The Ringer has a good look:
But as Ley is fond of saying: Other networks had viewers; ESPN had fans. If that goodwill and emotional capital goes away, does ESPN still have fans?..
…The ESPN layoffs remind me of the gutting of newspaper sports pages that has been going on in fits and starts for two decades. Talk to people who worked for newspapers in the ’90s and they’ll tell you they thought their paper was as “invincible” as the Worldwide Leader. After all, classified-ad dollars were going to keep rolling in like cable subscriber fees. Newspaper writers were going to do good work, make decent money, and cruise into retirement age.
When the first layoffs came, they didn’t take out the loudmouth columnist, just as ESPN didn’t take out Stephen A. Smith. No, the first layoffs surgically removed the organs of the paper — that feature writer graying at the temples; the horseracing writer; the sports TV columnist.
I am one of those who was a “fan” of ESPN in the 80’s & 90’s, and I still like a few shows like PTI and Around the Horn, but I used to be a regular watcher of NFL Primetime, Baseball Tonight, etc.
IMHO, what they’ve truly lost is a connection with the games they cover - they are too much gossip oriented and hyping what’s next to even bother telling the story of what happened in the games. They put together a few star-oriented highlights and then move on to what’s next, rather than going into depth on what happened.
Don’t just give me a highlight reel, tell the story of the game(s) - from both teams’ perspective, not just the winners. Give us more shows like the old Monday Night matchup, and go into that depth on the highlight packages. From a UCLA perspective lately, give me more Lonzo Ball and less LaVar Ball. I could care less what some idiot who’s not even playing said, show me the plays, and the flow of the games.
side note on the political nonsense - they have it correct in the article too:
> if you see someone saying ESPN got comeuppance for its “agenda,” they have, in nearly every case, just revealed their own.