B.: Yes. I think that the 24 hour coverage has led to this. You can only show Sports Center replays for so long before people switch to another channel. Unless you're the sandwich shop by my lab who plays it open to close. Also, it seems that they are falling into the CNN/Fox News trap of reporting things for shock value before actually doing research. For example, "Source says Frank Vogel is coaching for is job." Next day Pacers say "Larry Bird's sources say Vogel's job is safe." It's all about viewership. With more viewers, more people see advertisements, and more people viewing ads means more money.
T.O.: I am not going to argue with anything Benton said here. If you are reporting news of any sort 24 hours a day you have to do something to keep people interested. They switch out the order of the top plays from hour to hour, but the problem they run into is that they need to fill a news day. I think they might actually benefit by more programs like PTI and Around the Horn because they break up the Sportscenter need to have more new news. I am not a big fan of day time television, but ESPN actually might benefit from a bit more of it.
M.M.: You guys seem to have summed it up pretty well but I would say ESPN is most like NBC. One of the biggest issues with EPSN is that they have ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN News, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN3...well you get the point. Just like NBC with multiple channels ESPN is not only trying to fill 24 hours of news on ESPN but 24 hours of materials on their other half dozen channels. I couldn't agree with B and TO more about ESPN reporting what will bring in viewership and money. What is sad is it has gotten to the point where they are willing to put their credit on the line. More reliable sources and double confirmation, meaning two sources, should always be used when reporting - not breaking news from TMZ or an unknown source...really?
B.: Yes and they've got it down to an art form. I get sucked in every time something major happens and will have one or more news sites up on my computer at work constantly loading updates.
T.O.: Twitter has made me personally really bad about this, because you have a constant stream of news coming in on it. Whether we like to admit it or not, there is a lot of money in keeping our eyes on the screen, TV or Computer, if they need to sensationalize something and bring on 12 experts and make a huge deal out of something to keep our attention, a smart company is going to do just that.
M.M.: Everyone wants instant gratification but our society always wants gossip, lots of it. If you notice about 70% of the "reporting" ESPN does is either gossip, speculation or hypothetical theories. Only 25% is giving you recaps and the remaining 5% is statistics (that seem to be randomly pulled from some "ESPN" file...how can I verify those stats ESPN?) ESPN is again going for viewership's to bring in the money and instant gratification and gossip brings the viewers.
B.: I think they have over saturated the market some but I think with this much coverage they've also cornered it especially since they are the first major sports network. I don't think this leads to them blowing things out of proportion. For example, you often have Sports Center on ESPN where they are amazed by yet another dunk by LeBron James while they're showing poker on ESPN2. Seriously, though poker does not belong on sports networks. That goes for you too Altitude and Root Sports (local sports networks...see FS Indiana).
T.O.: I don't think they have saturated the market just yet, but I don't think they have a need for another network either. Between ESPN News and ESPN 1, both have a constant stream of sports scores and news. Unless they add a lot of new programming they should be set for a while. But like Benton said up in the first question, I hit a point where I have got to change the channel because the same story keeps getting blown out of proportion.
M.M.: ESPN has over saturated the market with sports that America is interested in watching, listening and reading about on a regular basis. There are plenty of sports that ESPN neglects on a regular basis because it doesn't bring viewers. A few examples include IndyCar racing, F1 racing, college wrestling, soccer (although the coverage is growing) and tennis (gets minimal coverage at certain times). There is a laundry list of other sports as well but let's be honest the big four football, basketball, hockey and baseball are going to be top priority and if a story, no matter how small, comes along it will always win out over a less viewed sport.
B.: I think they are playing to the larger markets especially since they're based out of Connecticut (New York-New England) and Los Angeles. On that note though...I hate how they could care less about the teams between the coasts. It drives me insane because I could care less about the teams on the coasts. They had a lengthy special just so LeFlop James could tell us he was giving a giant middle finger to Cleveland and moving to Miami. If I haven't made myself clear from my time on the blog...ESPN's love of Le(insert something here) James drives me up a wall. It makes my blood boil and makes me consider throwing my TV through the window. Then I remember that I could now by the same TV for fractions of what I paid 7 years ago and just get sad and go back to watching the Cubs (well listening since WGN would rather show America's Funniest Home Videos reruns !#$%@%$!) lose. Getting back on topic and with one more example, Sports Center showed a 10 second clip from the Avalanches 4-3 OT win Saturday night and then switched over to LeBron dunking on the Bobcats (it's Charlotte...these games shouldn't have been close) for 5 minutes. Never mind the fact that the Avalanche managed to tie the game with 53 seconds left. Also, I'm pretty sure every Sunday night baseball game this season has involved a team from either coast with several being of the Yankees/Red Sox/Angels or two of those three (i.e. this past Sunday where it was the Angels at the Yankees). I know it's Jeter's last year and he deserves the attention but how many times do we have to watch them lose...it's almost as bad as the Cubs...almost. All I'm saying is that they better give the Rockies some coverage in August when they retire Todd Helton's number (first Rockie to have his number retired) because it's Todd Freaking Helton. OK getting off my soap box now.
T.O.: I am going to say yes and no here. They pander to the "big" sports markets and by big I don't mean the most loyal or the bets fans but the teams that have the most "fans" and by I mean the teams that are popular right now. Case and point, Miami got a whole heck of a lot more coverage on sportscenter... and well every where else... once they sign LeBron and Bosh. Apparently the easiest way to get on sportscenter and ESPN's nationally televised games to the throw ludicrous amounts of money at free agents and make guarantees of championships, because both of those lend themselves to the big news trend that we are seeing more and more of. Now here is the caveat to all of that, the teams that have the money to throw around on big name players are the biggest cities because those teams have the most lucrative TV deals, so there is some bias in that. BUT Midwestern teams, chicago aside, tend to get less coverage even when they have a talented product on the field. All that said, the ESPN reporters are going to get a little more excited about their teams (they are sports fans too you know), and lets face it, a lot of them live in the New England area which means more and more Boston coverage. And they are going to make big news about the 'contenders" failing to take over the big market teams, but generally tend to overlook the positives of teams in the smaller markets because those team don't matter as much to them.
M.M.: I think you guys explained it pretty well so I will just put it in a little bow. In the end it comes down to money. ESPN has nothing against small markets but the big markets are the "low hanging fruit" and bring large viewership. High profile players bring viewership as well and that is why we hear about them non-stop...all of this leads to advertisements that pay and pay big money.
B.: Right now, I think it's a yes. It's readily available and currently out-competing everyone else. I don't like the adjective "best" when discussing ESPN because they often make me want to claw my eyes out but I can't get Pacer highlights on NBCSports.
T.O.: Fox Sports 1 and NBCSports just aren't made to compete with them. They don't have the money, the big names, or the established track record of success that ESPN has. NBCSports is doing a great job of going after areas that ESPN isn't putting money into (Soccer, Indy Car, etc...) which will give them some success. Fox Sports 1 is trying to take on ESPN head on and that is not a great long term strategy, because to beat the most successful network you either have to come at them from a different angle or you have to be flat out better and Fox Sports 1 right now is not the latter.
M.M.: Unfortunately, yes - there just isn't an equivalent, yet. Fox Sports has done a good job with regional coverage but that doesn't give you national sports news. Fox is so regional that in fact they become slanted but when you live in the area it is enjoyable - like FSIN hosting Pacer games. NBCSports is trying to capture everything ESPN let's drop through the cracks and I utilize them for soccer and IndyCar, otherwise they don't offer anything else. If you want Golf you can watch the golf channel and Turner broadcasting will get in the action, but only for basketball and football playoffs. In the end, for national sports reporting, we are stuck with ESPN.
B. I think the other networks are gunning for ESPN but I still think they're the king of the hill. This is mainly due to the fact that unless you don't have cable at all, you'll get ESPN. So many people get ESPN that they've almost cornered the market. I think NBCSports is the next closest thing because most people get it (formerly known as Versus) but you'll not see baseball, basketball, or football (NFL) on there. What I do like about NBCSports is that you can always catch hockey, soccer, and racing (Indy and F1) which you're less likely to find on ESPN (don't worry ESPN shows that real sport of poker...). Until these other networks can become more available then I don't see ESPN being dethroned anytime soon. Maybe if we had some dragons.
T.O.: I kind of hit on this before but I think FS1 and NBCSN have a little ways to go. They are both going about contending in their own way, but they have got to get a niche of supporters and build from there. NBCSN is kind of doing that like Benton and I mentioned above, but we will see how their long term success pans out.
M.M.: No, not at this point. My answer to question 5 really applies here too. Other sports stations are finding niche areas the ESPN ignores but they know they can't compete with ESPN so they don't try.
B.: If push came to shove I think I could. It'd be difficult to easily access highlights and other things for my non local sports but there are other avenues. In the end it's a love-hate relationship with ESPN. I enjoy being able to come home from a long day at work and turn on Sports Center and get caught up on everything I missed while slaving away in my cave of a lab (click the link for an accurate description of my work space). However, I've yelled at and attempted to strangle (through my poor TV) half the ESPN staff for being idiots. So yeah, if I had to or really put my mind to it I think I could give up EPSN, unless it's during the world cup, because then I only want to strangle Alexi Lalas and certain referees from Mali.
T.O.: If you asked me this question 2 months ago I would have probably said yes with no reservations but where I am currently student teaching I can only access yahoo sports (only checking before and after school and at lunch of course) and it is harder than you think to have to make that shift. While I can find everything I am looking for on Yahoo sports there is less analysis and I like to hear what people are saying about a trade or a game or injury and it is just not as high quality elsewhere. Not to mention that ESPN has the best (with a few exception) play by play and cover guys of all the major networks when watching a game.
M.M.: I couldn't because of baseball. Every other sport I could give up ESPN because I have my teams that I utilize their media outlets over ESPN but since Indianapolis doesn't have a professional baseball team I utilize ESPN for my baseball news. I have other outlets as well but ESPN gives me quick easy access. In all honesty they do that for the majority of my sporting needs but I don't relay on them as much as I do for my baseball fix. Baseball tonight is one of the best decisions they have ever made in terms of programs.