Reid Worrel COMM-140 Dr. Kurtz The Over-Analyzation of Sports: Good For Us, Bad for Them Exploit – to make full use of and derive benefit from In 1978, ESPN became the first all sports twenty-four hour network on television. Amidst many doubts, the network thrived, bringing in popular games, anchors, and athletes to discuss a wide variety of topics devoted to the sporting world. Now, however, there are currently around one dozen networks on television that have twenty four-hour sports coverage. Ranging from the NBA network to ESPN Classic, viewers are encompassed by a plethora of sport-dominated news, every second of every day. To many, this seems like a dream come true. For example, can’t sleep at night and want to watch highlights of the day’s baseball games? You got it. Worked all day and want to catch up on the latest news in the NBA? No problem. Own a fantasy team and want complete up to date news on the busts, sleepers, and risks? Simple. However, while the large amounts of information may appear to be fantastic to many, this around the clock constant coverage may have some problems after all. More specifically, the excess of twenty-four hour news networks has led to a dramatic over-analyzation of sports, athletes, and their decisions in negative ways. Furthermore, this overkill of analysis has also led to an exploitation of athletes for the personal use and gain of fans. Due to this problem, this essay looks to examine the different ways in which professional athletes, coaches, and even college stars are exploited as a result of the need for sports knowledge among both fans and critics. However, in order to effectively understand the beginning 1
of this over-analyzation, it is first important to get a general idea into the start and rise of arguably the most popular sports network of them all; ESPN. A couple of days ago, I asked three friends to tell me the first thing that comes to mind when I say “sports broadcasting.” Almost immediately, all three said ESPN. The idea of ESPN was first pitched in 1978 by Bill and Scott Rasmussen, as well as insurance agent Ed Eagen. Bill Rasmussen, a highly motivated individual within the sports world and Connecticut native, came up with the idea of a monthly news network in which they would cover all sports in the state of Connecticut. With the idea in mind, the three founders named the network ESP , also known as Entertainment and Sports Programming Network. With the name picked out, the creators then sought to find funding for the project. However, after an initial pitch to twelve possible investors, only five felt that the channel may work, with the skeptical rest seeing the business opportunity as an unnecessary risk. Yet, despite the risk, Rasmussen, his son, and Eagan incorporated the channel in July of 1978, providing the service for a fee of $91. With the network underway, the trio continued searching for an adequate cable channel until they were informed of satellite communication. Furthermore they learned, with this satellite form
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