Category Archives: ESPN Is The Devil

At ESPN, cord-cutting leads to another sort of cutting.

It looks like we may be saying bye-bye to some familiar faces.

As more Americans cut the cable cord, ESPN has seen its subscriber numbers drop steadily, forcing Disney to demand cost-cutting from the “worldwide leader in sports.” It’s been widely reported since March that the next big round of ESPN layoffs will hit on-air talent, but now we know more on the timing: the cuts will begin on May 1, sources at ESPN tell Yahoo Finance.

ESPN will part ways with more than 40 people, all of them “talent,” a label that ESPN applies to radio hosts and writers (almost all of whom regularly do video or audio), not just traditional TV personalities. ESPN says it has 1,000 people in the category. Still, you can expect most of the people cut to be faces you’ve seen on TV. In some cases, ESPN may buy people out of existing long-term contracts—as Sports Illustrated points out, that is unusual.

The cuts will mostly be done by May 9, when Disney announces its quarterly earnings, but could extend until May 16, when ESPN presents its annual Upfronts in Manhattan.

As is typical, the spin for this isn’t that Mickey needs to save a few bucks.

In a statement, an ESPN spokesperson said the approaching cuts are about innovating to suit the needs of consumers: “Today’s fans consume content in many different ways and we are in a continuous process of adapting to change and improving what we do. Inevitably that has consequences for how we utilize our talent. We are confident that ESPN will continue to have a roster of talent that is unequaled in sports.”

If you’re trying to be innovative, WWL, you know what’s really innovative?  Silence.  Cost-effective, too.

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UPDATE:  More like 100 are being let go.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil

You can never have enough 6-6 teams.

Adding to its bowl ownership portfolio, ESPN just bought the Miami Beach Bowl. December is saved, college football addicts!

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Signs you shouldn’t take G-Day too seriously

Nothing says for real like “The ESPN officiating crew”.

The amusing thing would be if they did a better job than the regular striped bunch.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football

¡HOLA! México

Welp, this is one way to boost subscription numbers in an age of cord-cutting.

ESPN announced today the launch of ESPNU and SEC Network in Mexico.  The networks will be made available to fans and followers of college sports on Totalplay, the entertainment and total connectivity company offering internet, interactive television and telephone services, with a presence in more than 20 cities throughout the country.  Launched in 2005, ESPNU is ESPN’s 24-hour college sports television network, and SEC Network is devoted to covering collegiate sports in the Southeastern Conference, a college athletic conference whose member institution are located primarily in the Southern part of the U.S.

“ESPNU and SEC Network offer the best of college sports and we are excited to make both networks available to Totalplay customers in Mexico,” said Gerardo Casanova, vice president and managing director, Latin America North and ESPN Mexico.  “Together, ESPNU and SEC Network will immediately offer college sports fans in Mexico more than 1,000 exclusive live events, including regular-season football games, men’s and women’s basketball games, soccer, volleyball, lacrosse, track & field, as well as unparalleled access to news and information shows and original programming.”

I can’t wait for somebody from south of the border to call into Finebaum’s show.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, SEC Football

“We understand the finances that are available through TV.”

Color me a little surprised by the next hill the American Football Coaches Association has decided to assault.

The American Football Coaches Association will begin to ask the NCAA to consider a process adjusting game times that better benefit athletes this week.

Time demands on players have become a top NCAA priority. Coaches and administrators have increasingly complained about teams getting back from road trips in the middle of the night — or early morning — after night games.

AFCA executive director Todd Berry told CBS Sports, “We feel like there are times when you’re traveling cross country or on a long bus ride. If someone is not getting back until 4 in the morning because of a start time, is this really fair to the student-athlete?”

The proposal is preliminary and will be made while Berry is in Indianapolis this week as an ex-officio member of the NCAA Oversight Committee. That committee would have to first consider the measure before it is passed up the chain to become formal legislation.

Berry would not reveal any specifics, but he says there is a detailed plan regarding time zones and when schools return from road trips…

Don’t get me wrong.  This appears to be a legitimate “think of the children” concern and I applaud the coaches for going there.

But.  Still.

Inevitably, any such discussion about earlier game times will have to involve TV partners. Industry sources say such time adjustments are a long shot. The television rights held by the networks allow them to dictate starting times as a way to recoup the money paid to those conferences. The popularity of those games is reflected in ratings and ad revenue.

“These things are all governed by contracts and the quality of the game,” an industry source said. “The reason the game has become as popular as it has, they’re televised in the best possible time slot.”

Another industry source cited ESPN’s stance. The network has loads of programming to fit into a day. If it allowed outside influence to impact game times, the network “would be out of business.”

Yeah, Mickey might have a problem with that.  And since everybody in college football is sucking from that teat — including the coaches, when you get down to it — you’d have to think what’s the WWL’s problem is their problem, too.

In other words, don’t get your hopes up, kids.

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Filed under College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Rise and shine

One other thing about that ESPN spring FPI set of rankings:

Teams on the rise

There are four teams in the top 25 in the spring football version of Preseason FPI that are at least 20 spots higher than their ranking at the end of last season.

… Georgia is up to No. 13 after finishing outside the top 40 in 2016. The Bulldogs return 17 starters, tied for the most in the SEC, and added the No. 3 recruiting class.

It’s another sign that it’ll be hard to make the case for 2017 being a second throwaway year for Kirby Smart.  ESPN’s not buying in.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!

Live, in front of a television audience

The MAC decides to boldly go where no other conference has gone.

You either love MACtion or you hate America. Pick a side, comrade.

While you’re deciding, take a look at the vast array of dates this November when Mid-American Conference football games will be showcased: 11/1, 11/2, 11/7, 11/8, 11/9, 11/14, 11/15, 11/16, 11/21 and 11/24.

That seems like a lot of game days, especially since there are only four Saturdays in college football’s most critical month. November contains 30 total days. Ten of them will feature MACtion.

Guess which day of the week won’t have any?

NOVEMBER IN THE MAC, 2017
NOVEMBER DAY MAC GAMES
TUESDAY 12
WEDNESDAY 7
THURSDAY 4
FRIDAY 3
SATURDAY 0

Imagine being a season ticket holder and seeing this. Now blink, makes some weird noises and imagine how quickly you just decided to stop being a season ticket holder.

There’s only one reason to do that, and, podnah, you know what that is.

It’s not hard to see that ESPNthe MACquietly made a financial decision to transform its flagship sport from a live in-person rite of college life into made-for-TV programming for the masses for the sake of margins. The casual smattering of fans in their stands is set to shrink even more, and the atmosphere that makes November college football so great will be replaced with a figurative green screen, along with literal green.

On the bright side, I bet you can pick up a Tuesday night ticket to watch the Zips play for pennies on the dollar.  Maybe a penny on the dollar, now that I think about it.

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Filed under ESPN Is The Devil, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major