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ESPN & Fox Sports General Stuff Thread
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corrado



Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Deadspin with a Woj Bomb of their own as ESPN might be getting a very big name:

http://deadspin.com/sources-adrian-wojnarowski-is-close-to-joining-espn-1791830016

That would be very huge. ESPN has a group of NBA insiders, but nobody at the level of Woj and his Vertical stablemates.
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corrado



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not a good day for ESPN:

http://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Morning-Buzz/2017/04/26/ESPN-cuts.aspx

Already longtime NFL reporter Ed Werder announced he got let go.
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corrado



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://deadspin.com/a-running-list-of-espn-layoffs-1794664091

Seems a lot of the hockey folk were let go. Adds to the even more diminshing role hockey has on the ESPN networks.
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Bob Morris



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PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm linking to an article Kevin Draper wrote a few months back.

http://deadspin.com/espn-is-hemorrhaging-subscribers-and-pretending-it-does-1788618362

ESPN's business model is a problem, because it relies so heavily on people who pay for cable and satellite packages that include ESPN but don't actually watch it. Every cable network is like this; the difference is ESPN relies on subscriber fees a lot more than others.

And there's a reason for that: Because ESPN has to pay a ton of money for the rights to various sports broadcasts. Costs for the MLB and NBA games isn't cheap, neither is Monday Night Football and college football and basketball rights are a massive chunk of change.

Throw in some of the other sporting events ESPN wants to air and, while those organizations may not demand as much rights fees as the big four (MLB, NBA, NFL, NCAA), they aren't exactly cheap, either.

I see a lot of people who are celebrating the ESPN layoffs for reasons ranging to the political beliefs of ESPN staff to that they simply don't like a certain staffer, but the reality is that ESPN is trying to run a certain business model that's struggling because the means by which people view programming is changing and, in a lot of cases, people who either didn't watch ESPN or barely watched it are no longer paying for it because they cut the cord.

I don't know what the answer is for a better business model. The sports organizations, especially the biggest of them, aren't going to ask for less money any time soon.
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corrado



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its getting that bad for ESPN, that they're going to simulcast one of the MLB Network's afternoon studio shows every weekday, on ESPN2 . Also shows that despite having a broadcast contract, baseball seems to be a little further back of basketball and football in terms of priorities.

Meanwhile they're getting rid of basketball personalities as well. Including the biggest name, Marc Stein. That's a shocker. Right in the midst of the postseason. Just goes to show that despite the NFL draft, and NBA postseason happening now, nobody is safe at all.

I would guess even though it still seems like a longshot, maybe the Woj/Vertical crew to ESPN rumors will begin to heat up. That's going to be a problem for them and any other high-profile names that ESPN may hire. The scrutiny of replacing others who were forced to step down for their salaries.
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guren



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PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2017 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A few more layoffs were confirmed that included some significant and influential people who wrote about the NBA - Henry Abbott (founder of TrueHoop), Marc Stein, and David Thorpe.

Edit: Chad Ford will be laid off as of June 30. The axes continue to fall.

glenn
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jdw
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2017 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guys like Stark, Stein and Werder are stunning. I can't imagine the bloodbath behind the scenes in the production teams if guys like Stark, Stein and Werder are getting the axe.

They also took an axe to the MLB folks. One wonders if they're going to look for ways to spin their MLB deal off. It runs through 2021 at $700M per year. Of all their deals, it's one that looks to add the least value. It's just filler in the TV schedule between June (end of NBA) and late August when college football starts. Sunday night baseball if of some value as counter programing during football season, but not much at this point. The Mon and Wed games are just filler. One gets that ESPN likes to keep their toe in the game, but their costs of the contract and production aren't cheap for something that doesn't deliver numbers.

There may be some other entity out there who could take the Mon-Wed games off their hands. Or overpay to take the Sunday games off their hands.

They've made this decision before when they let the NHL and NASCAR (twice) go when they felt they were overpriced.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I thought Katz was the biggest surprise. College basketball still draws ratings and Katz is well liked. I can at least see Stark if not for the drop in baseball ratings, but they got rid of the wrong guy because he actually brought excitement and interest to the analysis of the game.

Ed Werder sucks, period. His accuracy rate on his stories is sub-Mendoza line level and he just hid behind the 'that's what my sources told me.'

That's what most disconcerting about the entire thing...ESPN fails to recognize the bigger problem with all of this...the perception of the brand is at an all-time low. Partially because they brought so much political discussion and race discussion, but other factors as well as the shit show they had with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless and other hacks like Scoop Jackson, Ed Werder, Chris Berman, etc.

The perception of the brand was the exact opposite 20 years ago. So the blame for the layoffs goes to the decline in profits and the increased use of digital media, but they are missing the bigger point. And they will continue to hire hacks like Werder, Smith, Bayless, etc. and still wonder why all of the moves they are making to digitalize the product are not working.

They really 'hotshotted the territory' and now have killed it.





YR
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corrado



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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well as it turns out WOJ is heading to ESPN (after the draft in June, despite all of the layoffs (which are still ongoing)

https://www.recode.net/2017/5/1/15503674/espn-sports-adrian-wojnarowski-woj-yahoo

I am glad that he's bringing most of his Vertical group. That is my favorite sports site still. It is going to be quite interesting to see if Woj will do his trademark spoiling the Draft picks before they are announced after this year.


And if he'll be the Schefter of the NBA. THat is him appearing on the various studio shows/Sportscenters. Or like Schefter, he'll have an Insiders type show.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That does explain Stein being let go. You don't need Stein if you're getting Woj.

The company has a lot of love for Brian Windhorst, but his star has been in the past as tied to Lebron as Little Mike Rashaad's was tied to MJ. You do see Windhorst trying to broaden out from just being The Lebron Whisperer, which will be important for a post-Lebron career.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yakuza Rich wrote:
I thought Katz was the biggest surprise. College basketball still draws ratings and Katz is well liked.


I missed Katz in the original round up. That one floors me. I thought he was well liked, he got some nice assignments (like the Obama Bracket), and was all over college hoops. You would think there were other folks they could have kicked aside in college hoops while keeping Katz.

Quote:
I can at least see Stark if not for the drop in baseball ratings, but they got rid of the wrong guy because he actually brought excitement and interest to the analysis of the game.


Stark isn't young at 65 (66 in July). But he's been there since 2000, has been all over the platform, and has been right there with Kurkjian and Buster in the era after 2006 started to slow down after the aneurysm. I get that ESPN is cutting back on baseball expenses, and Tim & Buster are younger. But there are probably classier ways to ease Jayson out. If he had a contract, just reach out now if he'd like to "retire" from full time reporting at the end of it. Ease him back, and let him go out with some class. This was handled in a pretty asshole fashion for someone who had been around for so long.

Quote:
Ed Werder sucks, period. His accuracy rate on his stories is sub-Mendoza line level and he just hid behind the 'that's what my sources told me.'


Setting aside the suck, he'd been around for 20 years at ESPN. Sucking rarely is a reason for someone to get fired there. ;) He clearly was liked by some folks there. He strikes me as a person they could have "allowed" (aka "invited") to look somewhere else for work rather than just laying him off.

One gets the sense that ESPN wanted to:

* as Deadspin's piece put it, "show wall street" that they're taking action on expenses even if it's bullshit and heartless

* lessen the value of some of these folks to avoid it looking lie someone else (Fox) stole them

Wack them, we don't want them, we don't care if they go to Fox or CBS or elsewhere.


Quote:
That's what most disconcerting about the entire thing...ESPN fails to recognize the bigger problem with all of this... the perception of the brand is at an all-time low. Partially because they brought so much political discussion and race discussion, but other factors as well as the shit show they had with Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless and other hacks like Scoop Jackson, Ed Werder, Chris Berman, etc.

The perception of the brand was the exact opposite 20 years ago. So the blame for the layoffs goes to the decline in profits and the increased use of digital media, but they are missing the bigger point. And they will continue to hire hacks like Werder, Smith, Bayless, etc. and still wonder why all of the moves they are making to digitalize the product are not working.


I think the politics aspect is wildly overplayed, as is the race part.

I also think that the Smith and Skip stuff has little impact. I wish it did, but for all the negatives we might see, they have draw in time slots where ESPN didn't draw before them.

The problem *is* cord cutting, along with a younger generation that watches live sports less, and an older generation that is drifting due to a combination of age and Too Much Shit On TV.

Live Sports was the one remaining Must Watch Live thing out there... until it wasn't. Smith and Bayless don't have an impact on fewer people giving a shit about Baseball or College Basketball, or the NBA's season feeling un-ending with few fresh things to sustain it at a time when the LA and NY markets are also dead, or the glut of college football reaching a breaking point.

I think the problem with thinking it's just the ESPN Brand sucking is that almost all sports viewership is down. The NFL remained unbreakable, until it was broken this past year. The NFL's brand is broken? For all the shit that has hit it recently, it's unlikely that hardcore NFL fans care too much about those things for long. The bigger worry is that it just reached a peak, and the viewership declines that are hitting just about every sport hit it as well.


Quote:
They really 'hotshotted the territory' and now have killed it.


It's hard to tell what "killed" is. ESPN still destroys the viewership of its rivals.

It's a bit like me up above saying that no one gives a shit about College Basketball - it's Final Four and Final had a pretty sharp increase this year. I'm bring extreme in my comments. But I think you'd agree that Regular Season and March Madness has less intense focused viewership than it did two decades ago. It has issues drawing viewers, and a lot of March Madness games look pretty embarrassing in terms of drawing. But... the sport isn't dead, or close to dead. If March Madness sustains the level of viewers that it got this year, it's going to get a big contract the next time it's up. Not saying a crazy increase like it has in the past, but someone will pony up cash for those viewers.

ESPN is the same thing. It has issues. It's business model has peaked thanks to cord cutting and changing generations of viewership. But if ESPN is a dead territory, than pretty much all of cable channels and even the networks are dead territories.

That's not really the case. Their old way of doing business has changed. The biggest elements of that are:

* Rights Fees to Sports Leagues
* Carriage Fees from Carriers

They paid insane money to the first on the expectation that the second wouldn't decline, and instead keep going up.

Stephen A isn't an issue on whether the $700M a year that ESPN pays MLB for 90 games a season + 1 Wild Card Game rights is good business or not. He's not driving people to or away from that product. In fact, the ESPN Brand doesn't have anything to do with people watching or not watching those 90 games. MLB's popularity is the key.

I'd say the same for most every sport ESPN carries.

The flip side is that carriage fees are going down because fewer people are getting Basic Cable. The ESPN Brand going to shit would be an issue if they were HBO and people had to pay for it in their cable deal. They don't - it's basic. So it's people pitching their entire cable package overboard, and staring a new. Is ESPN a big part of that cable bill? Sure. But less than people think when it comes to the totality of a $200 Cable + ISP bill.

I'd like ESPN to be less shitty. But their issues are largely industry ones... three industries: the sports industry, the cable industry, and the over all television industry. All three of those have serious issues as the world changes. Since ESPN is a leader in all of those, it's not surprising that they're taking a hit. Others in each of those industries have as well.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jdw wrote:


I think the politics aspect is wildly overplayed, as is the race part.

I also think that the Smith and Skip stuff has little impact. I wish it did, but for all the negatives we might see, they have draw in time slots where ESPN didn't draw before them.


I think the 'liberalism' in ESPN explanation is overplayed although the problem with any branding is perception becomes reality. So while I think ESPN tried to get into Republican politics years ago by introducing Rush Limbaugh to Countdown and Cowherd's obviously right wing leanings and I don't see the an overwhelming sense of liberalism in the channel...that's the perception and now it's become a reality.

I do think they were becoming increasingly along the lines of racial discussion. Just by the very fact they have The Undefeated is bringing race into the discussion of the company. But again...regardless of my thoughts the perception becomes reality when it comes to branding.


Quote:
I think the problem with thinking it's just the ESPN Brand sucking is that almost all sports viewership is down. The NFL remained unbreakable, until it was broken this past year. The NFL's brand is broken? For all the shit that has hit it recently, it's unlikely that hardcore NFL fans care too much about those things for long. The bigger worry is that it just reached a peak, and the viewership declines that are hitting just about every sport hit it as well.


My point is that the regardless of ESPN 'fixing' the business model...they'll still run into the problem that their brand's image is horrendous.

Just like if United Airlines came up with new measures to not beat passengers up that refuse to leave a plane that is overbooked *and* made changes to prevent overbooking...their brand's image is terrible at this point. It takes a long time to overhaul that negative image and start to get people to buy into the product again.

That's what is most disconcerting to me, the widespread failure to recognize that the brand's image is the shits right now. Practically any other business that had seen such a massive downturn in a brand's image like ESPN has seen would make it a top priority to change that.






YR
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corrado



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PostPosted: Wed Jun 28, 2017 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woj officially becomes a member of the ESPN family:

http://espnmediazone.com/us/press-releases/2017/06/adrian-wojnarowski-joins-espn-as-nba-insider/

some good timing on ESPN's part. Starting saturday, which is of course the beginning of free agency.
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jdw
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Updated the thread title so that Fox Sports general stuff can be dumped in here as well.

This is a fitting end to the Embrace Debate asshat Jamie Horowitz who has screwed up both ESPN and Fox Sports:

Fox Sports Head President of National Networks Jamie Horowitz Fired In Sexual Harassment Probe
http://deadspin.com/fox-sports-fires-jamie-horowitz-1796605077

Just a total piece of excrement.
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guren



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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2017 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Does SB Nation stuff belong here, too? If so...

How SB Nation Profits Off An Army Of Exploited Workers

glenn
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