFL does follow its Red Zone policy to the core so viewers run into this guy playing channel changer fewer than a few times a day on most instances. And in the event that no NFL team is in the red zone at a given time, they do a pretty good job of airing the game you’d be watching had you been drunk enough to ever purchase DirecTV. (I say that with the indication that someone you know has it, so why do you need to have it?) Moving on.
There are other situations or nuances that arise while watching the RedZone channel and just about all of them are resolved the way you would resolve them or the way you think they would be.
Again, I watch the NFL with about the same interest that everyone else watches the NFL: If it’s not my team, or I didn’t gamble on it in one form or another, I’m hardly interested, especially with the league being turned into glorified flag football as of late (which I was able to tolerate right up and until Ahmad Brooks cleanly laid out Drew Brees and won his team the game, or at least that’s how I saw it).
On the other hand, I watch basketball the same way most NBA junkies, writers and bloggers watch basketball: as much of it as often as humanly possible, with an unhuman-like ability to watch the same games over and over again. So not unlike instant replay, I’m going to take an idea laid out by the NFL and make it better, and make it for the NBA. Ladies and Gentlemen, without further ado, I bring to you, your newest NBA channel:
The Fourth Quarter
The Fourth Quarter will follow the same “whip around” format that the NFL RedZone applies, focusing primarily on NBA games which are in crunch time, providing live look-ins on all NBA games until the games start to reach the fourth quarter, then focusing the channel’s attention on those games until their conclusion.
At 7:00 EST, when NBA games are tipping off, The Fourth Quarter will start out perusing NBA games which are currently airing. It will be the host’s job to show each game efficiently and make his channel switches based on a variety of reasons, such as stars in a certain game, a key matchup or matchups, Steph Curry is warming up, whatever. The main idea of the channel is to show the viewer as much basketball as possible without any commercials. So, if Curry is on fire and Rick Adelman calls a timeout to cool him off, effectively sending that game to commercial, the host has the freedom to switch to any other game he’d like. It is also his decision to return right to the previous game he was at, or to continue to surf the NBA channels in no particular order. I could even see it getting to a point where the NBA let’s the viewers vote the game they’d like the host to show the most versus the game they’d least like to watch, given the NBA’s proficiency with social media.
Quick tangent: There’s actually a lot of different ways the NBA could go with this. They could let the subscribers vote all day for that evening’s order, have live vote-ins, or live Twitter votes while airing. It’s something the league could, and I’m sure would, have a lot of fun with.
Picking up where we left off, The Fourth Quarter host would have this free reign of channel changing power throughout the games up until, you guessed it — at least one of the games reaches fourth quarter.
When any game reaches the fourth quarter, that game, or those games, take precedence to the other games on that evening’s slate, until the other games also reach the fourth quarter. Then our host uses his best judgment, and doesn’t have to necessarily go with the game(s) deepest into the fourth quarter.
It is then the host’s job to show you the fourth quarter of those games, switching back and forth based on how close the games are, TV timeouts, commercials, dead balls, reviews or replays, etc. The host could even go split-screen with games if necessary. Again, the main point here is no commercials. If we reach a point where all fourth quarter games are at commercial or stoppage, the host will then switch back to one of the other games being played on that particular evening, regardless of what quarter that game is in. He could also use this opportunity to perhaps show some live look-ins on West Coast games which have since gone underway.
I love this channel already.
The channel name “The Fourth Quarter” is a working title. I prefer “The Greatest Channel in the World”. Feel free to send us your choices for the channel name or post them in the comments.
If at any point, a time is reached where there is zero live action going on, the host has a variety of different options he or she could show you, including nightly highlights, news around the league, top 10 or top five lists, and so on. Again, the idea is to show the viewer as much basketball as humanly possible, without commercials. It is also to provide NBA fans with as many “I remember where I was when that happened” moments as humanly possible during an NBA season, which is a topic of conversation all of us NBA heads reach with one another at some point. The Fourth Quarter will bring you all of those moments, all season, on one channel.
There will be no more “I missed Kobe Bryant‘s 81 point game” or stories of that nature. And I understand there is NBA League Pass, but part of The Fourth Quarter’s responsibility is to make sure the viewer misses none of these moments, and if he or she is a League Pass subscriber as well, then the power lies in the viewer’s hand to switch to any of the NBA’s many fabulous games in its entirety. I would also suggest a League Pass package, where the consumer gets The Fourth Quarter at half price or even free when making his or her League Pass purchase.
It amazes me, still, that the NBA, who is miles ahead of every other league in the social aspects of sports (Twitter, YouTube, etc.) has yet to come up with this sort of channel to counter the NFL’s RedZone. My goal here is to get the ball rolling. If you feel I missed out on something, or have a better idea, leave it in the comments, hit me up on Twitter or shoot me an email. I’ve always felt the fans of sports have all the power, whether they know it or not. If we as fans want something, we can get it with the proper maneuvering. Let’s get it.
Dime Magazine… “Where The Fourth Quarter Happens”
What do you think?
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