At one time William Randolph Hearst was the most powerful man in America. His vast fortune, ownership of newspapers, and ability to coerce were legendary. It was said that giants don’t fall but Hearst — like Napoleon, Caesar, and Enron — didn’t sustain his invincibility. Much of the same can be said for ESPN.
ESPN provides a wealth of programming for those who watch football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. Scratch the last one because no one watches it or cares about it. Apparently the United States has a professional league but few people can name one team aside from the one in DC.
Anyway, ESPN is now in dangerous territory. It’s becoming apparent to people who watch networks closely, trying to determine their long term strength not measured in dollars but in respect. They are on the verge of becoming irrelevant.
Mocking ESPN is mandatory for many athletes, fans, and bar patrons. From SportsCenter failing to provide adequate clips to absurd ESPN productions providing the type of quality material Soviet era television was known for, the goobers in suits are fast becoming the MTV of the sports world.
It’s a steady decline matched only by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Success followed by failure and someone losing a spleen. It’s getting ugly in Bristol and, coincidentally, at Coach Gruden’s trailer.
It appears unlikely the precipitous slide will halt. ESPN is far too corporate to understand the average sports fan and once alienated, a sports fan rarely forgives or forgets. Ask Bill Buckner. For now the King of the Sports Hill is ESPN, but like so many giants before them they may become a victim of their own success.