It always pains me to write these posts because Sports Center was the show that made me the diehard fan that I am today. Buuuut…..the show is struggggling, and struggling bad. According to Ad Age via Sports By Brooks….advertising on SportsCenter is a joke….

At the same time, interested marketers ought to be wary of sponsor overload. During the course of 90 minutes, that same Friday show touted Corona, “The Comebacks” and Verizon Wireless among its presenting sponsors, plus Gatorade (“Cooler Talk”) and Chevron (“Closing Number”) as segment sponsors. I’m pretty sure I missed a few, too. My point? Without paying close attention — and “SportsCenter” is the default background noise in dorms and locker rooms all over America — you can’t keep track of ’em all. Marketers might want to look elsewhere for undivided attention.

It’s become fashionable for self-anointed keepers of the sports-journalism flame, especially those of us who remember ESPN in its making-it-up-as-they-go heyday, to bash the network and its world-takeover designs. I don’t buy that line of thinking. ESPN still does an awful lot quite well, especially on the web.

I couldn’t have said it better myself. It reminds me of a post I wrote in July on the very same topic after Scott Van Pelt brought up blogs while interviewing Will Leitch….

“People of the Blogging Generation grew up with ESPN being a pioneer in the Sports World. SportsCenter was a half an hour and gave you all the news for that day in a nice little package. You smiled, ate dinner, and watched a good sitcom before you went to bed. It was wonderful.

Now the ESPN Brand and it’s subsidiaries go before the players and the game. That’s what makes the blogging world stand up and scream. And while I know that you’ve just copied the MTV model, money runs the world, and you’re probably not changing back….it just….to use your wording….sucks. It sucks to know that the best show on television ever will never be the same again. It sucks that I have to listen to Chris Berman do games when he hasn’t said something about the ACTUAL game in 10 years.”

Sooner or later all the cards have to be laid on the table. There are amazing people at ESPN who I don’t regularly highlight, but must have taken notice when Dan Patrick abandoned ship. You chosen few are the only talent keeping hardcore fans watching certain programs on the “Leader”, and you deserve credit. I would love to list all of you, but you probably already know who you are.

ESPN’s now giving us Rick Reilly, some amazing games, and a bunch of clowns. Sports Center is an afterthought and that’s pretty depressing if you ask me.

ESPN Becoming The “Rockin’ Oldies!” Of Sports Media (Sports By Brooks)
Enough Show Biz; Let’s Talk About the Game, Any Game (Ad Age)
About That Whole ESPN Radio/Scott Van Pelt Thing (Awful Announcing)

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