ESPN Apocalypse is today


#81

I disagree.

What’s the pricey on-air talent they fired? Most of the fired people look like reporters to me. The biggest names so far are Jayson Stark, Andy Katz, and Ed Werder (all reporters), and some in-studio folks like Danny Kannell and Trent Dilfer…but SVP is there (and I like him), Stephen A. Smith (who is terrible, but pulls ratings) and a bunch of other yelly talking heads remain.


#82

True, but not resigning Bayliss, Whitlock, or Cowherd leaves them with a much better blowhard percentage overall.


#83

I don’t watch ESPN so haven’t tracked the names really? I dunno, but Stark and Dilfer were the two big names I recalled, and I assumed Dilfer made decent bank for his on screen stuff.


#84

BTW, here’s why the numbers for rights fees just keep getting worse for ESPN:


#85

It’s so weird to me that anyone can claim that ESPN has gone super political or is just starting to mix social commentary into their shows and this is a regression from some kind of sports-only format they had before.

Skip Bayless was on ESPN regularly starting in 1989, was full time in 2004
Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg have been around since early 2000’s
Stephen A Smith mid 2000’s
Colin Cowherd 2004
Chris Broussard started in the early 2000’s

It is absolutely ludicrous to claim that ESPN was not full of social commentary and politics during the rise of the network and through the last two decades.


#86

Welcome to the Culture Wars, people feel put upon if they hear an opinion which differs from their tribe…


#87

I think we are going to hear more about that as the baby boomers become a smaller audience or shrinking purchasing power. I assume that usually it would have happened sooner, but that generation is was so large, and generation X was much smaller.


#88

Hey Trig – do you think that old folks w/ cable passing on and not being replaced by the young is meaningful at all from a data perspective?


#89

Ha, true.


#90

A lot of them were “on-air” on the radio. The big firing in the metroplex was Jean-Jacques Taylor, a staple on 103.3 FM and the ESPN Dallas website. Look at the list of college-focused layoffs, you are seeing a lot of street-level guys who feed stories to the radio and website.

Big Ten reporter Brian Bennett
College basketball writer Eamonn Brennan
College basketball reporter C.L. Brown
SEC football reporter David Ching
College football recruiting reporter Jeremy Crabtree
College basketball analyst Len Elmore
College sports reporter Chantel Jennings
College football reporter Brett McMurphy
Pac 12 reporter Ted Miller
Big 12 reporter Max Olson
College basketball reporter Dana O’Neil
SEC Reporter Greg Ostendorf
Predictive analytics expert Rufus Peabody
Big Ten football reporter Jesse Temple
SEC recruiting analyst Derek Tyson
Big Ten football reporter Austin Ward


#91

Another item for the “bias, what bias” file.

http://www.barstoolsports.com/boston/does-this-look-like-the-face-of-a-convicted-cop-killer-espn-paid-tribute-to-before-laying-off-100-people/

Look, I’m just a simple fan of feminist sports websites. What I don’t know about violent clashes between militants and the police in the 1970s could fill a library. But I’d have to think that when you’re a major media outlet that’s losing subscribers by the tens of millions, drowning in red ink and preparing to end the careers of a hundred loyal employees, promoting cop killers on one of your platforms is not the best business model. Especially for a company that has repeatedly nagged its talent not to talk about politics and put Curt Schilling in the permanent Time Out chair for the crime of reTweeting memes.


#92

I kinda do? But I’ll ask Mike if he’s willing to share what FOX has researched on that, too.


#93

I was not referring to the political discussion in this thread (but i think he does address that somewhat in the article i linked). I was trying to show that they acknowledge there is more talk about stuff other than sports and they plan on keeping it that way. He argues that this other stuff has always been in American sports.
I do not believe ESPN supposed ‘hard left’ had much to do with it. People have many more options now, and at one time the local sports team was a way of being part of the community but that is not as strong of a need nowadays.


#94

Compare the minor amounts of money ESPN saved in its annual budget compared to the BILLIONS paid yearly for NBA and NFL broadcast rights.

And they can’t make money so have to lay of hundreds (lots more behind the scenes not named who got the knife as well).

Gee, you think THOSE BILLIONS might be the real problem with the costs of programming budget?

I put it to you that a LOT of those people who lost jobs yesterday will watch a dozen undeserving athletes in the NBA get max money contracts this summer, earning collectively 120 million more than their non-superstar talents really deserve.

But the NBA got billions so that these people could be fired to save millions.


#95

That seems like an accurate summation of Curt Schilling’s history at ESPN. He was suspended multiple times for both posting offensive things on twitter and talking about them on his radio show. Then would apologize for them like:

And then go right back to doing it. Of course he got fired for that.


#96

I’m not sure what “undeserving” means in this context. The NBA made the best deal they could for broadcast rights and the league has a standing agreement with their player’s union to distribute half of qualifying revenue to the players. So…what are they supposed to do?


#97

Ugh. The response any time anyone complains about pro athletes not deserving what they are paid should be “You should have gotten good at something.”


#98

ESPN’s main problem is that they overpaid for live rights and got locked into bad deals. They overpaid for the NBA bigly. And they are getting completely raped on their NFL deal. I don’t follow baseball but I imagine they are getting fucked there too. Couple this with people cutting cable which directly reduces their bottomline and they have a huge problem that cutting some talent isn’t going to solve.

That said, anyone that thinks they have not taken a hard left turn is delusional. The ratings drop is greater than the subscriber drop and its because most sports fans lean right and they don’t want to hear left wing political bullshit at every turn. ESPN more than leans left. MSESPN is a very accurate descriptor. The average ESPN consumer is a dude that just wants to watch sports. They don’t want to hear about Caitlyn Jenner. They don’t want to hear about how Colin K is the Nelson Mandela of the NFL.

QT3 is not ESPN’s demo. ESPN has lost sight of who their demo is and they are going to be fucked until they figure that out.

edit: The Six is a great example of ESPN turning left. They took the cast of His and Hers and put them in the 6pm Sportscenter and the ratings for that time slot have tanked. ESPN’s demo does not want to hear Jemele Hill’s bullshit in prime time. Google her hot takes. She is absurdly left. The show is so bad that ESPN stopped releasing the ratings. And yet, The Six was cited as a success when they announced the cuts this week. Utterly delusional.


#99

Someone’s utterly delusional here, that’s for sure.


#100

BTW, FS1 has been hurting in ratings and viewers by a larger percentage than ESPN for the past 8 months…and they did a layoff of their own that was fairly sizable back at the end of the summer of 2016 and again at the beginning of this year.

Jemele Hill must be getting her uppity self onto good ol’ Fox, too.