Obviously Cam Newton’s “flipping touchdown” in the Carolina Panthers win over the Houston Texans was very impressive. But it’s even more exciting when you hear the play-by-play call in Spanish. Man I wish I remembered some of my two years of Spanish from high school. I did make out Superman, touchdown and the ESPN theme song though!
As we get closer and closer to the start of the World Cup, the ESPN PR machine is in full promotion mode. Try to watch the Worldwide Leader for 30 minutes without seeing some sort of soccer story. Of course this is because ESPN has the rights.
Meanwhile the NHL Stanley Cup Finals are under way but good luck seeing any extended coverage of what some believe is the most exciting postseason in sports. Of course ESPN does not own the rights to the NHL.
This leads to the ongoing media debate of the role and power of ESPN. Are they a sports news operation? A promotion machine? Is it both and how should the two be balanced and do they conflict?
In this day and age it all cross pollinates. For most sports media companies, whether it’s television or radio for that matter, there is an obligation of coverage to the sport or team the entity paid to gain their rights. ESPN dished out $100 million for the English-language rights to the 2010 and 2014 World Cup’s. That’s a large sum of cash so like any business ESPN wants to capitalize on their investment. That means features, stories and opinion woven throughout their sports “news” programs with the hopes that it will drive more people to watch the matches. ESPN I’m sure will also argue that there is a higher demand for the World Cup than the NHL.
Whether you agree with that assessment or not ESPN has the power to make that decision due the dominant position they own in the sports media landscape. They have been the pioneers of blurring the lines between sports journalism and promotion in pushing their “sports” agenda. And we as sports fans just have to accept that and clearly we have considering ESPN has yet to have a true viable competitor.
And for those of us that would rather see coverage of the Stanley Cup Finals over the World Cup on ESPN, you’ll be happy to know that Fox Sports spent around $425 million to get the English-speaking rights to the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. Maybe by then ESPN will have regained the rights of the NHL and the coverage tables will be turned.
Hat tip to Ben Criddle on twitter for the picture that pretty much sums up one of the many differences between the two sports.
How can you not like this kid? Less than a week after he suffered a gruesome broken leg Louisville’s Kevin Ware appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to present The Top Ten list. Letterman interviewed him before where Ware says the injury was like something out of Texas Chainsaw Massacre. He then presented The Top Ten list which of course was very funny. The list starts at the 4:45 mark.
On the MLB Network legendary broadcaster Bob Costas went “gangster” (is that what the kids are still saying these days?) by quoting rap lyrics from Ludacris. Responding to Jay Z becoming a sports agent, Costas told Brian Kenny and Harold Reynolds on MLB Now that it was Ludacris was the first rapper to “name check” him. He then goes on to “rap” the lyrics. Classic Costas.
This is the ultimate nightmare of a sports play-by-play broadcaster. Washington Wizards broadcaster Steve Buckhantz thought Trevor Ariza’s shot from the corner at the buzzer was the game winner over the Detroit Pistons. He got excited using his signature call, “Dagger.” Turns out it was just an airball and the Wizards lost. Kind of sums up the Wizards season doesn’t it?
Something you don’t see and hear often. St. Louis University Billikens radio play-by-play man Bob Ramsey said a referee’s call was “cheap” during the broadcast of a game against VCU. Apparently the ref heard him and then confronted him while he was live on the air. Love the fact Ramsey essentially dismissed him.
So I am in Phoenix for an extended weekend to see the family and as I’m channel surfing Sunday night I stumble upon this–Charles Barkley doing the weather. In typical Barkley like fashion it turns out to be entertaining and much much better than a normal forecast. The downfall is Barkley was just reminding me how crappy the weather has been and how it will improve as soon as I leave to return to cold and snowy Salt Lake City. Good times!