ESPN Promises To Just Focus On Live Events In The Future

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We all know how this went the last time they promised a streamlined focus on the Football part of Monday Night Football, and now ESPN is promising so much more! According to an interview, ESPN's VP of Content John Skipper, conducted with Mediaweek, they're going to focus on "live events"....

“We have found that what sports fans really care about, and why they come to ESPN properties is to watch live games,” said Skipper, the company’s vp of content. ESPN’s Sept. 16 Monday Night Football telecast drew 18.6 million viewers, the largest cable audience ever.

Skipper said he will continue to pursue deals for more major college games, and will look to get additional rights to major professional tennis and golf events when they become available. Reclaiming the National Hockey League is also on his to-do list. The NHL is slated to run on Versus through the 2010-2011 season.

Skipper’s philosophy is a considerable departure from predecessor Mark Shapiro, who he succeeded in 2005. Shapiro started ESPN Original Entertainment in 2001, a unit that produced original series and movies for the network. “We are no longer in the movie business for television,” Skipper said. “We can make 10 documentaries for the same $5 million it would cost us to make one movie.”

Skipper said he wants to run more live sports on ESPN and ESPN2, and stream much of that via the Web and mobile. The network’s large number of SportsCenters, along with shows like College Game Day, will cover those live events and offer news and perspective, along with some investigative reporting.
Well, hey now! Who would have ever thought that people watched a "Sports Network....for actual Sports?!?!?! In all seriousness, in the almost three years I've worked on this site, ESPN started to take a few positive steps forward, and then they'd take one giant leap back. While the above approach is obviously the correct one to take (and may I add....the obvious one), I just don't see it happening. Even though ESPN has made some good programming decisions and hires over the past few years, they still find it tough to get away from the yelling and random panel programs like First Take and Around the Horn.

I'm with them in theory, but until they start cutting some of the fat (ahem*Skip Bayless*ahem) one is really going to really care about Hockey coming back or the network acquiring the rights to the Olympics. People are obviously going to watch the games because they love Sports, but we'll continue to be unhappy with instigators, bias and hyperbole.

Skipper: Entire ESPN Franchise to Key on Live Telecasts (Mediaweek)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 10:15 AM


I agree with you about First Take and Around the Horn, but look at what times those two shows air - one is in the morning and the other in the early afternoon.
I suppose ESPN could move the occasional Premiership or Champions League soccer game from ESPN2 to ESPN to get rid of Around the Horn, but what happens when there's no game?
And who would play live in the morning to replace First Take?
Dedicating an entire network to live sports would be programming hell! I agree that ESPN should trim the fat a bit, but it seems easier said than done.

MarkCiz said...
Sep 30, 2008, 11:00:00 AM  

Does this mean no more World Series of Poker???

Collin said...
Sep 30, 2008, 11:02:00 AM  

In other news, MTV has decided to play music videos.

Dan W said...
Sep 30, 2008, 11:03:00 AM  

I would suggest replaying games from the night before or that weekend like they used to instead of First Take garbage

walnuts said...
Sep 30, 2008, 11:43:00 AM  

That might be pretty cool actually, especially if they could edit in post game press conference material into the game, similar to NFL Replay.

MarkCiz said...
Sep 30, 2008, 12:16:00 PM  

Maybe they could do the same thing for ESPN Classic. I used to love that channel with all the old it's always bowling or American Gladitors or that stupid "You shouldn't blame..." show that was put together like 3 years ago.

Sean O said...
Sep 30, 2008, 2:45:00 PM  

Amen, dan w

Honestly, if this were to happen, it would totally restore my interest and love for ESPN.

Anonymous said...
Sep 30, 2008, 9:47:00 PM  

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