On Wednesday ESPN notified 100 of their employees that their services would no longer be required. The sports network has been hemorrhaging viewers, losing over ten million over the past several years. Laid off because fewer people are using your product? I wonder what that’s like?
It’s kinda amazing that ESPN, owned by something as huge as Disney and buys rights to NFL, NCAA, and MBL games, has to dump the people who provide the coverage. I’m sure they issued some blah blah blah statement that their commitment and quality of programming will not be affected. Just like your local newspaper has improved with fewer people on staff to provide news coverage. Right?
Dumb people say ESPN is losing viewers because of their “liberal agenda.” They say the same thing about newspapers losing readers despite the fact that newspapers with conservative editorial pages are suffering just as much. Explain that. By the way, Fox News is losing viewers too. The fact is there are so many platforms to watch stuff on. Even after the days of there only being three TV networks, the list of watchable cable channels was very slim. Now there’s a channel for everything. On top of that people are watching movies on their computers through Netflix, Hulu and probably a dozen other things I’ve never heard of. Have you seen Crackle? It’s free movies if you can stomach really long commercials.
I remember when ESPN first started. Yes, I’m that old. I didn’t pay too much attention to it in the early days as it really didn’t have much to broadcast. In 1981, or 82 (I don’t know. I’m old), I was talking to a friend on the phone and he said he had to go because he wanted to watch a guy on a motorcycle jump over a bunch of buses which was being telecast by ESPN. I turned on the TV and started flipping channels and was surprised to discover that I had ESPN too. I never noticed because I was a teenager and ESPN didn’t show bare boobs on their network.
ESPN was really struggling for content in their early days. So much so that jokes are still made about it. Dennis Miller once joked that they aired Sumo Rodeo and George Carlin (who was in a league Miller could only dream of) said ESPN broadcast Australian Dick Wrestling.
Eventually ESPN was bought by ABC (which was later bought by Disney) and they started acquiring better programming. Even in their struggling days one thing was consistent and that was Chris Berman. Berman has been with the network from the start and he’s known for many of his shticks. He has a penchant for using puns as players’ nicknames and we all know the “he could go all. the. way.” I thought he was amusing with the “back, back, back,” thing for the first two decades he did it, but it’s become stale.
Berman, like many announcers, is either loved or hated. He was not laid off by ESPN but has recently taken a reduced role. I’d probably hate it if he retired so I couldn’t hate him anymore.
Creative notes: All the names here are actual people who were laid off. Also, I wanted to get away from Trump for at least one day.
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