ESPN & Sports Broadcasting: Bias & Cost

ESPN is head-quartered in Bristol, Connecticut and owned by Disney.


Grantland was an in-depth blog arm of ESPN online, and it’s founder & editor Bill Simmons was dumped by ESPN management in May 2015.

Bill Simmons ESPN

Simmons was also the brains behind ESPN’s 30 for 30 film series. He has since taken an assignment with HBO, and most of the remaining talent at Grantland went with him– or somewhere else. How does destroying such a popular site and alienating its valuable assets add value to their company? [1]

ESPN Grantland 2011-15 RIP

‘Tanking in MLB’ has been a leitmotif all 2015-16 off-season, with every hack writer producing a piece on the subject, most barely readable.

Example: ESPN & MLB writers have suggested the SDP & CWS are ‘tanking’ because the didn’t bite on declining, stone-gloved free agent SS Ian Desmond.

Ian Desmond CWS Troll

Many of these stories are plants, with MLB staff writers shilling for players’ agents– to create interest in their clients in hopes of landing a mega-contract.

Matt Kemp 1st Cycle

The ‘DH in the NL’ discussion is clearly being pushed by MLBPA interests, who always seek to reward veteran players, for whom the designated hitter rule favors.  Senior circuit fans have clearly said “NO!” to the DH in NL parks.

ESPN East Coast Bias MLB

Ticker Bias: Following MLB on ESPN in an east-coast market, means an online schedule ticker that often excludes SDP, ARI, COL, OAK & SEA– especially when they’re playing each other.

West Coast Bias

FOX is an unwatchable baseball broadcast, which means the Saturday Game of the Week, the All-Star Game, and the post-season through the World Series are all ruined by Joe Buck, a cast of knuckleheads, exploding graphics, star searching, useless information, and endless promotion–  with too many ads, rotating scoreboards, and beer commercials.

Joe Buck

ESPN today is Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith and Lindsay Czarniak, the former representing black & white male obnoxiousness.

Smith & Bayless

It’s moderated by a beautiful woman who lobs softballs, panders with a smile, and knows when to shut up– or kick it to a commercial.  All this is carefully researched & choreographed by experts.


Note:  ESPN has nothing to report about MLB’s refusal to lift its archaic blackout restrictions for streaming ‘in-area’ games.  The ever-increasing number of cord cutters are left to follow the home team mainly through online box scores, highlights and interactive media. [2]


MLB consumers will wait for À la carte for live games, as they aren’t going back to cable.

2016 Media

All these broadcast deals, from the $8.35B disaster with the LA Dodgers to the Regional Sports Networks which are owned by Comcast, FOX, or the teams themselves (ex: BAL, BOS, NYM & WASH), cost over $1/month per subscription.

Time Warner Cable

Some networks such as Time-Warner w/ the LAD, are demanding $5/month. DirecTV & Comcast said no to that deal, so around 70% of the LA market can’t watch a Dodger game on television. The Dodgers lead the world in attendance every year, but what’s the point in having a good team if two-thirds of the hometown fans can’t watch them on television? [3]

Cable Cost1
Two-thirds of pay TV customers (mostly women & gay men) don’t watch ESPN or any sports, yet are made to subsidize them. ESPN with Disney’s clout behind them, is the 800-pound gorilla that can buy up the rights to every sport, and control how the content is presented, if at all.


ESPN is partners with all the major sports, and broadcasts their live games which are the heart of sports TV ratings.


This creates conflict-of-interest issues, leading to ESPN’s (mostly) lazy journalistic investigations into the dark underbelly of sports.  PEDs, concussions, player safety, retirement health & financial solvency are all broad scandals that are kept off the front pages– as much as possible.

Czarniak & Smith ESPN

Deflated balls, social media cat-fights, and press conference faux pas are the preferred narratives of professional league & media executives.

NFL ESPN Chris Mortensen

The rest is money, hype and advertising.