10/17/15 by Rennie Detore
ESPN ratings aren't what they used to be, and they're open to suggestions.
Hardly the game plan of the iconic all sports network.
The network has signed a deal with World Wrestling Entertainment to air highlights of wrestling in the hopes that some crossover appeal or influx of new viewers. WWE has roughly 3 million viewers every Monday for their three hour "Raw" television show, so ESPN is going to allot time for a recap of all things WWE on its network.
While that idea has merit on ratings and advertising alone, it is only the proverbial band aid on the gun shot wound.
ESPN hasn't been relevant in years, and the sagging ratings and waning advertising numbers aren't surprising whatsoever. For all intent and purposes, ESPN hasn't changed much about itself since its inception.
The all sports network concept worked well when the network started, and Sportscenter was absolutely revolutionary. The recap shows, highlights and live sports made up what was groundbreaking at the time.
Today, it's as outdated as your flip phone and calculator watch.
Before scores and highlights became commonplace on this invention called the world wide web, Sportscenter was a game changer. You had all the action crammed into one hour of everything you needed or wanted to see sports wise.
The internet gave sports fans a reason not to sit through Sportscenter. And as far as live sports, ESPN actually feels as though they're falling behind.
Most of the live sports on ESPN actually feel like they can be easily missed. Sure, they have Monday Night Football but everyone knows the game of the week happens on NBC. They have their NFL Live show, which is shell of the original NFL Primetime. And, everyone knows "Football Night in America" is the football show that has supplanted anything ESPN has to watch.
Baseball does decent numbers of Sunday night during the regular season, but the playoffs belong to the network or TBS, once again leaving ESPN as the second rate place for sports.
Besides sports and TV deals being done right under the nose of ESPN, the network is no longer just "a network." ESPN watered down its own product with several channels under the ESPN namesake, so the idea behind the sports any time you want is bloated and overextended. Having ESPN 3 is like most third installments of movie trilogies; no thank you.
You almost think of ESPN in the same way you view MTV.
You remember what made MTV famous, right? Music videos. Today's MTV is donated to television shows, reality based programming and the only way you're going to see a music video on MTV is at 5 a.m. So instead of videos or what made MTV great, you get "Teen Mom" and yet another installment of the "Real World."
ESPN is about sports, and I'm not talking about running power lifting at 2 a.m., soccer all day, college wrestling or professional bowling. ESPN no longer is unique. Network television channels and other outlets have finally caught up with ESPN, and it shows in that the network, once the peak of sports, now is an afterthought.
ESPN can get back into the good graces of sports fans, but that is going to happen by getting back to their sporting roots, getting rid of the multiple channels and certainly doing more than injecting pro wrestling on to its programming.
The reality is, however, that ESPN may never reach its peak again, and that's perfectly fine. The web and instant access to scores and highlights renders ESPN moot. The network might be lucky and fortunate to settle for just surviving at this point.
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