NBC has aired the All-American Bowl since 2004, but they’ve had minimal control of the game itself. Looking to have more of an influence on the product, NBC has taken a big step in making the All-American Bowl more than just a game featuring the top high school football players in the nation.
Sports Business Daily reported that NBC has bought the All-American Bowl. What’s different is that on top of broadcasting the game, NBC now has complete control over the game and how it’s presented. SBD noted that NBC execs told them the deal cost “seven figures.”
The game itself has been played in San Antonio every year since its inception in 2000. NBC has plans to expand the game itself to make it more personality driven. Like NBC’s work on the Olympics, it’s going to be more of a focus on the players themselves as they progress in their football careers and make one of the most important decisions of their lives.
NBC Sports Group will oversee the game’s day-to-day operations, which include a “selection tour” process to identify high-school players that will participate and a combine that has attracted around 600 high school juniors in the past. NBC will send a crew on the selection tour and use the footage for shoulder programming that it will carry on NBC and NBCSN, its digital properties and its local broadcast affiliates. “It’s great content,” said NBC Sports VP/Programming Gary Quinn. “We think we can take it to the next level. We want to dig in with storytelling around the game and the athletes.”
This seems like an opportunity for NBC to take something and, with a few tweaks, draw more viewers to the broadcast. This year’s game averaged more than three million viewers. Diehard college football fans will tune in to see how these potential future stars perform and if they choose to play at their school. By bringing in the personality aspect into the game and its production, viewers who appreciate a great story, especially when it’s about someone following their dreams in being a football player, may tune in.