ESPN changed the game in sports coverage. It forever changed how the sports fan consume news and other sporting events. Recently it seems that ESPN has been losing it’s luster. In the Los Angeles section of Bizjournals.com, an article came out talking about ESPN losing 32% of it’s ratings in the last fiscal quarter. So why is ESPN losing viewers?
1. Talent isn’t there.
No offense to the current ensemble they have but it’s not the same as Dan Patrick, Brian Kelly, Matt Winer and Josh Elliot. Some of the Sportscenter anchors I wonder how they even got the job. The talk shows aren’t as good anymore either. Sportsnation is tough to watch without Colin Cowherd and Around the Horn brings on reporters that should stick to writing instead of talking.
2. Obsession with the SEC and the NFL.
I get it. It’s your two biggest contracts out there. With Monday Night Football, you don’t get flexible scheduling and you need viewers to watch Monday night to justify what you are charging to companies for ad time. When you have two teams under .500 in Week 11, that’s not a popular matchup. No, we don’t want to hear updates every 20 minutes of a Suck-tacular showdown. Negotiate a better deal to get flexible scheduling in the second half of the season.
Yes, the SEC is good. However, the geography of the SEC isn’t very populated. So when you ignore a heavy populated demographic like the Big 10 or the Big 12, it causes resentment.
3. Competition is stronger.
When the Big 10 network first launched in 2007, many weren’t sure if more specific networks would succeed. 6 years later, we know those networks have succeeded and they are taking some of the top talent from ESPN to their network. Now with Fox having their own national network, ESPN will have to bring their A game and try to retain their top talent and cull the rest. Being first doesn’t guarantee you the right to always be number 1. Ask Myspace in the social media world, being first doesn’t mean always being the best.
So it’s up to ESPN to step their game up or get left behind.