ESPN or League Networks?

Posted: April 10, 2012 by vindanton in Pro Sports, Television

By: Vin D’Anton
In January 1995, the Golf Channel was launched after four years in the making by media entrepreneur Joseph E. Gibbs. Gibbs felt that there was enough of a public interest in Golf that a 24-hour station that circled around one sport would be successful. Timing couldn’t be more perfect for Gibbs because Tiger Woods made the Tour one year later, and we all know how Golf has taken off since his arrival.

Another sport that seemed to not get enough American attention…Soccer, needed more air-time as well. So in 1997, Fox Sports created Fox Soccer. In 2003, Tennis grabbed its own air time with the Tennis Channel. Tennis, Soccer and Golf are three sports that were in dying need of getting their sport out there…the major sports didn’t need that right?

Wrong. While the NBA launched NBA TV in 1999, the NFL beat them to the punch when it came to popularity. They launched the NFL Network in 2003, and this just sent the sport through the roof. In a sport where we only get it once a week, the league knew it’s fans wanted more, and the Network gives them that. Now, the NHL and MLB have one, and die-hard fans never miss a beat and can always get their fill.

But what about the one that started it all? ESPN. If it weren’t for ESPN, sports may not be as big. It opened up a whole new world of sports and only made us more obsessed with professional athletics.

If you want your daily dose of sports information, you turn on SportsCenter and you got it. But it seems like the die-hard sports fan is growing tired of ESPN’s act. They are very conservative and will never cross the line or insult a Brett Favre, LeBron James, or Tiger Woods, just so their network can always have the first interview.

With the league network’s growing, one can only wonder what the future holds for sports media and for ESPN, who may not be needed one day. 

  1. Ed says:

    While I find ESPN very political, I feel as though they get some of the better “experts” in the sense that they are just more enjoyable to watch. ESPN has sports broadcasting completely figured out, and until League Networks can figure out how go get to the level of ESPN, they will always be behind.

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