Monday, November 14, 2011

ESPN gets slammed for it's handling of the Tennessee-Arkansas game.

You can't please everybody, as the old saying goes. If you're as big as ESPN, you apparently don't need to please anybody, at least not the prospective viewers in your audience. You just try to do your best with juggling the contractual obligations of the various sporting leagues and associations you do business with, and hope that the viewers will be willing or able to adjust likewise.

Take what happened last Saturday, when ESPN's coverage of the Wypall 200 (a NASCAR Nationwide Series race) ran a little too long. Instead of having a Heidi Game-like moment and cutting off race coverage to make way for the Tennessee-Arkansas game, the WWW began airing the start of the game on another of its networks.

Knoxville News Sentinel blogger Tom Mattingly was not amused by this.

"Would have thought, given the fanfare with which the contract as well as the games each week were publicized, that ESPN might give the SEC as well as the fans of Tennessee and Arkansas a little more consideration.

After all, they often wait until the eleventh hour to firm up these telecasts, anyway.

Then, just about the time kickoff arrives, and no one likes to miss the kickoff, the "crawl" on the bottom of the screen directs the viewer to another more arcane branch of the network many viewers don't even have access to.

When you think about it, the game wasn't much to write home about, but a little truth in advertising wouldn't hurt.

The idea of the finish of a mere race and the obligatory interviews upstaging the Tennessee and Arkansas game is an affront to the fans of both schools. If you're going to charge the big bucks and jerk the fans around, try to show the game."

Because Arkansas and Tennessee football is the hottest thing going on in the SEC (and the country), right?"

Apparently, Mr. Mattingly doesn't understand the idea of "legally binding agreements." Or that cutting to other programming before the end of a sporting event to another channel is a little less kosher than missing the first few minutes of one.

It's not a perfect world, and ESPN is obviously less than perfect. But it tries it's best with juggling its channels and its broadcast rights.

(via The Knoxville News Sentinel)

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