The football season is upon us, which means that in between shopping, traveling, cooking, hanging out with family, and other holiday-related activity, sports fans are trying to cram in multiple college football games over the next few weeks. The post-season series of bowl games is a daunting one, but it’s fun to imagine what it might be like to simply travel from game to game, taking in the sites — a fantasy CBS Sports is indulging with its new sports-focused series Bowl Bound.
A co-production with brand partners Nokia and Tyson, Bowl Bound follows two teams of sports junkies, who have split up the post-season games and are road-tripping from event to event producing video, photos, and text entries in close-to-real-time. It sounds like a fun idea for a series with a lot of potential — too bad that the execution is a complete and utter fumble.
First off, the content is hosted exclusively by CBSSports.com, and navigating the official website means diving into a hot mess of barely functional and browser-crashing Flash maps and Windows Media Player video, riddled with 404 errors.
Also, while a series like this is conceptually based around the people behind it, the personalities of the four men involved are disseminated unevenly throughout the site. For example, while Ryan and Michael, who are tackling Route 1 of the trip, are making good use of their blog (I would link directly to it, except that that sort of linking is made nearly impossible because of the site’s architecture), Brody and Dana of Route 2 have barely touched it. Not a lot really comes out of the videos, either, except for the odd moment of goofing around on tour buses. Also, a road trip project like this is a natural fit for Twitter integration — yet completely improbably Bowl Bound has ignored the possibility. It’s like Web 2.0 never even happened here.
And what about the actual video content — essentially the site’s complete raison d’etre? Well, the segments are well-produced, though the videos being produced are strictly pre-and post-game focused, which, while they include some decent interviews with the game’s key players, don’t really offer much value to anyone who didn’t actually watch the games in question. Which is fine if the specific target for these videos are devoted football fans, but eliminates the possibility of bringing new audiences into the excitement.
Not that that’s too much of a possibility, honestly. If you want to watch any of the video on this site, you have to REALLY want it.