TitleTown USA: One of ESPN's Biggest Flops

Kevin WhitesellCorrespondent IApril 2, 2009

In the spring of 2008, ESPN launched an ambitious endeavor known as TitleTown USA. Fans from across the country were to nominate towns, cities, counties, and sports communities as their respective “TitleTowns.”

20 locations were determined by fan voting and a panel of “experts.” Over the summer of 2008, ESPN’S SportsCenter visited each location with fan voting determining the eventual winner.

The idea of a TitleTown USA is cleaver. However, the process and eventual winner of TitleTown was lackluster.

While I can remember this endeavor like it was yesterday, I had to google the TitleTown winner.

The 20 finalists included,

Green Bay, Wisconsin—Louisville, Kentucky—Gainesville, Florida—Detroit, Michigan—Williamsport, Pennsylvania—Boston, Massachusetts—Los Angeles, California—Columbus, Ohio—Chapel Hill, North Carolina—Ann Arbor, Michigan—San Francisco, California—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania—Valdosta, Georgia—Knoxville, Tennessee—Parkersburg, West Virginia—Chicago, Illinois—Lawrence Kansas—Palo Alto, California—Massillon, Ohio—New York, New York

In looking at each of these cities, the professional, collegiate, high school, and amateur teams in all of the “major” sports in each of these locations are evident.

It was purely a fan’s vote. It is even reported on espn.com’s blog on “Titletown” that the rules were changed halfway through the voting.

While what exactly those initial parameters and subsequent ones were, my question would be how can you compare what a high school football team did the past five years with say uh, the New York Yankees have done—26 World Championships (Got Rings?).

How can you compare Little Leaguers in Williamsport, Pennsylvania to the “Band Full of Idiots” in Boston? Is a case of which came first, the rooster (2004 Boston Red Sox) or the egg (Little Leaguers)? There seems to be no clear-cut answer

How there is answer to which city was crowned TitleTown USA. Drum roll please…

Valdosta, Georgia.

That’s right.

With all due respect, it’s a city rich in high school tradition and oh by the way a powerful Division II college football history.

I not here to disrespect Valdosta, I just believe this idea by ESPN floundered from the start.

No clear and consistent parameters were set and no one outside of Valdosta really cared after the “competition” was over.

Go back to the drawing board ESPN.