ESPN's Mid-life Crisis

chris carterContributor IFebruary 14, 2009

In 1980, I was driving cross-country. As I tired, both mentally and physically, along a lonely stretch of I-10, I saw a cheap motel up ahead in the town of Wilcox, Arizona.  By the time I checked in and ate, I was overtired. Instead of going right to sleep, I started flipping channels. Even though the hotel was cheap, it did have one of those monster satellite dishes that picked up everything, a luxury back then.

And that's when I saw the first national all-sports network. What was on? Softball. It was crap, but at the same time, I couldn't stop thinking how cool it was to have a sports network.

Flash forward almost 30 years later. Instead of showing softball and sports highlights (when they could secure the rights), now they have  become a self-promoting, self-righteous network, dedicated to the eternal need to publicize what is about to be shown next on its family of channels.

Instead of reporting on the sports story, they try to create their own tales. If they don't own the rights to a sport, don't expect top-notch coverage. There is one exception; they have increased their coverage of MMA, which means it is only a matter of time when they bid and secure the rights to the ever-growing contact sport.

Here's one example of how ridiculous their channel has become. During the airing of NBA All-Star weekend festivities, they were pimping an upcoming event. Could it be racing, college basketball, or spring training?   


It was With music blaring, fast cut editing, and an excited announcer, they tried to sell bassmasters. Let's face it, the demographic that watches basketball could care less about dropping a line in the water, let alone WATCHING a guy dropping a line in the water.

The network needs to move back to its roots, yet show us how it has evolved. Show us sports for what they are; give us the story, without creating the story. Give us competition without fabrication, sports without spots. Some of us watched 30 years ago and thought how cool this could be. I'm still waiting.


    Iconic Sports Illustrated Writer Deford Dies at Age 78

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    Iconic Sports Illustrated Writer Deford Dies at Age 78

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report