The new journalism

It’s a new low for the World Wide Leader.

As Jim Gray has told it, it was his idea to make LeBron James’ free agent plan an hour special. He took the idea to James’ marketing agent Maverick Carter of LRMR, who then worked with William Morris Endeavor to put the package together in front of ESPN executives.

ESPN didn’t play down one part of the business arrangement of the deal — that Gray, the former ESPN and NBC reporter who is now working on a freelance basis, was James’ preferred interviewer. But the network didn’t say, and now says they didn’t know, that Gray’s travel and payment for “The Decision” show was being paid by the entity set up by Team LeBron and not by ESPN, as CNBC has learned.

If they had a sense of shame, that might actually be embarrassing.

It’s probably giving Craig James a few ideas, though.


Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

19 responses to “The new journalism

  1. Prosticutor

    I didn’t know it was still basketball season.


  2. Doug

    Anyone know what kind of ratings ESPN got out of this? I hope they were a massive disappointment. That may be the only way to shame the WWL into learning their lesson — as much as we’d like to think the mountains of criticism and bad press would accomplish that on their own, it probably won’t make a difference if the network still succeeded in raking in viewers.

    In the end, all we can do is sit back and hope that this sorry spectacle is one day remembered along with the “Heidi Game,” Geraldo’s investigation into Al Capone’s vault, and Jay Leno’s move to 10 p.m. in the pantheon of all-time astoundingly bad decisions by TV execs.


    • Anyone know what kind of ratings ESPN got out of this? I hope they were a massive disappointment.

      They weren’t.

      LeBron James’ one-hour special drew a higher overnight rating than his final game for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      ESPN drew a 7.3 overnight rating for “The Decision” on Thursday night, a one hour special in which James announced his intention to sign with the Miami Heat. The special drew the highest overnight of the night on broadcast or cable, and the top overnight for any non-NFL program of the year on ESPN.

      To put the numbers in perspective, Cavaliers/Celtics Game 6 on May 13 — what turned out to be James’ final game with the Cavaliers — drew a 7.1 overnight, the highest of the NBA Playoffs on cable.


  3. anon

    Eh, whatever.

    They showed like 3 hours of the brilliant “Community” on NBC last night and I inadvertently heard who Lebron chose this a.m. on 960 The Ref.

    The NBA hasn’t been any good in over a decade.


  4. Go Dawgs!

    Despite the fact that a large (but dwindling) number of sports journalists whom I respect still work there, ESPN is no longer a journalistic outlet. It’s about entertainment.

    I mean, SportsCenter has a segment called “Cold Hard Facts” sponsored by Coors. A “six-pack” of questions is asked to a panel. The questions are not factual. They are all opinion (ex: “What is the biggest challenge facing the Heat now?”). The panelists give their opinions. As facts. And it was all created just for the beer sponsorship.

    ESPN no longer reports events. It brokers them. It helped broker this LeBron special, just like their “reporting” has put a gun to LeBron’s head the last four years basically forcing him to leave Cleveland by reporting it was going to happen for years. ESPN actually schedules opponents for college football teams now. They help teams find opponents for marquee match-ups (televised you-know-where) in prime time. It’s a joke. They really do control most of the sporting world. And, it’s getting worse.


    • NCT

      “Despite the fact that a large (but dwindling) number of […] journalists whom I respect still work there, [almost any major news organization] is no longer a journalistic outlet. It’s about entertainment.”


    • Puffdawg

      “…ESPN is no longer a journalistic outlet. It’s about entertainment. ”

      You do know what ESPN stands for, right?


  5. DavetheDawg

    One can only hope that when the Supernova that is Chris Berman finishes expanding, then explodes, then collapses into an eventual black hole, everything ESPN will be sucked into the Abyss for ever and ever and ever. Amen.


  6. Does ESPN have something against the entire state of Ga., Not just UGA & CMR?
    Except for the Masters I never hear anything positive.
    Example: After The Braves beat Philly, all the TALK was about how tough Philly would be in OCT. I get the same impression any time any team from the state s/b in the spotlight. Just Saying.


  7. JC in Powder Springs

    Unless there’s an actual game on, I don’t watch ESPN. Can’t stand all the blabbermouths. This time of year I can watch the Braves or usually find something more interesting on a variety of other channels – the mountain sports network, MLB, NFL, CBSC, comcast sports, versus, FSN, fishing/hunting shows, etc.

    The only guy at ESPN who really liked the Dawgs was Trev Alberts, and he was fired a few years ago.


    • Paul

      Yeah that Mark Schlabach guy can’t stand the Dawgs. Infuriating!


      • Puffdawg

        Schlabach’s problem is that he’s the only one working for ESPN who tries to maintain some credibility by remaining objective. Rece Davis is about the only other person there who tries to appear neutral.


  8. Pumpdawg

    Who’s Lebron James?