On Sunday night, about a third of Americans (and the vast majority of sports fans) will turn on NBC to watch Super Bowl LII between the Patriots and the Eagles.
And although most other sports networks could probably broadcast static without anyone noticing, they’re all throwing something on air — even if it’s something no one would particularly want to watch. Here, we rank the sterling sports programming available to you Sunday night if you decide not to watch the Super Bowl.
17. CBS Sports Network — Desert Assassins, Pro Pulling League, PBR Bull Riding
You know a network’s lineup is weak when you have to Google just to find out what the events actually entail. Desert Assassins appears to be some kind of truck-racing series, while the Pro Pulling League is a truck and tractor pulling series. Bull riding is kind of cool, but CBS Sports Network’s offerings overall leave a bit to be desired.
16. NBCSN — Poker: Super High Roller Cash Game
Maybe NBCSN sought to air the least interesting content possible to make sure everyone was watching the Super Bowl on the main NBC network. It sounds as if this tournament is like the World Series of Poker — only not the World Series of Poker.
15. MLB Network — “The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training,” World Series Game 7
MLB Network will spend most of the Super Bowl airing a “Bad News Bears” sequel you probably didn’t know existed. They save things a bit by airing an actual baseball game (albeit a replay), but Game 7 of the World Series was probably the seventh most exciting game of the World Series.
T-13. SEC Network — Women’s college gymnastics
T-13. Pac-12 Network — Women’s college gymnastics
The SEC Network and Pac-12 Network are both leaning on gymnastics on Super Bowl night. And although gymnastics can be compelling, regular-season college matchups during a non-Summer Olympics year are a tough sell.
12. ESPNU — Women’s college gymnastics, All-Star Football Challenge
ESPNU will also air women’s college gymnastics, but later in the night the network will spice things up with the replay a college-football skills challenge. Thrilling!
11. ESPN2 — World Series of Poker, Habib Ahmed vs. Gilberto Ramirez boxing match
Poker remains ESPN’s favorite programming to plug in when the network has nothing else to air. At 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2 will switch over to a replay of Saturday night’s Habib Ahmed vs. Gilberto Ramirez fight, which you likely don’t care to watch once and definitely don’t care to watch a second time
10. FS1 — Motorcycle racing, UFC Fight Night
FS1 will broadcast the Monster Energy Supercross series, which sounds pretty cool, followed by a slate of MMA bouts that will have already aired Saturday night.
9. FS2 — UFC Fight Night, UFC Unleashed, Motorcycle racing, Monster Jam
FS2 has similar programming to FS1, including the same exact UFC Fight Night broadcast, but it gets the edge here because of Monster Jam, which sounds much more fun than anything FS1 has to offer.
8. Big Ten Network — B1G Basketball & Beyond, The Journey
If you like Big Ten basketball, you might genuinely enjoy a night of hoops talk, half an hour of which will actually be live! If you don’t like Big Ten basketball… well, don’t watch BTN.
7. ESPNEWS — SC Featured, E:60
This is true replacement-level programming. The SportsCenter and E:60 segments ESPNEWS will air all night are surely compelling and well-produced, but it’s hard to get too excited about an hours-long run of heavy-hearted video features.
6. Golf Channel — Phoenix Open final round
On the plus side, the Tennis Channel is airing a real sporting event. On the negative side, it’s a replay of said event, and the Phoenix Open isn’t exactly a marquee tournament.
5. Tennis Channel — Davis Cup: Spain vs. Great Britain
Similar to Golf Channel, Tennis Channel is replaying an event from earlier in the day. And the Davis Cup is something people care about. Right? Maybe a little bit?
4. ESPN — “Nature Boy” 30 for 30, World Series of Poker
You could argue ESPN should be lower on this list given that it’s airing a documentary instead of actual sports, but “Nature Boy,” the 30 for 30 about wrestler Ric Flair, got strong reviews and is new enough that maybe some people who want to see it haven’t gotten around to it yet.
3. NFL Network — Super Bowl Game Center
The lone channel to compete with the Super Bowl using Super B0wl-related content is, of course, NFL Network. It’s hard to imagine who would want to watch “up-to-the-minute scores, statistics during Super Bowl LII” instead of the game itself, but at least that person will know his stuff Monday morning at the water cooler.
2. NHL Network — Senators vs. Canadiens, On the Fly, NHL All-Access
You’re probably not dying to watch two sub-.500 teams in the replay of a game that originally aired earlier in the day, but that’s about as good as Super Bowl competition gets.
1. NBATV — NBA GameTime, Rockets vs. Cavaliers
For the first half of the Super Bowl, NBATV will broadcast repeats of its NBA GameTime highlight show, but at 9 p.m. ET it will air a game between the Rockets and Cavaliers that should be legitimately exciting. Yeah yeah, it will be a replay from 24 hours earlier, but LeBron James vs. James Harden is still LeBron James vs. James Harden. By Super Bowl Sunday standards, that’s some high-quality programming.