Why F1 to NBC Sports Network might be a good thing

I just happened upon the following few paragraphs in Bill Simmons’ weekly NFL column at Grantland (which has a lot of good stuff, and a lot of remarkably mediocre stuff… hmmm… kind of like F1B — yes, I beat you too it.*)

Take a look:

The headline reads “NFL Could Get $1 Billion a Year for Thursday Package.” And actually, the price will climb higher than that because the NBC Sports Network needs those Thursday-night games more than the Walking Dead guys need clean shirts. Have you ever looked at the NBC Sports Network (a.k.a. W.E.T. for “White Entertainment Television”) on a night when there’s no hockey … which, you know, is every night right now?

Last night, they showed four hours of 2012 Olympic men’s basketball in prime time — from 7 p.m. until 11 p.m. — which delighted the 12 people who wanted to re-watch the USA-Argentina and USA-Spain games. Tonight’s schedule looks like this …

7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.: The Dew Tour

Described on my cable guide as “Action from the season-ending Dew Tour championships in Las Vegas.” Look, your guess is as good as mine. I’m guessing … extreme sports? Skateboarding? Or maybe … poker? I don’t even want to Google it. I’d rather NOT know.

10 p.m. to 1 a.m.: CFL

Edmonton takes on British Columbia. Apparently this is live! Can I wager on this? Take back everything I said about the NBC Sports Network!4

Here’s the point: You don’t have a reason to watch NBCSN right now unless you love the NHL (R.I.P.), CFL, college football, college basketball, old Olympics games and events, hunting, darts, the Dew Network or something called Elk Fever (which actually ran in prime time on Tuesday night). They need to make a splash. Like, soon. They’ll be bidding for those games like a drunk guy on eBay. Throw in Rupert Murdoch’s new sports network (tentatively called “TAP TV”), Turner Sports (just paid $180 million for Bleacher Report, so anything’s possible), CBS (I still can’t find their cable sports channel on my DirecTV, but apparently it’s on there) and ESPN (the Worldwide Leader of Bidding Everyone Else Up!), and you can count on someone egregiously overpaying.

Given the sounds of things at NBC Sports Network, we might have the chance of getting more Formula 1 in America than we’re used to, especially if Bernie Ecclestone is smart enough to give them access to historic races. Surely F1 has more credibility and a potentially bigger audience than … OK, maybe I don’t want to finish that.

Anyway, my biggest worry was/is that F1 will just be buried on a new, not-auto sport-focused channel. (Given how much attention it gets at the supposedly car-focused one, perhaps this is a worry from an alternative universe.)

I do say “F1 Race Night” has a nice ring to it. Let’s all relive Spa ’98, shall we?!

I can dream.

* I also beat you to the “minus the good stuff” comment.

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