Elliott Refers To Sports Center's New Format As An Acknowledgement Of Blogs

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Late last night, MDS posted an interview with Josh Elliott and since you're currently doing your homework (and not waiting until the last minute) for the live-chat, I thought I'd link to it and share some the answers. Enjoy Elliot's take on blogs, the nixing of the 6-9am block, Peter King eating pizza and reading your comments....

Why is there a live morning SportsCenter? Don't people turning on the TV in the morning mostly want to see the highlights from the previous night's games? And isn't that what SportsCenter reruns already provide?
It is what the SportsCenter reruns already provide and provide well, but I also think it's perhaps ESPN's not-so-tacit acknowledgment that the blogosphere exists. People want to consume their media, they want more of it, they want it immediately, they want it to feel as new as it can.

We're still going to offer highlights. It's not like we're offering a SportsCenter no one knew existed, but we're going to give highlights hopefully with a little more nuance and a little more insight. We hope to go inside games as much as we can. We hope to have reactions via our analysts and via our local radio affiliates.

ESPN originally planned to do nine live hours but then scaled it back to six. Why?

I really think they just realized that the resources it takes to do nine hours of live television would have been extraordinary. They just reached a breaking point where they had stretched themselves too thin. We are -- I don't want to say stretched thin -- but if a flu bug hits Bristol we'd be impacted. And what we'd intended to do at 6 to 9 Eastern, 3 to 6 Pacific, there wouldn't be the opportunities to advance enough stories to outweigh the costs of going live.

It would have been great. Linda Cohn and Steve Berthiaume would have been great on it, but I really just think they figured out that it was a little too much.

Michael Silver once told a story about you, he and Peter King going out to eat, and it sounds as though Peter can eat an entire pizza in about a minute. Do you have any good stories about the journalists you've worked with?
Peter is just the sweetest guy, and he can just indulge his id at any point. ... So the food comes. And this is PK: He said, "I really need to talk to an African-American assistant coach. A guy who really should be a coach in this league, to talk about the percentage of black head coaches in the league. I need to talk to somebody like Ted Cottrell."

His phone rang 30 seconds later and it was Ted Cottrell, and he takes the phone call, and as he takes the phone call, the food arrives. And Flem had gone outside to talk to his wife on the phone, so Peter sees Flem's pizza, and you can see him thinking, "How do I ask the question so Ted will speak for a long time?" So he reaches over, and he grabs two whole pieces of Flem's pizza, eats them in two bites. It was the most staggering thing I had ever seen.

Are you aware that Awful Announcing and Deadspin will both be live blogging your debut on Monday?
Yes, because I read them all. I read the dispatches about this show, and I read the comments sections. ... You read the comments about yourself and you find out that people think you're a smug jerk and people question your mother's dating history -- to be as delicate as I can -- and it doesn't really impact me, it just sort of intrigues me.
The whole piece (the story, not the pizza) is pretty eye opening but I think those four parts summed up the interview nicely. Elliott also compares blogs the "West Coast Offense" (interesting analogy) and mentions that First Take is still going to be around. That choice still makes absolutely zero sense to me, and I think they'd triple that slot's ratings if they re-aired games, but hey....whatever they think will work (it won't).

Josh Elliott Calls Morning SportsCenter ESPN's Acknowledgment of the Blogosphere (Fanhouse)
AA Announcement: Live Chat With Sports Center's Josh Elliot (Monday, 1:15pm) (Awful Announcing)

P.S.- I've been getting some great early questions from people who won't be around on Monday, so don't be shy. Keep them coming.


I seriously can't wait for this. I'm more interested in how AA is going to manage the haters than the actual answers themselves.

Anonymous said...
Aug 9, 2008, 3:05:00 PM  

What part of my missive deserved to be deleted?
The Cohn movement?
The PG rip?
The PK stab?

matt said...
Aug 9, 2008, 3:11:00 PM  

Sorry Matt. I'm just getting rid of all "gay" (as well as racist and sexist) references now.

You can tell Elliott to comb his f'ing hair all you want.

Aug 9, 2008, 3:17:00 PM  

So your calling me a homosexual?
Look buddy.. I play jogatina, I hang around yardbarker.. Anything you sell Ill buy.
But, whats the point of this interview? To ask him fluff questions? "Whats it like to change programming from 6-9 AM." "What he thinks of Farve?" Or the obvious "How much pizza can PK eat" DUH. ALOT!!
I would hope you put his little ESPN piggies to the fire. Its not often you ( a media critic) can get theese guys one on one. And dont give me the well hes just an anchor B.S. , ESPN is sending him out to sell it. Hes the "face" of ESPN. Nail him.

matt said...
Aug 9, 2008, 3:26:00 PM  

Matt, all understandable questions and here's all I can tell you....

1) Thank you for reading and contributing.

2) I like the general idea of the live Sports Centers and I think it's a good move.

3) This won't be a fluff piece in the least. Both he and ESPN know that there are going to be tough and uncomfortable questions to answer.

4) I completely understand the perception that I'm possibly "selling out" here, but know that ESPN approached me about this first. They know how I feel about most of their "practices" and that nothing is going to change.

5) I honestly just think it's a cool idea and if it goes bad....it goes bad. We'll all just move on.

In conclusion, I guess all I can ask is that you readers and commenters just need to trust me. I'm not forgetting my roots.

Aug 9, 2008, 3:52:00 PM  

You hate ESPN yet you're having a chat with a man who works for the network you hate?

AA blows.

Anonymous said...
Aug 9, 2008, 5:03:00 PM  

I haven't said once since I started the site that I hate ESPN as a whole. I hate some of the things the shove down our throats, but certainly not everything.

How about I continue to blow but you continue to read. Deal? Good.

Aug 9, 2008, 5:10:00 PM  

I'm keeping the faith, AA!

However, if anyone else out there has doubts then I encourage you to comment. I'm thoroughly enjoying AA's responses...

SKK said...
Aug 9, 2008, 5:58:00 PM  

I wonder if these anonymous posters aren't ESPN PODS.

Those type of brain-washed corporate suckups, sort of like Mike Greenberg and this Elliot dude.

AA, can you ask him who he knows at ESPN or Disney that got him that job? What kind of qualifications does it take, or is just a hustle. It's kinda amazing how he comes out of nowhere and lands that gig, when I assume the career path is working your way up the ladder, etc.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to talk to Ted Cotrell.

Hollywood Wags said...
Aug 9, 2008, 6:28:00 PM  

I don't think I've heard AA say that he "hates" ESPN. A sports fan cannot say that they hate ESPN - it has done too much good and provided access to far too many sporting events over the years to "hate" ESPN. Now, the way some of that content gets delivered (see Bayless, SAS, Berman, etc.) and the way some of the content, itself, is manufactured (see First Take, Titletown, etc.)- that is a different story.

I would like to ask him about the contrived nature of much of ESPN's content. Why is it necessary to have some of the mindless features like The Ultimate Highlight, the ridiculous staged arguments on First Take, etc.?

Also - has some of the traditional schtik at ESPN become stale - namely, Vitale, Berman, Joe Morgan? The die hard fans seem to want a fresh voice and more intelligent analysis. How does ESPN evaluate things such as that?

Good luck , AA. I'll look forward to reading it all later on Monday.

Mal said...
Aug 9, 2008, 11:31:00 PM  

I think it's great that ESPN is willing to do this. Basically they are throwing one of their "personalities" to the wolves.

This is an awesome opportunity to hammer on ESPN via Josh Elliott. Let's see if, as a blog reader himself, he will give imaginative and thoughtful answers to more difficult questions, or if he will basically stick to bland, watered down answers and information we've come to expect from our friends in Bristol.

Also, not to try and proclaim AA as the end all, be all of blogging, but I think it shows the progress that the sports world is making towards a more fan-oriented approach sports journalism. Bravo AA, Deadspin, and all other readers/contributors for all but forcing this to come about.

Jack said...
Aug 10, 2008, 1:29:00 AM  

"I also think it's perhaps ESPN's not-so-tacit acknowledgment that the blogosphere exists. People want to consume their media, they want more of it, they want it immediately, they want it to feel as new as it can."

I've been turning to blogs for good sports information for only about the last 8 months or so, and last night I realized just how much influence the blogosphere actually holds now. I was trying to get some information on how some players performed in a preseason NFL game but I wasn't having much luck. The first places I went for info were the hardcore fan blogs. Then I went to Deadspin to see if there had been any preseason live-blogging like with the Hall of Fame game. And I checked out a couple of other general sports blogs, but I wasn't really finding too much. And then I was stumped for ideas. Only then did it hit me...well, maybe ESPN.com or NFL.com has some information. And I had that moment of clarity...the balance of power really has shifted if I was scouring the blogs first, forgetting about the major sports outlets and only then begrudgingly deciding to check them out.

Anonymous said...
Aug 10, 2008, 6:44:00 PM  

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