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The Worldwide Leader...

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by tommyp, Oct 24, 2006.

  1. tommyp

    tommyp Member

    Ratings certainly don't have anything to do with how ESPN presents the game. The game itself is the attraction. Do you really think viewers tuned in to see Hank Williams Jr. in the booth?

    It's obvious the ratings had a basis of three factors:

    1. The national following of the Cowboys.
    2. The amount of viewers in New York and the surrounding metro area.
    3. The matchup itself. Nothing like a good NFC East rivalry on a national stage.
  2. Ben_Hecht

    Ben_Hecht Active Member

    4. The ever-present TO blowup factor.
  3. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    A nail through my tongue is better than listening to Walton say anything on an NBA broadcast.
  4. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Two points:

    1. ESPN focusing on the "E." You've probably noticed that EVERY sporting event, down to junior-high wrestling, these days focuses on the "E." They know the hard-core fan is going to come out every night, but to get the casual fan, you have to make the game more about the experience than the quality of the game or result. After all, you have a 50% chance every night the home fans will go home disappointed. Mark Cuban, of course, makes no bones about this. I believe he did an experiment where he removed all the in-game bells and whistles sportswriters hate, and that fans bombarded him with messages asking him where they were, and when they would come back. You might not like it. But when teams focused on just the game, they drew small crowds. Asking these teams (and ESPN, by extension) to go back to the "old days" is like asking U2 to starting acting like the club band it was in 1980. Just ain't gonna happen.

    2. ESPN covering news -- given how in bed ESPN is with most of the sporting world (in terms of paying lots of dough to cover their games), we probably should be impressed any journalism happens there. ESPN has a huge financial incentive to pussyfoot on tough issues. To its credit, it is capable of taking hard looks at issues. Should there be more of a church-and-state relationship? Hell, yeah. But in today's world of TV news -- the world where the local ABC station has a knack for mentioning big events at Disney World -- ESPN is hardly the worst offender. In fact, at your newspaper or wherever you work, I bet that, at the least, you know even before your editors tell you about the sacred cows of your employer, sacred cow defined as a venture in which your employer has invested.
  5. tommyp

    tommyp Member

    The in-the-arena experience is completely different from the in-home experience. When I am at a game, of course I am forced to look at and listen to what is presented to me. Having gone to so many games, the entertainment aspect is so worn that I have become conditioned to ignore it. However, I cannot do the same for television coverage, as my goal for watching a sporting event is to see the action unfold and ultimately, see which team is better on that day.
  6. Canyonero!

    Canyonero! Member

    The irony of Cowherd citing ratings is he got a lot of heat from wrestling fans after making some comments about Eddie Guerrero's death last fall. Cowherd was right on about Guerrero's likely drug use, but the way he stated it got some people riled up. He dismissed the complaints, and WWE's high ratings, as all wrestling fans being, and I quote: "booger eating morons."
  7. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    What you people seem to be missing is that the Top 5 most-viewed cable telecast list now looks something like this:

    1. '06 MNF Week 7
    2. '93 Gore-Perot Larry King Live
    3. '06 MNF Week 3
    4. '06 MNF Week 1
    5. '06 MNF Week 6

    And on down the line....

    It wasn't just that one game, folks.

    Again, please realize that ESPN is only in 80-some percent of the homes of the b'cast networks. When they go and beat the b'cast networks, it's a huge story in the TV industry.


    As for the Newsday column, his timing is damn-near tragic. When you consider that LYING about circulation (print's equivalent of viewers) at his own paper has put an entire company at risk for being annihilated by private-equity pirates in a leveraged buyout... when you consider that, the irony would be comical if it weren't so sad.
  8. Michael_ Gee

    Michael_ Gee Well-Known Member

    Dear Lugnuts: You miss the point. ESPN didn't make MNF a hit. It was already a hit by the standards of over-the-air broadcasting when they got it. Shoving that audience into the cable universe equals a record-breaker.
    If newspaper reporters and columnists were responsible for the ethics of their employers, we'd all have no moral choice but mass suicide. I don't blame the many outstanding reporters (print and TV) who work for ESPN for the things the network does that drives me nuts. For the TV columnist at any paper to rip those sins isn't hypocritical. HE didn't kite the circulation.
  9. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    Oh man, Chavo is going to kick Cowherd's ass for that one.
  10. Lugnuts

    Lugnuts Well-Known Member

    No it wasn't, Michael. It was showing year-to-year declines. The enormous rights fee was no longer paying off.

    I suppose you could argue that MNF has found a better home now -- a better fit for it -- and that's the reason behind this year's success...

    But for print folks to criticize the telecast itself-- when clearly it's working -- makes no sense.

    I understand the journalists have nothing to do with the circ scandals. But I can't help but think.... It's like saying: "We didn't know how to hold eyeballs, so we had to lie about it. ESPN does know how to hold eyeballs, and this is what they're doing wrong."

    His timing couldn't be worse.
  11. dooley_womack1

    dooley_womack1 Well-Known Member

    Sure, in the cable demimonde, an NFL game product in prime time with a built-in audience nurtured for 36 years will surely have the potential to kick ass on anything else that is or ever has been on cable. So it's apples to oranges until you compare MNF's raw numbers on ESPN to what they were on ABC, or how they compare to Sunday night football on NBC. I don't think people are saying "OMIGOD, TONY K's ON. HON, WE'RE CANCELING OUR MONDAY NIGHT DATE; GOTTA SEE THIS," or "LOVE THESE GUYS' WAY WITH THE LANGUAGE"

    But heck, they could get even bigger ratings if the broadcasters were bikini models. Anything for ratings? My point is, ratings do not insulate from fair comment and criticism about how something is done, or whether a way of doing things really makes that big a difference.
  12. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    Luggie -

    Leaving aside the circ. scandal for the moment, and the question of who is allowed to say what about whom and where, I'd simplify your differences with M_G this way:

    Does MNF pull such good numbers on cable because - or despite - the manner in which the show is produced?

    I think that's the issue here.

    My vote goes to 'despite'.
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