Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil

ESPN clown car down for repairs

SI‘s Richard Deitsch reports that Lou Holtz is out at ESPN.

SI.com learned over the weekend that ESPN has parted ways with Lou Holtz, who had been a college football studio analyst with the network since 2004 and worked most notably with host Rece Davis and analyst Mark May on ESPN’s Saturday College Football Final pregame, halftime and postgame studio coverage. Holtz was also a regular contributor to SportsCenter and ESPN Radio. The decision, according to sources, was closer to a mutual agreement between the parties than Holtz getting forced out. The 78-year-old said last May that he would retire from broadcasting after the 2014 season though at the time the network said Holtz had not informed them of such thinking.

Asked why it parted with Holtz, an ESPN spokesperson said via email: “Lou brought a champion’s perspective and a legacy of accomplishment to our coverage along with his distinctive style and humor. We appreciate his contributions and wish him all the best in the future.”

While the normal reaction from a college football fan with a functioning brain to news like this would be something on the order of “jeez, what took you so long, Mickey?”, Deitsch gives us a dose of unintentional hilarity with this:  “There are plenty in Bristol who knew the Holtz-Mark May shtick was long past its shelf life and this is a good time to change things up.”

Oh, really?

I don’t know how anyone up there could have gotten that impression.  And I don’t have much faith that the same people in charge who thought crap like that was worth broadcasting regularly are going to do a bang up job with the retooling.

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“Are You Willing To Pay $36 Per Month For ESPN?”

Given how few other channels I regularly watch on Dish, in essence, I already am.

The amusing part of the linked article is this:

Michael Nathanson, of MoffettNathanson Research crunched the numbers to see how much it would really cost to create an a la carte world where consumers only had to pay for the stations they wanted to watch. Looking at “reach” (defined here as the percentage of U.S. viewers watching an individual channel over a finite period of time) and subscriber fees (the price per subscriber a company like Comcastpays to a network like ESPN to carry the network) Nathanson found that users would have to pay $36.30 per month for ESPN.

Of course ESPN is an outlier. With a $6.10 subscriber fee (paid by cable companies) ESPN is far and away the most expensive network.

But even less expensive networks like TNT, Disney Channel and USA would be pricey on an a la carte basis.TNT would cost $8.95 per month, Disney Channel would cost $8.25 and USA would cost $5.45 per month.

Those number are, of course, ridiculously high and they’re even worse when you look at what people believe they should be able to pay for something like ESPN a la carte. Beta Research found that the perceived value of ESPN to viewers is $1.45 per month — a $34.85 difference between what they would actually be asked to pay.

So your average rube undervalues what ESPN currently costs in a bundle by a factor of four.  Yeah, I’d say somebody’s in for a bad case of sticker shock if unbundling cable ever becomes a reality.

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On the day after, they rested.

There’s lots of backpatting in Heather Dinich’s piece about the Lords of the CFP resting on their laurels.

“We got it right,” Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said.

Of course, she spends most of the rest of the article discussing changes they’d like to see.  (Well played, ma’am, even if there’s a little shooting fish in a barrel element to it.)  The obvious one is postseason expansion, for which they’re currently opposed, but as nobody takes that seriously for the long term, we can just skip past that.

The real test coming of their collective manhood is fairly trivial, except for one thing.  See if you can guess.

The majority of commissioners said the only significant change in 2015 should be fewer than seven weekly rankings. When the rankings were initially discussed, it was proposed they would be released every other week.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby said he would ask the group to consider “a poll midseason, a poll at Week 9 and a poll at the end” to avoid “the abrupt fluctuations you sometimes had this year.”

Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson said he would suggest three or four rankings and releasing them every other week in November, before the final ranking in December.

“That’s really the only change I would hope we have a conversation about in April,” Thompson said. “We don’t need seven. I know ESPN likes seven. It’s great ratings, but there’s other ways you get around it. It’s good information because all week you can argue back and forth … so it’s all good for the sport. But they don’t mean anything, quite honestly.”  [Emphasis added.]

There’s the old eight hundred-pound gorilla in the room.  Hey, Craig, most people knew they didn’t mean anything last season and that didn’t stop the WWL then.

The reason they want a change is because of the one area of unease from last season – the debate over Baylor and TCU.

“The issue was with what happened with the TCU situation: winning 55-3 and going from three to six [in the Week 16 rankings],” Aresco said. “We can talk about whether there should be continuity week to week, as opposed to starting from scratch. It’s a debate. I don’t know how I feel, myself. It’s something that publicly was one of the criticisms of the committee’s process because is it fair to the kids who think, ‘OK, we’re No. 3, and we win 55-3. We’ve been very impressive, and we fall all the way to six’? That one is something we have to talk about.”

Here’s the thing:  if you’re really serious about this whole “they don’t mean anything” bit, why do you need any rankings at all before December?  I think we all know the answer to that.

In the meantime, I look forward to another interview with Thompson in which he explains how you can become a little bit pregnant.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

Wednesday morning buffet

Let me light the chafing dishes… ah, there.

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Filed under ACC Football, College Football, ESPN Is The Devil, Recruiting, SEC Football, Stats Geek!, Urban Meyer Points and Stares

Sling it.

DISH Network’s latest baby is getting to be a more attractive call for the SEC fan with this news:

Core package ($20/mo):
ESPN, ESPN2, AMC, TNT, TBS, Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, CNN, El Rey, Galavision, Maker Network

News and Information Extra ($5/mo):
Bloomberg, HLN

Kids Extra ($5/mo):
Disney Junior, Disney XD

Sports Extra ($5/mo):
ESPN News, ESPN U, SEC ESPN Network, ESPN Buzzer Beater, Universal Sports, Bein Sports

So 25 bucks a month gets you most of the ESPN package, along with the SEC Network.  Hmmm…

(h/t TSK)

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Now this is awkward.

There’s something highly amusing about an ESPN reporter seeking comment from ESPN about Bill Hancock telling ESPN to stuff it over the idea of moving the semi-final games to a more viewer-friendly (i.e., higher ratings) January 2nd date.

A representative for ESPN declined comment.

Public comment, anyway.

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The happiest man in Bristol, Connecticut

I don’t know about you, but if I were Rece Davis this morning, I’d be on my knees profusely thanking everyone responsible for this decision.  Hell, I’d probably sacrifice an animal and make a burnt offering to whatever broadcasting god I pray to for getting me out of an embarrassment like this:

Sadly, someone is now going to have to step into the role he’s vacated.  Er, make that the robe he’s vacated.

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