The ESPN Strikes Back


So *finally* ESPN is in the eSports game. Yesterday they launched an obligatory eSports section to and it’s tucked away with cycling and tennis as a 2nd or 3rd tier activity. But it’s there.

Clearly this is a grudging — hey wait up for me — effort, and I can’t imagine it being very relevant. The big splash lead article is all about how big eSports has become, which underscores the “business case” angle to ESPN’s involvement here. But  what choice do they have? They can’t ignore it.

As a massive media temple to the “Big Four” American sports (or.. six? Do I see college football and soccer ahead of NHL now on the menu? hmm..) I’m sure ESPN is calibrated to nurture that core audience but the overlap w/ gamerz is.. uh.. not nearly as much as you’d think. eSports is driven by MUD and MOBA citizens (the audience!) who are globally distributed and livestreamed into the metaverse. American football on tv? Whaazat?

So we watch the empire collapse in slow motion, the laws of disruptive business cycle mechanics and shareholder accountability mean ESPN will continue to be owned by their core “concussion-sport” audience and slowly manage their position perfectly — but inevitably — into the ground.

So we salute the empire. And we watch..

3 thoughts on “The ESPN Strikes Back

  1. Brent Logan

    I think there’s another disrupter to occur in sports viewing: 360 VR viewing where the viewer can quickly switch between cameras and can choose to either watch a replay or join the live stream.

    As a side benefit, advertisers would have a whole new world to create in, one where they were guaranteed their viewers would have 360 viewing capability.

    I wonder how close we are to this. My Galaxy S6 can view 360 videos, but it’s jerky when changing angles too fast. Regardless, I hope this is the future. I already want a 360 action cam for longboarding. 🙂

  2. shelby

    to see 360 videos, you gotta put your phone in a headset thingy, right? and you have one of those? I still feel like VR is a long way from mainstream, but maybe I’m wrong.

  3. Brent Logan

    I have just a Cardboard, which I got for free for signing up for a free NYT subscription. Now, I’m tempted to buy the $99 version that works with my S6 phone.

    And yes, this probably is still a ways from mainstream, but I can dream. 🙂


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