Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Michelle Beadle, ESPN Farm System, and the Future of SportsNation

As you know here at I-95 SportsBiz, we like variety. Not only do we like to provide readers with a variety of content, but a variety of style. I-95 SportsBiz will start doing "guest post." Every so often we will have a non-regular writer give us an article to post. This first guest post in the history of I-95 SportsBiz will be Scott Williams. Scott is a Sport Management student at West Virginia University. Feel free to contact Drew or Kevin if you are interested in having a guest post in the future (contact information can be found on our 'contact us' page on our website. Enjoy!

Michelle Beadle, ESPN Farm System, and the Future of SportsNation

Michelle Beadle did what most people thought was previously impossible, make a show with Colin Cowherd watchable. Beadle, with her contract ended this past month is moving on to NBC after a little over a 3 year stint at ESPN. It was a move that most saw coming due to the fact that NBC can offer more in a co-hosting role with Access Hollywood then she could be offered in a co-hosting role for ESPN. In addition to Access Hollywood, Michelle Beadle will host a new show that will cover major sporting events. With NBC recently starting their own channel devoted to sports, having some recognizable and likable faces to help them become established will be beneficial. Unlike ESPN, NBC does not already have a warehouse full of replacements ready to host sport shows. For ESPN, Michelle Beadle shoes will be difficult to fill mainly because she was their biggest female personality on the network. She was considered by many to be cute, down to earth, and knowledgeable on sport topics. Then again, she did not have much competition to go against with the likes of Jackie MacMullan and Jemele Hill. In addition to Beadle, everyone’s favorite sideline reporter Erin Andrews contract is also up soon, but she is most likely to stay with the Gameday/ABC Good Morning America gig. Michelle Beadle hopes her switch to a big network is more like Robin Roberts and less like Keith Olbermann’s.

When it comes to anchors, reporters and TV personalities ESPN clearly has the best farm system out there. When a new sports channel is set to arrive on cable the first thing the network usually does is pluck out some ESPN talent. To name a few.... Rich Eisen (NFL Network), Peter Gammons (MLB Network), and Dan Patrick (NBC Sports). ESPN is to sports personalities what Saturday Night Live is to comedians. When an anchor on SportsCenter leaves to go to another channel it means nothing for ESPN ratings, it just means someone is getting the call up from ESPNews. ESPN knows that viewers like you will tune in because it’s SportsCenter, not because Sage Steele and Kevin Negandhi will be on. ESPN rarely pays the big bucks for their people to stay, and if you want to leave that is fine with them.  The only way they would start to shell out the clams is if NBC or another sports station really started to cut into their monopoly-like market share.

Taking over for Michelle Beadle.... Charissa Thompson

SportsNation, a show that started in 2009, slowly but surely became a staple for ESPN in the daytime.  The main reason I believe people first started watching it is because when given the option of watching Jim Rome or any other show you are going to choose the latter. The show has become very popular gaining over 1,398,000 followers on twitter to date. One of the creators of the show, Jamie Horowitz, said it is the youngest and most male-skewing show on ESPN or ESPN2.  The demographics that the show fulfills are not much of surprise when the shows format consists showing strange videos, seeing how the internet voted, and having bracket format for everything from best internet video of the year to best dunk. Charissa Thompson was named the replacement for Michelle and took over her new full-time duty last week. ESPN hopes the move from Beadle to Thompson will go over as smoothly as the Around the Horn host switch of 2004. Around the Horn saw host Tony “Stat Boy” Reali take over duties for Max Kellerman after Max “Steve Millered” it out of there and took the money and ran to HBO Boxing. If Thompson is half as likable as Beadle the show will have no problem keeping its fan base of teenage boys.

All opinions are that of Scott Williams, to hear more of his opinions follow @TheScottyDubz

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