Looking for a live sporting event to tune into today?
Before you answer, let me call in Robert De Niro.
He’s correct. Try to find our On TV/Radio rectangle listing on Page 2B of the paper today. I’ll save you some time.
There is none.
This is the first time I’ve ever encountered a day that did not have one single live sporting event scheduled to be televised—at least since cable and satellite came into play.
As someone who puts the stories, headlines and photos into the sports section, the On TV/Radio listings are a constant piece that went into every section. You create the page and slap that baby in the middle two columns of Page 2B.
The slowest two live sports days each year are Christmas Eve and the day after the Major League All-Star game. But Christmas Eve usually has a college bowl game or sometimes NFL playoff games.
The day after the MLB All-Star game has a minor league All-Star game and usually some soccer matches.
Otherwise, there usually are at least a dozen or so event televised each and every day.
They might be Australian Rules Football, or a rugby match from Wales, or an opening round tennis match from Spain, but there are always live events going on.
That was until today. And there will be more days like this to follow.
The original Associated Press TV listing did have an event today. It was the Professional Bull Riders “Unleash The Beast: Gwinnett Invitational” from Gwinnett, Georgia. CBS Sports Network was supposed to televise that starting at 11 a.m.
I googled it.
“Canceled” read the headline underneath a graphic showing a stern looking bull rider and somewhat-passive-looking bull with an ear tag that has “Heartbreak Kid” on it.
That’s quite appropriate for the last event to bite the dust today.
Last year on this Sunday, there were 40 live events on our On TV/Radio listing.
There were German league soccer matches starting at 7:20 a.m. The day ended with the midnight telecast of the IBU World Championship women’s 12.5-kilometer biathlon mass start competition from Sweden on NBC Sports Network.
In between there were six NCAA conference men’s basketball championship games, and the announcement of the NCAA Tournament brackets at 5 p.m.
The Philadelphia 76ers played the Bucks at Fiserv Forum at 2:30 p.m.
There was a NASCAR race from Fontana, California, three NHL games, a World Cup gymnastics meet and two college softball games. The final round of the PGA The Players Championship began at noon on NBC.
Our sports section contained eight pages. We had the story of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team losing to Michigan State in the Big Ten Conference Tournament semifinals, a feature story on Brewers’ Cory Spangenberg, and a column I wrote about my annual trip to Arizona to watch the Brewers during spring training.
If you page through our sports section today, you’ll notice that instead of the eight- to 10-page section we usually put together for Sunday, it is four pages.
And filling those pages is a challenge.
There are no high school or college events, which are the bread-and-butter of The Gazette.
We can still run some Brewers and Packers stories, but those eventually will dry up during the next few weeks.
There is no NBA or NHL or NASCAR or IndyCar.
In this day of hundreds of cable and satellite channels, there are no live sports on TV.
Oh, by the way, there were two American Alliance of Football games televised on that Sunday a year ago. San Antonio played at Atlanta at 3 p.m. on CBS Sports Network, and Birmingham played at San Diego on the NFL Network at 7 p.m.
Fourteen days later, the AAF ceased operations.
Maybe it was a sign.
At this point, I’d take a good biathlon.