Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dollars & Sense - ESPN Says Never Enough Tebow

Late last week, word was circulating around the Twitter universe about ESPN’s internal stance on Tim Tebow.  According to multiple tweets, Doug Gottlieb (formerly with ESPN, now with CBS Sports) was told by ESPN upper management basically that you can never talk enough Tebow.  Am I surprised about this?  Not necessarily.  But am I happy about it… now that’s a different story.
After the story came out, @awfulannouncing posed an interesting question:

Giving it further thought, I completely agree.  Talking Tebow is essentially SEO for television ratings.  Every network needs to drive their ratings, and it seems to be a proven fact that Tebow will do that.  However, the thing is when I think SEO headlines, I think begging for views or ratings or whatever the measure of success is on a given platform.  I associate SEO headlines with Bleacher Report, who in my opinion has no use in the world of sports besides pretty slideshows about the most irrelevant speculation the human mind can think up.  The only time I ever go on it is to prove to somebody how utterly useless it really is.  I’m sure that I’m not the only one that thinks it, so why do they do it? 
  Wouldn’t you think that ESPN is so far ahead of the game that they really don’t need to stoop to this kind of level, especially on television?

It really comes down to what your business values are.  Do you want to skate by?  ESPN has shows that they are willing to innovate, so clearly skating by isn’t for them.  Do you want to leverage your resources, reputation and business for the greatest ROI possible?  If you don’t say yes to that, then you probably don’t have much of a business sense.  Do you want to do the job ethically, naturally, and without bias?  That’s something that I can’t decide with ESPN.  They claim that they want to do business this way, but their actions never really back it up 100%.  I completely understand giving people what they want, but is more Tebow what the people want?

For the casual sports fan that flips to some ESPN medium for 10 minutes a day, maybe they want to hear about Tebow.  He is a fascinating player, a conundrum of sorts.  But what about the avid sports fan?  ESPN was built on the sports craze of the avid sports fan, so you would think that they would continue to cater to them.  It has gone the opposite way though.  Sure, ESPN gives countless options for fans to watch their teams with all their various options.  ESPN’s “news” shows don’t really give the news.  In fact, they may be more biased than Fox News, CBS, and NBC combined.  It’s theatrical, and it’s biased.  You never get the full story with ESPN.

Is this wrong?  Technically, I suppose it isn’t.  But does ESPN have a further duty to supply sports fans with the unbiased coverage that they deserve?  In an ideal view the answer is obviously yes.  Then again, nothing in the world is truly ideal.  ESPN has just been corrupted by corporate greed.  They’re the next example in a long line of businesses prior to them. 

I wonder if ESPN can or will ever change.  I don’t think they will because they continue to make more and more money.  I wonder what will happen when the money flow peaks.  That may be an answer that we won’t know for years.  Who knows when the sport-crazy consumers will finally say enough is enough.  For now ESPN can keep holding the Tebow pedal to the floor, but remember as the consumer you have the choice.  You can play into ESPN’s trap or you can change the channel.

Follow Kevin Rossi on Twitter @kevin_rossi.


  1. I suppose ESPN can keep promoting a backup quarterback/special teams player as long as they keep getting the ratings. This is why, as you have mentioned in the past, we need a competitor to step up in the realm of sports programming.

    Also, check this out:

  2. Haha that's fantastic. I'm not surprised at all that they did that. Even with their text message updates you can see their Tebow bias. I don't need to know that Tebow played 3 plays at QB because I DON'T CARE! If I cared, then I would watch the damn games.