Monday, February 28, 2011

There is No East Coast Bias [Mondays with Gus]

As a sports fan born and raised in the Midwest, hearing people argue that there is an east coast bias in spots coverage has always confused me. Don't get me wrong, the Cleveland Indians helped put me through college so I hate me some East Coast teams. But seriously, shut up with the whole East Coast bias argument.

Let's first look at a map of the teams in the NFL. There are five teams in the 11 western states. New York and Pennsylvania alone have five NFL teams. That doesn't mean that there is an East Coast bias, it means that there is an east coast presence. The West Coast, for all intents and purposes, didn't exist in the NFL this year. If the major news outlets spent as much time covering the Raiders as they do the Patriots, the NFL would be the NHL.

What about MLB? Tell me where the championships are on this map. Again, you don't have a presence on the West Coast that's worth covering. This isn't a bias, this is the reality. If you covered the West Coast as much as the east coast, you would be ignoring most of the history of baseball. But that's not all. Even with most of the success being east rather than west, these leagues still go out of their way to please the West Coast viewers.

Take for example Monday Night Football. Typically, a Monday night game goes through midnight on the east coast. This is awful for the East Coast fans. Even when there are two East Coast teams playing, many people have to stay up late and lose sleep trying to support their local team. On top of that, the Sunday night lineup is much the same. If a true NFL fan stays up to watch all the games, on the east coast they will be likely to miss out on sleep. On the West Coast, it doesn't matter because the whole thing was designed for them and them only.

Now, one argument often used is that ESPN loves Boston because it's on the east coast. But, look at their coverage teams. NFL pregame consists of Keyshawn Jackson (USC), Chris Carter (Ohio State), and Tom Jackson (Louisville). What's east coast about that? NBA coverage is even worse. Magic Johnson (LA), Michael Wilbon (Chicago), and Jon Barry (Oakland).

The most outrageous part of all this is that the West Coast didn't even care about losing their two NFL teams. If Cleveland could fight successfully to keep a team, Los Angeles sure as hell could have too. But they didn't care. Goodbye Rams. Goodbye Raiders. Now, they use their market size to try to lure teams away from their cities.

So, if you're going to argue that there is an East Coast bias, please come up with new arguments. I'd love to read them in the comments.

-Gus Rafeedie

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