I don’t know if this is going to bring back the masses, but it’s a great start to fix the problems that have killed this sports network.
When people used to turn on ESPN, they were trying to get away from anything resembling their work day or political news. They wanted to enjoy competition and quality programming. Somewhere along the line, they started hiring voices who thought it was their job to force political opinions on its viewers.
Enter Disney executive Jimmy Pitaro.
Pitaro took over ESPN in March 2018 after spending eight years running Disney’s interactive and consumer products divisions. He confronted a tricky task: maintaining ESPN’s highly profitable but maturing core television business at a time when the company was roiled by subscriber losses, layoffs and a perception by some on Wall Street that it was a problem for Disney.
Although challenges remain, analysts and colleagues credit Pitaro for bringing stability to the iconic company and finding new ways to reach out to younger audiences.
Pitaro has also satisfied ESPN’s more traditional fans by steering commentators away from political discussions on-air and on social media, which heightened during President Trump’s criticism of NFL player protests against social injustice during the playing of the national anthem.
“Without question our data tells us our fans do not want us to cover politics,” Pitaro said. “My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t believe they are confused.” [LA Times]
Do you think Pitaro would be saying this if they were winning? If they were getting the response from their viewers that they tried to engineer with their political message? So now they know. They always knew. But now they have run out of ways to pretend they didn’t. Think they are going to stop? Change? Of course not. They will only change their tactics.
Sports Center used to be what I called the Toy Department, where you would get away from the headaches of politics, foreign affairs, the economy, etc., and have fun. Unfortunately, Liberals invaded and made it into politics, ruining everything.
I swore off ESPN when they gave a “courage” Espy Award to Bruce Jenner over a terminally ill teenage athlete. What a warped way to prioritize courage. I wish I could have been in the room when that decision was made. I would have asked, “what in the heck is wrong with you people?” Nothing short of disgusting.
ESPN cured me of watching a lot of sports. Funny, I don’t miss ESPN one bit.
More from WayneDupree.com