Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Add it to the list

Most people I talk to seem to think ESPN is going downhill in a hurry. Well, it doesn't look to be getting better anytime soon. I saw a commercial yesterday for ESPN pay-per-view and instead of the usual fare they try to peddle (like college football games), it was an advertisement trying to coerce people into ponying up $19.95 for a 70-minute fantasy football special.

My first thought was something like, "What dope would spend any money (hard-earned or otherwise) on an ESPN-produced program?" Aren't these the same guys who so over-promoted Stuart Scott that I can't even stand to read the goofy Q & A he does in The Magazine?

The way I see it, ESPN is this decade's MTV. In the pursuit of maximizing profits (which apparently equates to garnering the viewership of the 19-44 demographic), Disney, the parent corporation, has created so many schticky, gimmicky programs and segments within programs that you're lucky if you get to see any actual sports programming. SportsCenter, at one time the best show on television, now is so full of crappy stuff like the "Budweiser Hot Seat," and "Fact or Fiction" that it's almost hard to watch without the aid of illegal drugs.

And the sad thing is, I don't think the higher-ups at ESPN care that the network is suffering -- as long as profits are up. So what's the alternative? For me, it's pretty easy -- I now get most of my news (a) on the internet, (b) through TiVo or (c) PTI (the only show on ESPN that hasn't jumped the shark (unless of course, Skip Bayless is one of the guest hosts).

And the thing is, I'm not sure who's actually watching SportsCenter, Around the Horn or any of the other crappy shows that now seem to be on a perpetual loop. And furthermore, as soon as the network actually quits showing sporting events is the day I quit watching -- unless of course they give Max Kellerman another bogus show to run into the ground. That's always fun to watch. Boo-Yah! that.

update: I found the one guy who in addition to enjoying SportsCenter, has a website devoted to it. Yikes.