Sports Programming is Pretty Awful

sports network

You know whats the worst?

Having to watch literally anything else sports related anymore that isn’t live sports.

And even that is getting pretty terrible depending on what you’re watching on… but we’ll talk about that in a little.

Have you sat down and actually watched ESPN programming lately? It’s bad. Real bad. I know this isn’t anything groundbreaking or controversial necessarily…but…why? Why are we not more up in arms about the fact that sports, one of the most exciting parts about life, a subject that can literally be discussed, dissected, and just argued about all day, everyday, all year…is so boring and cringeworthy and bad?

I get it…everyone wants to have the next hot take *shameless self-promotion* and get their own name big…but do we really need something called “The Six: Sportscenter”? Where music, movies, pop culture, and more is discussed? On ESPN?

First Take and whatever the name of Skip Bayliss’ new show is…forget it. They’re garbage, headline-only-grabbing, nonsensical arguments. Everybody knows it, everybody makes fun of it, but nothing changes.

I am somebody who can handle change, and if it’s change for the better, then absolutely! But how did Sportscenter go from the hip, cool show you could watch all day and talk about with your friends and watch wherever you were, to…essentially a low-grade, high budget pop culture, cringy, meme show that takes a moronic approach to sports and stories rather than focusing on sports journalism and impact stories? Stories people want to see and hear?

Don’t tell me it’s because those stories are hard to find and are rare.

A good story only takes a good journalist to find.

I’ve worked in sports broadcasting for a pretty long time now, given my age. I’m not going to act like some sage or like I know what people of my generation (the generation ESPN is TRYING to attract) want to see or like to see, but I’ll tell you…it ain’t what they’re showing.

ESPN really did a good job of shooting its own stock in the foot, and going from the sports authority, to low-brow, frat boy, ride-whats-hot-and-exploit-it pop culture show:

Drake is at a Raptors game? Lets only talk Drake for the NBA playoffs.

LaVar Ball said that football is for people who couldn’t play basketball? Who is LaVar Ball besides a good NCAA freshmen’s dad?

Oh, he’s a storyline.

Why? We made him into one.

One word, one letter: Lil B.

Am I making any sense? Or are we all just content with watching this same garbage over and over again?

Maybe it sounds like I’m picking on ESPN, which, maybe I am. After all, they are the “World Wide Leader in Sports”. Though, leading by example is usually something I would expect of a leader. And when competition arose, legitimate competition, they decided to play to the lowest common denominator: less-than-casual sports fans.

Which is fine. If you find a niche and can exploit it, that’s a smart business move.

However, ESPN is far from a smart business, and I don’t even need to try and explain that. Their financial numbers and reputation take care of that for me.

When your only reputable, good show left is the latest show you have (shout out Scott Van Pelt), you might need to realize why people are liking that show so much, and maybe try and emulate that formula?

You know why SC After Dark works? It’s sports. It’s humorous. It’s light. It’s what Sportscenter was. Scott Van Pelt gets that, and he does a fantastic job of juggling everything to bring people what they actually want to see.

You know, actually listening to and catering to your audience?

I digress.


The last few Monday nights, after getting out of my Sports Broadcasting class at 10 P.M., I’ll come home and see Major League Baseball on ESPN on.

I like baseball, I can watch baseball, I’ll listen to baseball on the radio. I like the game itself, but the presentation needs to boost up the game.

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, please do NOT watch Baseball on ESPN.

I think ESPN does a fantastic job of making baseball seem even more boring than it is. Broadcasters who barely seem like they want to be there. Even in three-person broadcast crews, if there is a word said in 45 seconds, I get excited.

At that point, I’d rather you just doubled-down on the crowd microphones and let me listen to crowd noise, and get the real feeling of being at a game, then hearing somebody say “3-2 pitch…” *wait 40 seconds* “we’ll do it again”.

base.jpg

You’re most likely contemplating a nap at this point of the game

I called 42 games of baseball last summer (alone), for a collegiate summer baseball team. One of the most common things that people who listened to the games (there is a niche for collegiate summer baseball) said was how they enjoyed how fun I made the games sound, no matter the score.

Isn’t the idea of broadcasting sports to match the tone, intensity, and excitement of the sports? This isn’t me trying to stroke my ego or say wow I know what the people want.

However, if your first pitch is going to be at 8:07 P.M., I don’t want to be ready for bed by 8:36 P.M.


Let’s talk about Hockey.

Have you been able to watch it on your TV?

Maybe. Maybe some games at least.

By the way, it’s the playoffs. I would certainly hope, as a league, you would try and get your games locked down on a national network to be most easily viewed by fans.

This however, is not your father’s sports league.

I don’t own the NHL Network, which is a discredit to myself perhaps and not the league, but why can I not watch a premiere playoff battle without paying for an alternate sports package?

cbj

You probably couldn’t watch this game because you’re stupid and poor

Could you imagine if the NCAA Basketball Tournament was on a premium-membership channel? There’d be riots. I get it, I get it. Apples & Oranges. But you really can’t lock down some national network besides USA and NBCSN to broadcast your games for everyone?

This is ludicrous. You should be absolutely doing everything you can to exhibit these games and showcase your sport at a national level when the only other things going on, especially right now, are NBA Playoff qualifiers being settled, and baseball just starting up.


What’s my point? Why do I care? Why should you care?

Sports and Sports Broadcasting are supposed to be some of life’s most enjoyable pleasures. Big calls, huge events, monstrous plays…and just the enjoyment of easing away from the monotony of life’s daily routines and events.

Stop ruining sports for all of us, we want to still be excited about it.

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