Friday, April 28, 2017

Lesson Learned? Nah.

Yesterday, it was announced ESPN is laying off upwards of 100 employees – many of whom are prominent on-air talent.

Perhaps the hottest take of the day claimed that “sports fans really don’t like anyone who stands up for civil rights.”
The challenges facing ESPN are newly discovered; a lot has been written about ESPN’s recent decline in ratings and subscriptions. FOX Sports – the primary TV competitor to “the worldwide leader in sports” – has enjoyed twisting the knife as ESPN faces cutting on-screen talent to make up for budget shortfalls.

The FOX blog “Outkick the Coverage” has attributed ESPN’s decline to the rising partisanship coming out of Bristol, labeling the network “MSESPN” in pieces like this one, headlined “ESPN Profit Plummets As Network Turns Left”. “Outkick the Coverage’s” Clay Travis supports his argument with Scarborough data showing most sports fans are conservative politically. With the news of today’s layoffs, Travis argues that the network’s leftward turn is “more a symptom of the collapse than it is a cause of the collapse.”

Naturally, the news out of Bristol has led to a variety of “takes” across the Internet. The National Review Online wrote a warning about politicizing sports. Others have scoffed at the idea that partisanship has kept people from watching ESPN, even as ESPN’s public editor concedes that it is among “a set of smaller causes” harming ESPN. Perhaps the hottest take of the day claimed that “sports fans really don’t like anyone who stands up for civil rights.”

Specifically, in 2015, the ESPN audience on average skewed Republican across all dayparts, ranging from 12% more Republican (Early News, Late Fringe, Overnight) to 21% more Republican than Democratic (Early Morning).

In 2016, every daypart on ESPN became less conservative, with Daytime being only 2% more Republican than Democratic, while Late Fringe and Overnight programming became 10% and 12% more Democratic than Republican – a 22 and 28 point shift, respectively.

The same is true across other ESPN properties. ESPN2 skewed Republican across most dayparts in 2015; in 2016 all dayparts skewed Democratic. Every daypart also switched on ESPN News from 2015 to 2016.

ESPNU was the only network that retained its mostly Republican audience. ESPN Deportes – the network’s Spanish language channel – became even more Democratic in 2016 than it already was in 2015.

Here is a complete look at the 2015-2016 shift in partisanship across ESPN networks: [FULL]

What really put leftwing sports politicizing on the map, for me, was when 49er QB Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem.  Wanted to kick his, along with the rest of the BLM gang, in the ass. I wasn't alone, as  headlines like this abounded:

And, when the next week every ESPN show I watched (a lot of them) had the talking heads defending  him
(and taking shots at Trump for good measure), I exercised my remote control.


rickn8or said...

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

David said...

I became a Miami Dolphins fan in 1971. Enjoyed the undefeated season, and the Shula years. Since then they seem to have gone out of their way to try and piss me off. From giving Rick Williams multiple chances to screw the team over, and defending him when he took advantage of every single one. To passing up on the chance to get Drew Brees for a 2nd round pick - twice. And their revolving carousel of coaches and QBs... But I stayed true, I stayed with them. And I kept my NFL Sunday Ticket just so I could watch them play every week. Then a couple weeks after Kapernick started protesting the Dolphins had four players kneeling during the National Anthem. And immediately afterwards the front office came out if full support of those players and their right to protest. I tossed my Dolphins tee shirts in the trash and canceled my Sunday ticket. Screw them then and the entire NFL. Haven't watched a game since. I quit watching ESPN when they decided to start blending sports and politics. Haven't missed either one yet...

Rodger the Real King of France said...

Just one lousy mistake in 1971 and the Redskins woulda beat them. I'm sure of it.

Anonymous said...

I have never been a big consumer of Sports News or Articles, even though I followed my favorite teams. I never realized how liberal they were until I heard Rush say it a couple of times. That little sawed off, pin head Mike Lupica is barely literate in his field, the last thing he should be dipping his toe into is politics. Same goes for that blowhard Mike Francessa {?sp}, he is a real a$$hole.

I haven't watched the NFL in more than two years and this year I didn't ever put on the Super Bowl. The Owners should claw back all the money that they have paid that idiot Goodell. Oh and BTW the NFL shouldn't be Tax Exempt either, IMHO.


OregonGuy said...

TeeVee in the office keeps me company most mornings. Used to watch "Mike & Mike" then Golic got the memo and being a normal guy was no longer allowed. In? Social justice. Then, DVR'd Russillo & Kanell. Two normal guys, mostly. Now Kanell is gone.

I hope they pair Russillo with Kay Fagan.

That will drive ratings.

Hodja said...

An ESPN site targeting female sports fans on Thursday removed a poem paying homage to a convicted cop killer after “an oversight in the editorial process” led to the poem being published several days ago, the embattled sports giant told Fox News.

MAX Redline said...

What is ESPN? I know it's on cable somewhere, but have never watched it. Something to do with "entertainment and sports", I'd guess.

Anonymous said...

Geo, your opinion about the tax exempt status of the NFL is spot-on. The NFL became dead to me the minute Kapernack wasn't immediately tossed out of the stadium (not that there was much life there anyway).

Sir H the Comet

Ralph Gizzip said...

I think I read somewhere that 99% of the folks laid off in Bristol were male and pale.
Go figure.

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