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Ch.7, Ch.2 Make Different Calls on Big Sports Stories

You make the call!

On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills reportedly named Syracuse University Coach Doug Marrone as the National Football League team’s new coach.

And the National Hockey League made a deal that ended the lockout of the players, which means the Buffalo Sabres will be playing shortly.

Which do you think is the most important story to lead a local newscast?

Channel 7 led its 6 p.m. newscast with the Bills story.

Channel 2 led its 6 p.m. newscast with the Sabres story after mentioning both stories.

(If you are wondering about Channel 4, I didn’t see its 6 p.m. newscast because it was carrying the end of a college basketball game and I didn’t bother to switch over to WNLO-TV to see if the news  was carried there.)

I think Channel 7 made the right call. I don’t think it was a close call because by any measure – the difference in the importance of the leagues, TV ratings and attendance primarily – the Bills are the much bigger deal in Western New York.

However, you do wonder if the station’s associations with the different leagues had something to do with their decisions.

Channel 2 is an NBC affiliate and NBC and its cable sports network have a TV contract with the NHL.

Channel 7 carries Bills preseason games and has called itself the local Bills station.

What’s your call?


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15 responses to "Ch.7, Ch.2 Make Different Calls on Big Sports Stories"

  1. Bob says:

    The Sabres are of more immediate interest than the Bills. There are many people in WNY and Ontario affected by this story and will need to make decisions based on it. The Bills hiring another coach is getting to be old, and besides other than fueling controversy as to his qualifications there will be little of consequence occurring until the draft. Channel 4 led off with a heat wave warning for the coming week, just kidding, I didn’t watch it either.

  2. matt says:

    News lead: NHL lockout.
    Sports lead: Bills.

    Reasons? The NHL lockout has had a sizable local economic impact and is more immediate as the season will start within 2 weeks. The Bills story is an on-the-field story that is more talk than substance right now as the season is months away. To say it’s “not a close call by any measure” is absurd.

    • alanp says:

      I repeat: Interest in the Bills far outweighs interest in the Sabres. It isn’t close. But I am enjoying the debate. As far as economic impact, try and tell the Bills that Marrone’s hiring won’t have one. My point is the NHL deal is a national story with local impact. The Marrone signing is a local story with national impact.

  3. Bill says:

    Bills. NHL has an economic impact because of the lost business, but this isn’t 2007 anymore with Sabremania, or even 2010 with Pegula. The NHL especially, and to a lesser but real extent the Sabres specifically, aren’t captivating people here.

    Most are offended that another work stoppage happened in the league, which is a disgrace to Canada and not even an afterthought here. And the Sabres seem, as odd as this sounds, staid and boring compared to the Bills. Same coach. Same GM. Same players. They are “better” now but arguably have a dimmer future. Pegula’s loyalty is arguably a fault. Russ comes off as more forward thinking.

    Channel 7′s always been the Bills’ station. 2 broadcasted the Sabres. 4 was the Braves’ station.

    The Bills just dominate demographically here. Much broader support.

  4. Bill says:

    The hardcore puck heads do yell louder though I think. Football is broader here but hockey is deeper among the smaller population.

  5. Matt says:

    Short of ownership change any small number of personnel/player change for the Bills won’t make a difference. Football is out of season here, while Hockey is gearing up. While the number of fans may vary between the sports, Buffalo hockey fans will always have more hope than a football fan of the last decade. The hockey deal is not completed, but is a big change for the standstill that the NHL has been. Channel 2 going with Sabres was the right call IMO.

    • alanp says:

      Bills season is never out of season. A meaningless Bills preseason game out-draws a Sabres regular season game in TV ratings by 2-1 and its regular season games out-rate the Sabres by 4-1. There is no comparison between the local interest in the two teams. You must be a hockey fan. Personnel and player changes by the Bills could make a huge difference. Have you watched any NFL playoff games this weekend? The evidence is clear if you had.

  6. In all fairness, Alan, the Bills coaching story was expected.

    The lockout was considered by many to be heading toward another lost season. The fact that they resolved it– at 5:00 on a Sunday morning, no less– was much more “news” than a story we knew would happen within the next few days anyway. Now, if the Bills had landed a big-name coach, then maybe that’d be worth the big story, but Doug Marrone has a record of mediocrity.

    I also can’t help thinking that the fact that Channel 7 has a vested financial interest in the Bills– paying to air their preseason games– played a role in putting that story first.

    • alanp says:

      Couldn’t disagree more. The settlement was expected today — the hiring of Marrone was not. The News only gave him one line. And as a Syracuse grad, I can say his record was not one of mediocrity based on where the program was when he arrived. That’s unfair.

  7. Gman says:

    Hey Alan , what’s more important in Syracuse, Football or Basketball?????

  8. Steve says:

    Alan…I’m going with you on this one. Since there had been so much breaking news leading up to the hire (Brandon’s promotion, all the coach interviews, etc) and the fact that this seemed to be a big surprise hire, it deserved top billing. I’ve noticed today the Sabres news is getting muliple stories with the economic spin. Not first but more time, it seems like a good compromise.

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