ESPN's Most Annoying Features Also Its Most Popular

Monday, December 31, 2007


It's the end of a crazy year in Sports and ESPN was/is obviously the leader in the AA clubhouse for number of mentions over the 365 days. I've been through the reasoning before so we won't go back into that, but I did want to bring a few things to light.

The two things I harped on more than any other this year, the Who's Now segment and Monday Night Football, were not only the most annoying things the network put out in the world, but also very very popular.

Monday Night Football is still a joke if you ask me. While it was better than last year it's still a collection of randomness highlighted by a few insights from Ron Jaworski. I'm sure 95% of America wouldn't even think about complaining if Tony Kornheiser was send out to pasture, but I don't see that happening. So the question is if everyone can't stand the program why was it the most watched series on Cable this season?

ESPN’s second season of Monday Night Football was the most-watched series on cable television in 2007, set an all-time viewership record and drew the four biggest cable household audiences and 16 of the top 20 this year. In two seasons on ESPN, Monday Night Football has registered nine of the top 10 all-time biggest household audiences in cable history, led by the Patriots-Ravens telecast earliest this month, which attracted cable’s largest household audience ever.
In a year that most of the games on MNF were not interesting matchups at all it's an amazing feat that they pulled of such high numbers. While those numbers were huge for the network they didn't shock me as much as this...
Who's Now was far and away the top search of 2007 (receiving more than six times as many searches as the second-place top search). As noted in ESPN Ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber's column, there were nearly 5 million votes cast throughout the tournament and more than 370,000 were cast for the final vote between Tiger Woods and LeBron James (Eldrick won with 65% of the votes if you were wondering ... and I know you were).
The most annoying, pointless, irrelevant, and stupid programs ever put on television was the most searched topic on ESPN.com? You have to be kidding me.

There's more to come on this during the AA Year in Review next week, but I wanted to get your thoughts on this.

'Who's Now' a Huge Success for ESPN.com (Fanhouse)

(Other source: ESPN PR)

9 Comments:

"It stinks!"--Jay Sherman

GMoney said...
Dec 31, 2007, 11:15:00 AM  

MNF was a top 20 show on a broadcast network. It would have been shocking if it wasn't the top rated cable show when it moved to ESPN. Imagine if CSI moved to TNT, so that new episodes were on TNT now instead of CBS. CSI would easily be the biggest cable show around.

So, while it's definitely a good sign for ESPN that MNF has been successful, it's not really that big of a deal. It would have been a much bigger deal if it had really tanked.

As for Who's Now, how could it not have been the top search? If you put the full force of the ESPN conglomerate behind an idea, it's going to be the top search no matter what. That doesn't speak at all to the quality.

RJ said...
Dec 31, 2007, 11:15:00 AM  

The most popular stuff ESPN.com is known for is on the homepage (ie Simmons). There is no reason to search for the things you need on ESPN.com because they actually do a good job at putting it one click away. Personally I am on ESPN.com everyday and I have never once used the search bar.

The Rick said...
Dec 31, 2007, 11:27:00 AM  

It's just ESPN being ESPN. I was amazed when I was looking at all of the comments for the Who's Now stuff in that sidebar. I can't believe people would take something so stupid and run with it like that.

ESPN's philosophy is take a phony concept, add a bracket, and you have a segment.

Eric said...
Dec 31, 2007, 11:50:00 AM  

People ask me why I continue to watch ESPN when I hate it so. Well...maybe it has to do with the fact they have the tv rights to most every sport out there. I have learned to only tune in for actual events and stay away from SportsCenter (unless the sound is down and I'm just reading the ticker) and the other stuff they crank out. I can't explain why "Who's Now" even saw the light of day let alone anyone care about it, but as for Monday Night Football...I agree most all of America would assuredly wish Tony K away if they could. As for all of these record-setting MNF telecasts, it is under the category of "cable." I wonder how many people watch Monday Night Football on ESPN overall from when it was "over the air" on ABC.

Sportsattitude said...
Dec 31, 2007, 12:34:00 PM  

Who's Now was pathetic and was the last straw. At that point I went from watching it everyday to never. I still watch things like College Gameday and Baseball Tonight and ESPNNews.

Who's Now must appeal to the brainless idiots out there. We have to realize this is a world where Survivor and Brittney Spears have been popular. Algore won a Nobel Peace Prize for scaring people about the weather. Many people plan on voting for Hillary. None of this makes sense but it keeps happening.

Anonymous said...
Dec 31, 2007, 1:27:00 PM  

MNF makes sense since it is MNF and people will watch no matter how bad the coverage is. Who's Now shows how stupid and gullible people really are.

ESPN now is in the business of creating its own hype and controversy just to report on it. Who cares if Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso believe that Oklahoma would win a college football playoff? They couldn't predict (like everyone else) Stanford-USC, Appalachian State-Michigan and Pittsburgh-West Virginia correctly.

Anonymous said...
Dec 31, 2007, 1:38:00 PM  

I'm probably stating the obvious here, but doesn't this just prove that there are a lot of people out there that will always watch MNF, no matter who's playing or who's talking? They could probably put on any announcers, with the absolute minimum of competence or personality, and it wouldn't make a difference.

kushiro said...
Dec 31, 2007, 1:39:00 PM  

As for MNF, it's the NFL, and we love our pro football. 3 pissed off howler monkeys could call the game, and people would watch.

As to how the popularity of "Who's Now?" can be explained? To generate hype ans ratings, ESPN knows they often have to appeal to the lowest common denominator and the very casual fan. "Who's Now?" is a prime example that proves no one ever went bankrupt underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

Big Al said...
Dec 31, 2007, 2:11:00 PM  

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