You're hot, you're tired, you're sick of summer. Sure, the NFL regular season's just around the corner, but you don't know if you can make it to Labor Day on mixed pairs body building and the LPGA tour alone.

Oh, even a dash of Evil Knievel might help pass the time until the glory days of autumn.

But wait!! CBS Sports and NBC Sports are holding an end-of-the-summer clearance sale on Big-Event Programming!!

TWENTY-SIX HOURS OF THE PAN-AMERICAN GAMES ON CBS!! LIVE!! BRENT MUSBURGER!! GREG LOUGANIS!! KRISTIE PHILLIPS!! BRENT MUSBURGER!! DAVID ROBINSON!! Yours, for a limited time only, FOR FREE. Commercials included.

SIXTEEN HOURS OF THE WORLD TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS ON NBC!! ALMOST LIVE!! CHARLIE JONES!! EDWIN MOSES!! CARL LEWIS!! CHARLIE JONES!! JACKIE JOYNER!! Yours, for a limited time only, FOR FREE. Commercials included.

There can be no better indication of the pervasive power of the Olympics as TV spectacle than the proliferation of these Olympic-style extravaganzas. Cable does it -- WTBS with the Goodwill Games and ESPN with the U.S. Olympic Festival -- and now CBS and NBC weigh in with these offerings. Patriotism sells briskly these days. CBS is in the middle of three straight Pan Am Games weekends; NBC will televise the world championships the weekends of Aug. 29-30 and Sept. 5-6, plus bring us five one-hour late-night specials in between.

Clearly, these Olympic imitators can draw this much attention and money from the networks because of their place on the schedule -- during the slow days of summer. Put them in November and they'd be lucky to command a Saturday two-hour special and 15 seconds of highlights on your late local news.

"Most of us program more with the calendar in hand than with a tremendous amount of imagination," said Peter Tortorici, CBS Sports' vice president, programming. "Sports anthology programming was created by the networks to fill the slow periods . . . We'll do polo, John Madden specials, father-and-son shows, kids' shows, horse jumping. NBC has sports fantasy, sports humor. There was the survival of the fittest show, too. We all try different things."

So, if you regard network-sports summer programming as largely a junkyard of sorts, then the Pan Am Games and world championships are the hidden treasures garbage collectors might retrieve for their unusual value.

"Both {events} plug into things that make the Olympics special -- the compendium of nationalistic feelings, human stories, a variety of stories," Tortorici said.

The Pan Am Games allows CBS, for the $4 million rights fee, a chance to produce a multisport event -- it hasn't done an Olympics since it paid $394,000 for the 1960 Summer Games in Rome -- and it gives advertisers a diversified sporting outlet. Likewise, NBC benefits greatly from its production even if, like the Pan Am Games, the ratings are not very good.

"It's important to us for three reasons," said Sean McManus, NBC Sports' vice president for programming, planning and development. "One, the world championships, in a very short time, is going to be considered a major event; two, it serves as a good rehearsal for {televising the 1988 Summer Olympics}; three, it promotes Olympic athletes for Seoul."

Both big events have their shortcomings. The Pan Am Games, for all their 4,000 athletes from 38 nations competing in 27 sports, really is just a United States-vs.-Cuba showcase. And the world championships, involving 150 nations or so, involves just track and field, with this year's event from Rome getting only same-day taped broadcasts on NBC.

To get more for its money, NBC Sports will expand its Rome coverage to late night. NBC Sports was granted the 12:30 a.m. time slot (for one week) in which "Late Night With David Letterman" usually airs, a move that might alienate Letterman's bizarre fans more than it appeases track-and-field aficionados.

"Other than {people with} megaphones on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza yelling out obscenities and having some loud demonstrators in the streets of Rome, I don't expect a problem {from Letterman devotees}," McManus said. "Letterman will get back at us. He'll probably get the network to preempt the fifth or sixth game of a World Series with a Letterman special."

Letterman fans may complain -- perhaps Charlie Jones will host a viewer-mail segment during the Thursday night show -- but it's hard to find elsewhere the heated competition, patriotic fervor, human drama, soul-lifting spirit and heartwarming stories offered by such events as the Pan American Games and the World Track and Field Championships. Ah, the joys of amateur athletics. By the way, the NFL regular season begins Sept. 13.