Christmas Eve: The Worst Sports Night of the Year
December 24, 2012

Everyone knows that Christmas has been over-commercialized. Ever since someone tacked up a “Jesus slept here” sign on the manger, or when a frankincense dealer proclaimed that he was the one that sold his product to the three wise men, people have been using a religious holiday for commercial gain. Sports and television are no exception, but for the most part, Christmas Eve has been left alone.

Christmas Day offers us five consecutive NBA games, which is about 13 straight hours of basketball. There's also some college hoops, a bowl game, and if Christmas had fallen on a Sunday, you would see a full schedule of NFL football. People are home. Networks and sports leagues know it, and they know at some time that day, fans are going to turn on the television, even if its only long enough to check a score. In most households with sports fans, the TV will be on all day, even if the sound is turned down for most of that time.

Christmas Eve, however, is a different story. It's almost as if sports and television hold that day as sacred. December 24 is on a Monday this year, but no Monday Night Football (it was played on Saturday). There are no NBA games scheduled, and even if there was a hockey season, there would be no NHL games on the docket.

ESPN and college football came up with one exception to this rule, though, and if you think about it, it is genius. The Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl is played on December 24th every year—this year featuring Fresno State and SMU. The game is shown live in the prime time window (8pm Eastern Time, 5 Pacific), but that's 2pm in Honolulu. Technically it's not Christmas Eve yet there, and if there is some sort of sacred covenant about not televising games on Christmas Eve, the pact is not broken, even though it's only because they found a loophole.

I've never seen it written, or even talked about, that Thou Shalt Not Televise on Christmas Eve, but it has always been the case. There will probably be a time, though, that the Hawai'i Bowl gets a 32 share in the Nielsens, and the greedy execs will figure out a way to expand. I can see it now. Notre Dame against BYU in the Christmas Eve Bethlehem Bowl (hopefully the Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, not the Middle East). Happy Holidays everyone.

Aloha no: As I am writing this, SMU has just demolished Fresno State 43-10 in front of a very small crowd. I'm sure the television deal is enough to keep the game solvent, but it doesn't look like there is a lot of local interest, especially if the University of Hawai'i is not playing.

What's with the apostrophe? Having once worked in a town (Salt Lake City) that had schools in the same conference as the U of H, I have learned that an apostrophe between the two i's is the preferred spelling of our fiftieth state. Looks weird though, doesn't it? Hawai'i.

More Christmas is not about sports: As previously mentioned, there are five NBA games on tomorrow, but I'll likely miss the one I'm interested in most. Some neighbors are coming over around noon, and will probably stay til around 2 or 2:30, which is the time of the Knicks-Lakers game, and mom doesn't have a DVR. Oh well. Plenty of time to watch the Clipper game, though.

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