“Off-Season” is Out-of-Date Concept


Ryan Mallett, QB, Houston Texans If the Texans schedule a one-hour televised press conference to discuss how they may have acquired the first choice in the NFL draft at the same time the Astros are playing their 1st game of the MLB season, which show will Houston fans most watch?

Ryan Mallett, QB, Houston Texans
If the Texans schedule a one-hour televised press conference to discuss how they may have (hypothetically) acquired the first choice in the NFL draft at the same time the Astros are playing their 1st game of the MLB season, which show will Houston fans most watch?

Is the concept of an out-of-season period for each of our major professional team sports now out-moded?

The truth, of course, is that the business side of sports never has known a period of time called the “off-season”. The bills and business of planning for next year are continuous for any professional club in any of the “Big Three” major American professional sports of baseball football, and basketball.

“Off-Season” always has been a term that belonged to the period of seasonal time for each sport in which the clubs were playing each of their schedules on the way to their own unique conclusions in championship competition as the fans held forth in collective consciousness to the ideas of attending games and, hopefully, cheering their favorite teams to some kind of crown as the best of them all. After that playing out of those expectations to the joy of one club and the gradient disappointment of all others , the fans could variably accept that the season was “over” and move on to other matters in life as the business of their sports went on – even if it went on more quietly and slowly with the fewer expectations that descended upon the clubs of each sport in the less media-heated climate that existed prior to the high tech social media explosion of the 21st century.

Time have changed because of the 24/7 attention upon all sports. Technology finally caught up with the original ESPN promise of a full-blast night and day coverage and the opportunities for two-way discussions between fans and media, fans and fans, and media and media on the futures of all clubs and the individual players of each game. If a fan’s sport had a steroids problem, the media was there to sting the airways and all people allegedly involved on a 24/7 basis that would often make us  sicker of the coverage than we were with the problem. After all, fans originally got hooked on professional sports as a diversion from the uglier, less mythical sides of our ordinary lives – and not to bathe in a non-stop electronic unfolding of just how humanly flawed the players and caretakers of our favorite games really are.

But that’s how it is today.

In 2014, I remembered a Houston talk show caller exclaiming around this same time on the calendar year exclaiming that “the time between the Super Bowl in January and the NFL Draft in April or May is now the toughest part of the football season!”

Football season? Yes, there it is – a fan statement that underscores the fact that fan hunger for newsworthy events on their sport is now all year round. It just seems to be higher among football fans in Texas and some other locales – and maybe even most locales. Friend and SABR colleague Tony Cavendar sent me a WSJ article yesterday that does underscore the same point. – The hunger for attractive activities between the periods of direct competition on the field is being addressed better by the NFL over all other professional sports.

Check out “How the NFL Stole March Madness” by Kevin Clark in the March 25, 2015 digital edition of the Wall Street Journal. Here’s the link:


Clark concludes that the NFL has done the best job, so far, of mining and directing the energies and attentions of their fans to an ever-building connect-the-dots series of interesting events during those parts of the year that no games are being played. As we see it, the NFL may have put a minor dent in the fender of  the usual attention that basketball fans pay to “March Madness”, but they may also be doing a pretty good job of stealing attention away from MLB spring training games – with the help of their many complicit local media supporters.

Ask yourself, as you peruse the Houston Chronicle over the next couple of weeks leading into the start of the MLB season, what seems to be the most important to our local media and the fans who call into talk shows or use the Internet’s many avenues of social media in the spring of 2015: the roster completion of the Houston Astros? Or the roster fulfillment of the Houston Texans?



2 Responses to ““Off-Season” is Out-of-Date Concept”

  1. gregclucas Says:

    This has affected me greatly. I use SiriusXM radio both in the house and car since I have long departed local sports talk radio. Too many hosts are both terribly ill informed about anything but their personal favorite sport (football) and just not as well rounded as the voices from the past. What perhaps bothers me the most was the flagship station of both the Astros and Rockets gives them little time other than pre-scheduled visits with the GM or coach or a paid player. So, I rarely tune in anymore. I know I won’t be missing any big news from other sports and I can keep up with satellite radio or on-line. The fact is: The football season IS OVER, but those on radio will not let it rest.

  2. gregclucas Says:

    By the way, in reference to my earlier comment. What we have here in Houston is NOT typical of other places in the country. The NFL has done a great job of spreading the word, but in other places it is treated as a sidelight this time of year and not the main attraction.

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