New ABC/ESPN Highschool Football All Star Game Upsets Existing Army Sponsored Game

Thursday, December 13, 2007

I think it's safe to say that ESPN probably wasn't trying to undercut the Annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl by scheduling it an hour after it, but that's not stopping SportsLink (the company that puts the game on) to throw around some insults. According to the New York Times ABC/ESPN's Under Armour High School All-American Game will debut with no fans from the 8-year Army sponsored game....

The sudden appearance of a copycat game at almost the same time did not prompt the folks at SportsLink, the organizer of the Army game, to cheer, cheer, cheer for Old Bristol U.

“We felt a bit sandbagged,” Doug Berman, the SportsLink chairman, said in an interview.

That sentiment led Berman in June to write to Robert A. Iger, the chairman of Disney, which is the parent of ESPN and ABC. He held the Army to a higher standard as a sponsor and scorned the cable giant’s “unpatriotic undertaking” merely for the sake of staging a game. He described ESPN’s “attempt to undercut” the Army game as an “effort to undermine our Army.”
Wow. Those are pretty strong words there. I'm pretty sure if you asked the Army if they were bothered they would say that this is America and they're free to do whatever they want. I guess the bigger issue would be if ESPN is getting to players ahead of time and lobbying for them to come over to the Leader's game. That does not appear to be the case....yet. 74 of the 84 players invited have accepted to play in the Army game. I'd be a bit wary if I was the Army group though. The allure of ESPN could eventually pull some kids away from SportsLink.

ESPN Will Take on Army With Its Own High School Game (New York Times)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 3:35 PM


Clearly, there are waaaaay too many Berman's involved in sports.

GMoney said...
Dec 13, 2007, 3:47:00 PM  

espn is already way behind the ball on recruiting for football. great youve got some insider only stuff and douchenozzle pushes friday night lights, but fox sportsnet and cbs college station run programs on recruiting all the time
and now that yahoo has rivals, espn is an afterthought for people who need information on high school ball

(speaking of rivals, check out the big lead for the latest internet traffic ratings, yahoo beat out espn. assuming tbl isnt down)

Mike Georger said...
Dec 13, 2007, 3:57:00 PM  

'undermine our Army'? Really? Because they started a second high school all-star game? I can't speak for the Army (even though Berman just did), but I don't think they fight for the 'freedom of monopoly'. I could be wrong though.

Paterno Lives! said...
Dec 13, 2007, 4:03:00 PM  

Look, I cannot stand ESPN. Probably more than you. But if they're gonna pull this "You're with us or you're with the terrorists" crap on them, I'll be on their side every time. Now granted, it's a douchebag idea probably worse than that lame-ass NBC ripoff of the X Games, but still...

J.J. said...
Dec 13, 2007, 4:18:00 PM  


Fred Morlan said...
Dec 13, 2007, 4:52:00 PM  

In reading the Time's piece, the following thoughts came to mind as I wrote my commentary:

"So before Mr. Berman goes on berating ESPN for bringing competition to his previously monopolistic hold on a high school all-star game, he needs to be more forthcoming about his company and their relationship with the Army. This arrangement had to be consummated under some form of contract. If there is a contract, was it awarded competitively as required in the federal government? Or was there some justification for the award of a sole-source contract for this event? What is the value of the contract and when does it expire? Once these questions are answered in a public forum, Mr. Berman's complaints might fall on more understanding ears."

Dec 13, 2007, 9:38:00 PM  

"I'm pretty sure if you asked the Army if they were bothered they would say that this is America and they're free to do whatever they want."

Is this a joke? Sandomir's story quotes the Army in the article. Did you read the entire piece, AA? Cause if not, that's some lazy blogging.

Anonymous said...
Dec 13, 2007, 11:35:00 PM  

Uhh did you?

"Col. David Lee of the Army Accessions Command, which oversees the sponsorship, said that by serving in uniform, “we believe in freedom of choice, so we welcome the competition.”"

Thanks for reading.

Dec 14, 2007, 1:40:00 AM  

ESPN scheduling a HS AA game on the same day, basically in the same time slot as the existing one is stupid on their part. People know the Army game and they'll watch the Army game. If ESPN wanted to do an AA game, why not do it on another day? I don't know if they're undercutting the Army, but it just doesn't seem like a very sound move.

hulk said...
Dec 14, 2007, 4:45:00 PM  

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