Sports column: A stream of thoughts about streams

Published 11:00 am Sunday, March 3, 2024

Among my many duties as sports editor of The Vicksburg Post is typing up the college football and basketball TV schedules every week.

It used to be a quick, easy 15-minute process. There were approximately 137 ESPN networks to account for, as well as a couple of miscellaneous cable channels, but beyond that it was a straightforward task of see game, type game.

As more and more people have cut the cord, however, and shifted from cable to streaming platforms, it’s become more complicated.

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Cribbing from a master list — the outstanding, which tracks and compiles the listings in close to real time — now requires sorting through dozens of games on an equal number of streaming services and figuring out what to include or not include.

ESPN+ alone airs a couple dozen basketball games a night, in conferences ranging from the Atlantic Sun to the West Coast. Peacock has entered the chat and is strutting around with its Big Ten package. There are streaming services for the ACC, SEC and Mountain West conferences, among others.

FloHoops is flowing. HBCUGo is going.

It’s a dizzying array of viewing options, and trying to boil it down to a manageable list of games that are relevant to our readers in Vicksburg, Mississippi, is challenging. While some services like ESPN+ are widely known and available, finding FloHoops or Midco Sports to get your North Dakota basketball fix is like a twisted Easter egg hunt for small-gym basketball.

And what games and teams do our readers care about? Southern Miss, Jackson State or Alcorn State on ESPN+ are obvious choices to include, but what about other games in the Sun Belt or SWAC? Is anyone jonesing to watch Old Dominion vs. Marshall or UAPB at Alabama A&M? Will they notice or care if Northern Arizona at Idaho State is missing? Or will omitting them lead to a bunch of angry emails because there is a player at Sacramento State who has a cousin who spent a summer in Vicksburg when he was 8 and thus has a devoted fanbase here, and now I’ve insulted three generations of their family by not including their ESPN+ game in the TV listings?

This is the stuff that keeps me up at night.

I like to be thorough, but I also have stuff to do. I don’t want to spend an entire eight-hour work day feeling my brain melt while transcribing TV schedules. There are plenty of other tasks that can make my brain melt. So I guess I’ll just keep plugging along taking educated guesses about what to include or not. And then, when I’m done, I’ll look and see what’s on TV — or maybe Disney+ or Roku or Pluto.

Ernest Bowker is the sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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