I love my ESPN, nothing makes me happier than getting off work, sitting down on the couch and catching the latest Sportscenter. I am also aware that ESPN is responsible for crimes against sports. Did you know Disney became the key owner of ESPN in 1996? Did you know since 1996 sports have been treated like a theme park attraction? The following is my argument for how ESPN/Disney is ruining sports.
Sticking it to the Little Guys
My red flag was raised here with the decision to move Monday Night Football off of free broadcast (ABC) and move it to paid subscription (ESPN). Why is this a big deal? It shows where the heart and minds are of the Disney/ESPN execs. It’s growing more rare but believe it or not a significant portion of Americans do NOT subscribe to cable or satellite. Monday Night Football on ABC was a tradition, but no, ESPN/Disney thought with their wallet.
Premium ESPN (ESPN,ESPN 2, ESPN News , ESPNU, ESPN Classic)
I love my sports but the reasoning behind all the splinter ESPN networks is simple, Advertising Revenue. Disney knows marketing and executes it brilliantly. Why not make ESPN or ESPN 2 relevant 24/7? I could live without reruns of the World Series of Poker, Pro Bowling, or Funny Car Racing.
Sports And Celebrities… It goes together but recently ESPN has blown this concept wide open. Here is what’s cool: Interviewing celebs court-side of Lakers game. Not Cool: Turning ESPN programming into all day infomercial for Disney projects.
Remember when UFC/MMA was so rough and tumble it would hardly get mentioned at all on ESPN? Corporate execs spot a money maker, boom it gets played up. Meanwhile, boxing is left to rot on Friday Nights without even so much of a blurb during the week. Hypocrisy is eased by the mighty dollar. (Not that I dislike UFC/MMA)
Monopoly Isn’t Just a Board Game
ESPN/Disney OWNS the sports market in the US, granted they do serviceable work for the most part. However, conflicts of interest do occur. No other sporting news network can come close to ESPN, the problem is lately ESPN has become more gossip (Tiger Woods, Landis allegations against Armstrong, USC allegations, etc…) If i wanted gossip I’d sit and watch Sex and The City.
There you have it. Leave me comments, tell me what you think!