ONCE POWERFUL ESPN by ST
Read an article about the declining ratings at ESPN. This is not surprising. When I arrived at The Score in May of 2008, we were an ESPN affiliate but one of my first segments was about including a "G" in ESPN for gossip. I felt the former worldwide leader had lost it's way. Once upon a time it was the sole destination for highlights and insight into the games and athletes we follow. Then along came the individual special networks like MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL & the Golf networks. Of course you had the majors like CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox as players. It seems to me that when ESPN was seriously challenged, rather than hunker down and upgrade the quality of their product, they deteriorated into a TMZ, sensationalistic style. Then you have the repetition insanity. Believe it or not it's been 8 years since they were showing video of Terrell Owens doing belly busters in his driveway as he held out from the Eagles. It then morphed into Brett Farve's version of "should he stay or should he go" and bottomed out with their Tebow coverage.
As far as the faces of the network I think Chris Berman has become somewhat of a caricature. Once a source of unbridled humor and a unique approach, it's gotten a tad painful to watch. When you roll out Skip Bayless on a daily basis you're credibility is going to take a hit and there is no way around it. I'd love to hit him with a shot of sodium pentothal because there is no way he actually believes some of the opinion he expresses. I think the devils advocate, disagree for the sake of offering another side that holds no water is a huge reason they're in trouble. Everything is not debatable. There are not 2 sides to every story. I still love ESPN and will always be grateful for really bringing it all into our living rooms every day and night through all of the sports seasons. The bottom line is like a family member you care about you hold them to a solid standard and when it begins to slip you criticize in the hopes it will provide a wake up call. Look forward to your thoughts on this when we sign on at 3pm for Crunchtime and roll into SportsTalk.