Taking care of business

I just realized that I haven’t checked ESPN.com in ten days or so, and that the only show I consistently watch on the actual channel is Pardon the Interruption. Unless they have a good game going, I rarely spend quality time with the Leader anymore. And, as badly as this might reflect on my social life and upbringing, losing my connection with ESPN is like losing a family member. Maybe a third cousin. But still blood.

My immediate response to that was: why can’t ESPN put out the best product possible and stomp all the lesser-funded e-competitors? Why don’t I need to get my sports news and commentary from ESPN anymore? Why isn’t ESPN the best anymore?

But then I started thinking about a parallel with the auto industry.

After dismissing some of the illogic behind the “US Autoworkers make 73 dollars in cash every hour!” claim, one NY Times writer then fell back on the equally prehistoric and muddled explanation that people stopped buying American cars because “…many Americans no longer want to own the cars being made by General Motors, Ford and Chrysler.” He ends with some fake empathetic pandering:

It’s a sad story, in many ways. But it can’t really be undone at this point. If we had wanted to preserve the Big Three, we would have bought more of their cars.

ESPN dominates the airwaves because the initial costs of getting into the TV industry and getting broadcasting rights are very, very high. But every fool can start a website and steal the dot com’s thunder. Likewise, the US automakers’ business myopia and management failures were compounded by the simple fact that a lot more companies figured out how to profitably make cars.

The answer to “why don’t more of us have Sony TVs anymore?” isn’t, “Because no one wants to buy Sony.” No company can dominate market share eternally in a competitive industry, not GM, not ESPN. That’s ultimately good for consumers, but bad for companies that refuse to expand their markets or portfolios or vision for what their business can continue to do or be.


6 Responses to “Taking care of business”

  1. matt Says:


  2. zachary Says:

    espn sucks thats why. its like mtv in the mid/late 90s shows some videos but ultimately wants to make you into an mtver /espner.

    both created many offspriong. mtvj mtvh etc. espn2 espn3 espnnews.

  3. Pat Says:

    I still like espn.

    Why does it suck?

    I still find sportscenter very watchable?

    What were all these glory day’s espn shows you were watching?

    The only thing i remember watching was sportscenter multiple times in a day.

    Comparing the “fall” of espn to anything about the auto industry is silly. ESPN is fine.

  4. indeedindeed Says:

    espn is horrible, for reasons i rehash here all the time. they constantly funnel attention back to other espn products or espn stories that no one cares about. sportscenter is almost unwatchable.

    but i was referring more to espn.com there.

  5. indeedindeed Says:

    my main point was that the big three and ESPN were ultra-bloated companies who built a market before there was any possibility for competition. and that losing market-share was inevitable as smaller, sleeker, less inhibited competitors rose up. and the only evidence i’m citing is my own ability to never go to espn.com for sports news, where when i was in high school/college i read the whole website, top to bottom, everyday.

  6. York Roberts Says:

    I still go to espn.com a few times a day but aside from TMQ, John Hollinger and Bill Simmons, I don’t read anything there.

    Sportscenter I still watch before work every morning, because it is better than watching actual news, but yes, it isn’t as good. They don’t show as many highlights, it is too focused on celebs and gossip, they don’t do enough actual analysis on it, Stu Scott is fucking annoying, they too many ‘specialists’ to talk about bullshit, they suck Tiger Woods’ dick too much…etc.

    But I like most of the guys on Sportscenter.

    The worst thing about ESPN is Chris Berman. That guy is a fucking moron and he might be the most annoying person on earth. I thought he was funny when I was 7. He’s been doing the same bullshit since then. Not funny. Stupid.

    And yes, the self-referential advertising is annoying.

    But there is no Deadspin TV news network, and until there is, I guess I’m SOL.

    Allthough watching the Celtics on CSN is always refreshing since the people who report on CSN just give the facts and don’t try to sound “urban” like Stu Scott.

    That guy is as urban as George W. Bush.

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