T’was the night before the NFL Draft and all through Hartford not a sports journalist was worried because not one had yet heard, but jobs would be lost and cast a dark cloud over the weekend.
ESPN may have procrastinated to the last weekend of April but they finally finalized their spring cleaning. The final sweep of jobs throughout the media company left many seeking jobs and comfort to start the month of May. At the same time ESPN was left with questioning on the current state of the company.
Look on the brightside ESPN, at least you now have a new documentary to break out on us.
Last week, the former World Wide Leader in Sports Coverage revealed a weakness by having to cut some on-air personalities and well known internet writers. (1) Those most notable were Ethan Strauss, Danny Kanell, Ed Werder and Trent Dilfer.
Was this foreseeable?
The network has seen losses in recent years with layoffs before last week’s slaughtering of payroll positions. In 2015, the network laid off several hundred employees which was made very well known in the public’ eye. (2) Also, those who pay attention to on-air sports personalities have seen this kind of transformation coming through the career moves made by certain talking heads connected to the company. (3)
It’s hard to focus the blame for ESPN’s recent woes on just one thing. Some claim it’s cord-cutting and people finding alternative ways of getting their sports news, highlights and discussion. (5) Others have sounded out that ESPN’s agendas have plagued them in recent years. (4) Another direction of blame has gone to ESPN’s recent poor choice in taking up a massive deal with the NBA that is starting to appear as a dud. (6)
Whether your belief that the blame goes to cord-cutting, politically correct agendas, new media info alternatives or just lack of intrigue by the network’s programming investments does not matter to this post.
This post is simply an idea for the former Holy Grail of sports to generate some momentum back on their side. Almost like the smelling salt to get them off the canvas of the from their end of April layoff announcement. To me, there is a solution and it starts with a familiar beginning of a question, “What if I told you… ?”
ESPN maybe on a downward slope but one program they produce that seems to still be doing well is their continued documentary series; 30 for 30.
For those unfamiliar, the documentaries usually tell a story that was covered in ESPN’s history. Some range far back to the 70’s and 80’s like “Playing for the Mob” and “Pony Exce$$”. Recently, the series has covered more recent history topics with example features such as Coach Calipari’s recruiting success using a one-and-done basis in the documentary “One and Not Done.” (7)
The series continues to flourish, despite their network’s recent low-points. So why not take advantage of the camera facing your good side?
It’s time for ESPN to admit their mistakes and show their flaws through a 30 for 30 documentary that explains the reasons of their cord-cutting, agenda and media decision losses in an all-in-one tell all documentary.
“What if I told you, ‘Not to get TOO distracted by all of the highlights?’ … ESPN 30 for 30 presents; “CUT!”
The documentary could feature those laid-off and their reactions to it. The documentary could also feature proper and visual explanations of what in their eyes has gone wrong over the past years and even promote reasons to stay with the Network in the future for the casual fans like myself.
Losing ESPN would be like losing a good childhood friend personally, as I imagine it would be for many. I grew up with the network being a constant source and yeah, I’ve grown apart from them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have feelings of admiration and loyalty for them.
Solutions are the only place to go from here for the Connecticut based company, not blame!
I think a 30 for 30 of explanation with a humbled approach could be a great way for ESPN to bounce back.
We all fall on our butt’s eventually, it’s how we respond that shows our true value. It’s time for ESPN to prove their company’s worth!