Listen, I am as big a fan of ESPN as anyone I know. Yes, like everyone else, I get tired of the overkill stories on people like Brett Favre and Michael Vick. I still watch a significant amount of ESPN. I’d hate to even give you a number stating the amount of hours a week I watch ESPN. But, this is where I draw the line.
In Sports Geek’s intro, the question is about ESPN being a viable source for local market sports coverage. I answer that question by simply saying that ESPN needs to stay out of it!
ESPN does a great job of covering a wide variety of sports from various different angles. For example, I read the USA Today every day at lunch to get a broad variety of sports news. I can read about the latest involving Favre, Vick, or Michael Phelps. It’s basically general information, but it satisfies my need for “national” sports news.
However, as a Georgia resident, I like to read and hear about Georgia sports through in-state media and reporters. As Sports Geek stated, ESPN is branching out into major cities, and if the trend continues they could be setting up shop in Atlanta. This would be a terrible idea. Much like I read the USA Today for national sports news, I read the Atlanta Journal Constitution every day online for “local” sports news. I read columns/blogs every day by featured columnists such as Mark Bradley (who follows us on Twitter), Jeff Schultz, Tony Barnhardt, and David O’Brien. O’Brien is the Atlanta Braves’ beat writer and he writes a daily blog online. He is able to report things that an ESPN reporter couldn’t talk about. DOB (as he is referred to online) has established relationships with the players and coaches and is able to talk about things like the “mood” of the clubhouse. He also has inside information on injuries. An ESPN reporter could establish these sources over time and be on the same level eventually, but that serves no purpose to me right now.
I also think, eventually, that if ESPN keeps branching out fan will have a lot of “watered down” coverage. I think ESPN already runs the risk of overkill with its family of networks. I mean, really, how many channels are on cable/satellite now? Not to mention ESPN Radio and all of its affiliates.
MEMO TO ESPN: If we want to find you, we have plenty of avenues to find you. We have a remote and a radio dial. Do not invade our territory and find us!
Again, I’m not trying to throw ESPN under the bus. I am a supporter of ESPN. But leave my local coverage alone. Don’t invade that territory!