A right of Fall passage kicked off last night with the 2015 season of HBO’s Hard Knocks, chronicling the Houston Texans training camp. Hard Knocks is a popular behind-the-scenes look at preparing for an NFL season, with focus on superstar players and fringe guys alike as teams trim their rosters from 90 players that start camp down to a final 53-man roster by the end of four preseason games. If the goal of last night’s episode was to make you think “Whoa, J.J. Watt is an absolutely-unstoppable-workaholic-yet-likable beast,” then HBO nailed it. The Texans also had a little scrum vs. the Washington Redskins in an inter-squad scrimmage. All in all, solid episode.
Also yesterday (per the below tweet), Showtime announced its new show detailing the inner workings of the Notre Dame football team, starting with fall practice and lasting for the entire season. This sparks decidedly mixed emotions.
On the one hand, inside access to football teams just makes for great TV, especially if they nail the workout scenes, the ups and downs of the team grind, and the goosebump-inducing montages that make sports docs great. Throw in the added fraternization of a college team, and this has real potential.
Yet you also don’t need a law degree to see the slippery slope, as the all-access pass to Notre Dame will almost certainly trigger an arms race of sorts for other major schools. They’ll seek to create branded content of their own, in what feels like a thinly-veiled recruiting ploy to show who has the shiniest facilities and best team atmosphere. The fans will win, as they’ll get access to teams they love – and you know there are marketing dollars to be had.
But what about the players? There’s a reason why student is the adjective and athlete is the noun – add these behind-the-scenes shows to the growing list of money-makers that don’t earn college players a dime.
— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) August 11, 2015