Thoughts on ESPN’s Financial Struggles; Cowardice, Favoritism, and Inanity in the Golf Media

  1. I hope someone gets video of Britt McHenry being told she’s been laid off.
  2. Offer to ESPN:  Why don’t you fire your entire golf division and replace them with a link to this website?
  3. The Players page at still featuring Tiger Woods is like not updating the picture of the president after an election.  Finchem and the staff are intentionally insulting Jordan Spieth.  Can you imagine Obama taking office in 2009 and Bush’s photo still dominating  How about leaving Obama’s picture up after Trump is sworn in?  Sounds ludicrous, I know, but that’s what Finchem and the PGATour are doing by featuring Woods on the Players page.
  4. Van Sickle rejected my Mailbag question about Woods still being the feature player on the Players page.  Woods is OWGR #300-something, hasn’t won in 2-1/2 years.  Spieth won two majors as a 21-year-old.  Pointing this out is inappropriate?
  5. “300-something” — A sitcom surrounding the zany adventures of golf reporters trying to keep their jobs while hiding the secret that they only know the name of one golfer.
  6. Seeing Van Sickle flee my question reinforces my point about the “Old Lions” being the only journalists worth a damn.  The “pros” can cover tournaments in a play-by-play manner, but they are useless when it comes to analysis and editorial opinion.  They are afraid of their own shadows.  The established ones don’t want to rock the boat in which their job is a passenger, and the “edgy” younger guys all dream of being the next Gary Williams.
  7. Van Sickle’s reluctance should also remind us how courageous Steve Elling was in that summer of 2012.  Golf fans should do more to support Elling; the problem is, his website doesn’t have a comment mechanism; maybe I’ll do something on Reddit; I’ve played with that in the past.
  8. NBC is currently running an Olympics promo prior to their On Demand programming.  They show one golfer, Rory McIlroy.  Okay, not a horrible choice, but American Jordan Spieth won his second major last June.  That wasn’t early enough to put American Jordan Spieth in the promo?  NBC (aka Comcast, aka Golf Channel, aka MSNBC) is covering Jordan Spieth the exact opposite way they covered Woods.  Woods does some tiny thing and they blow it into a great accomplishment (T17 at Greenbrier, anyone?); Spieth wins two majors at age 21, and they treat it like Jimmy Walker winning the Hawaiian Open.  Remember how much publicity Woods got for winning a major at age 21?  Jordan won two at that age and got 1/100th the coverage.  Why?
  9. I turned on my television this morning, which was tuned to History Channel from last night.  They were running an infomercial for Humana about Medicare.  Some elderly woman testified that her Humana policy was “awesome.”  I immediately thought of Kyle Porter.
  10. Apropos of Nothing, a Twitter Opinion:  I don’t subscribe but to two or three people on Twitter.  The main reason is I subscribe to someone to get, say, golf information.  You get that, but you get far more tweets about their travel plans, their favorite football and baseball teams, inside jokes about people you neither know nor want to know, pop culture jokes that are so obvious a million others on Twitter made the same joke, and retweets of those obvious pop culture jokes.
  11. Rating of “famous” people’s responses to me on Twitter, totally off the cuff, roughly in order of best to worst…  Rosaforte, for being a good sport about a jab I took at him; Elling, for retweeting one of my early joke comments; Oberholser, for his serious, polite responses; Chamblee, for being insecure, unwilling to address a query, and possessing skin so thin you can see through it.  There are probably others.  I didn’t think this out; mainly, I just wanted to contrast the good sports like Rosaforte and Oberholser with the bad sports like Chamblee.
  12. Shane Bacon wrote an article about Woods yesterday, stressing how Woods has been in serious decline since August, 2013.  He didn’t feel the need to point out that on July 30, 2013, Terez Owens broke the story of Woods’s name being on the Biogenesis customer list.  I’m sure Bacon omitted that little factoid because it’s all just coincidence, right?
  13. ESPN…  Okay, so I’m at your website and I see a sidebar article that interests me about a college football player.  I click on it, anticipating intersting news.  The story is five months old.  Uh, gee, you think that’s part of why your organization is falling apart?
  14. Can’t say I agree with everything in this article about the ESPN layoffs, but it makes interesting points, that’s for sure: “Worldwide Leader in Layoffs: Cord Cutting Forces Liberal ESPN to Whack Hundreds.”
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13 Responses to Thoughts on ESPN’s Financial Struggles; Cowardice, Favoritism, and Inanity in the Golf Media

  1. JosieWales says:

    That’s a long list Lanny…but the ESPN layoff story is pretty significant…it is evidence that folks truly are dumping cable in favor of alternative viewing choices. My question is, how will this affect the Golf Channel? Are they losing subscribers? Are they losing money? Will there be layoffs at GC? Watching this closely.

    • lannyh says:

      I don’t really get the “dumping cable” story, though. If they go to a dish alternative, don’t they still face the same subscriber fees? And do people really find watching football on their 5-inch screens better than on a 50-inch screen?

  2. benchrat says:

    van sickle told you your question was inappropriate?

    • lannyh says:

      No, he just didn’t use it. Instead he had TWO questions about the season being too long, and another two about the long drive contest. He had pretty scant pickings this week and left mine on the vine.

  3. JosieWales says:

    Golf Channel has a financial interest in the Long Drive contest…they own it…they bought it from the founder Art Selinger…that’s why you see them pimping it hard and heavy…no disclosure, just full out pimping and overhyping. They see this stuff as the future of golf on TV. The reality is they are desperate.

    • lannyh says:

      Long drive is not really my thing, but I watched a little of it the other night. I like their live programming just fine, especially the Euro Tour. To be honest, I like to watch the ladies in the evenings when it’s live from the West Coast or Hawaii, but I’m not crazy about the women during the day. But if GC goes to exclusively live coverage, I’d be fine with that.

      I think their current analysts/panelists/hosts have too much history as Tiger Only cheerleaders to ever be taken seriously. I don’t know, but they might, kidding aside, get paid a bonus for mentioning Woods’s name.

      Hey, you know all this kind of stuff. What would it cost to cover a tournament minimalist style? Not announcers’ pay, just the cameras and truck or whatever. Stephanie Wei can do it for free, just about…

      • JosieWales says:

        not sure about cost without announcers…but the cameras and operators, tech crew, remote mics, wires, cables, etc are pricy…not to mention graphics, aerial shots, etc.

  4. JosieWales says:

    here’s a good quote re: the World Long Drive Contest (WLDC)

    “The WLDC was this close from cancellation in 2015. Re/Max, the longtime sponsor of the event, shockingly pulled its endorsement. The Golf Channel stepped in at the last minute to save it from abandonment.

    “It takes an incredible amount of money to produce two nights under the lights with quality TV production and paying out a quarter-million-dollar purse with grandstands and hospitality,” Art Sellinger told about the 11th-hour save. Sellinger, who was a sideline commentator for the event, is the chief executive officer and owner of Long Drivers of America.

    “It was important for us to do this—having a year off would have been a big blow.”

    • lannyh says:

      If they can line up sponsors and television, more power to them, but the world would not end if the contest went away. That thought gives me an idea for something to write about this morning.

    • Ken says:

      I’ve never watched much of it. But it just seems so silly when you have these guys whooping it and yelling and chest thumping up after hitting a drive like they’ve just accomplished some amazing athletic feat.

      I saw the very end of this the other night. The leading drive was “only” 365. On that surface, I thought that was surprisingly short.

      • lannyh says:

        Yeah, all this chest thumping crap we see in sports nowadays is asinine. It’s cultivated by televised sports. Golf Channel thinks the greatest thing in golf is a fist pump. It’s so moronic. It gets harder and harder to care about sports these days.

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