There are three core ingredients that fuel Mark Schlereth’s success in broadcasting — grinding, listening, and teamwork. He’s a worker. Mark prepares by breaking down NFL film so he has the answers to the test. He also listens. It’s one of the most overlooked skills in broadcasting, but Mark knows that listening is mandatory in order to actually have a real conversation. Finally, the three-time Super Bowl champ fully understands the importance of team. That goes a long way in broadcasting. Mark knows that it’s not just about him; it’s also about his on-air partner and what the listeners want to hear.
Mark is having a blast calling NFL games and doing his morning show on 104.3 The Fan in Denver. He oozes enthusiasm and passion for his gigs. We cover a lot of ground in our chat below. Mark talks about how Jim Lampley played a significant role in his career. He mentions a piece of advice from Colin Cowherd that resonated with him. Mark has an interesting reaction to receiving criticism from Dan Le Batard. He also talks about acting, consulting, and even uses the word extemporaneous. I was impressed because it’s three syllables longer than 95 percent of the words I use. Enjoy.
Brian Noe: Being from Alaska, what players or teams did you grow up rooting for?
Mark Schlereth: I grew up being a big football fan and rooting for the Steelers. That was my introduction. Funny enough when you grow up in Alaska, the Sunday morning game kicked off at like 7 a.m. It was kind of pre church. I’d get up early on Sunday mornings and pretty much every Sunday was the Steelers game; that’s the game we got. Then in the afternoons it was a Cowboy game. I’d watch the Steelers before we went to the church service. I just grew up watching Terry Bradshaw, Stallworth, Swann, Harris, Bleier, “Mean” Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, and Jack Lambert. Those were my guys. I fell in love with professional football and the Steelers.
The funny thing is years ago when I was still with ESPN, I’m walking through the lobby in Arizona, and Mel Blount is standing in the lobby of the media hotel. I’m walking with Trey Wingo and I’m like, oh my God, that’s Mel Blount, that’s Mel Blount. I’m such a big Steeler fan, right? I’m trying to act cool, but I’m literally like fanboying out. Mel Blount is every bit of 6’4, 270 and looked good. Mel Blount is a huge man. And he’s not fat; he’s just a thick dude. So I’m trying not to geek out. We walk by and I’m like let’s just not saying anything. He looks over and goes, “Hey, Mark. Hey, Trey. How are you guys doing?” I walk over and say hey big man, it’s really good to meet you. I’m a huge Steeler fan, blah blah blah. Meanwhile deep down inside I’m like (singing) Mel Blount knows my name. I’m trying to act so cool on the outside but deep down inside, man, I was freaked out because that’s your childhood hero.
I’m a huge Steeler fan. In fact my dad took me to one of the last games that Bradshaw played in. We stayed at their hotel and just stood in the lobby and got autographs. I became that guy as a kid standing in the lobby that all the Steelers wanted to talk to because I grew up in Alaska and they all wanted to come up and fish. I got to talk to all of my childhood heroes. It was just a phenomenal experience for me. When the Seahawks came into existence in ‘76, that was really the team that Alaska adopted. It was the closest in proximity but I just remained an ardent Steelers fan.
BN: When you think about your media career, did you ever think you’d be doing what you’ve done?
MS: Funny enough, when I first retired, I thought I would take two years off and then figure it out. I got done and literally within two weeks my wife was like if you don’t find something to do, we’re getting divorced because you’re driving me crazy. I just like to have work. I like to be busy. I like to be in the yard. I’m just constantly working. I probably spend two hours a day watching film and studying formations and defensive fronts and how defensive fronts tie to secondary and coverage. I just kind of geek out on it. I always have something that I’m trying to do. I like being busy. My wife was like you need to find something to do.
I actually did an interview with HBO. It was Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. Jim Lampley came out to the house to interview me. They were doing a segment on injuries and all of the stuff you have to put up with as a player. We did this whole interview and it was great. Lampley was awesome. It was a great three hours or whatever we spent chopping it up. You know how they have the little sit-down interview after the piece runs that they taped. Bryant Gumbel was like so what’s Mark going to do now? And Jim Lampley goes, I have no idea what he’s going to do, but he should get into broadcasting because the guy can speak.
I’m not kidding you — I had no agent or anything — literally my phone rang 10 minutes after that aired on HBO. It was an agent that said ‘hey man, I can get you work’. So I was like all right, what the heck. I already had a deal with FOX to go do an NFL Europe game. He got me that. Then three days later I was on a plane to Bristol. I literally auditioned for a half hour, had lunch and they hired me. It was just that fast. I put in 16 years there in studio.
BN: Before Lampley said that about you, were you even interested in doing media?
MS: I really hadn’t thought about it. I had done a lot of public speaking — a lot of corporate motivational speaking and other stuff. I traveled around from grade schools to high schools to junior high schools, and always had a flair for it. I always enjoyed getting up and entertaining. That part was easy. I did a lot of radio here like my last couple of years playing in the offseason and just had a blast doing it. At the time it was Dave Logan and Scott Hastings. I just really enjoyed that part of it. But I really didn’t have a plan. It was one of those things where I was just blessed to have some things fall into my lap, and also to realize that I couldn’t sit still. I just had to be doing something. I thought that after 12 years of playing and all the surgeries and everything else, I thought I could just chill. There’s just no way I could have done it.
BN: What was your most challenging role where you might have sat there and thought ‘I don’t actually know what I’m doing yet’?
MS: Yeah, the funniest thing was my first show; I went out for a show in July — at that point NFL Live only did Mondays in the offseason. We have our production meetings. Then they’re like come back at six for makeup. I’m like all right. I get back over there. We go down to the studio and I have no idea what I’m doing; I have no clue. We’re all sitting in our spots and the producer says ‘how are you doing’? Great, everything is good. Okay, we’re going to go into the A segment here; after the host tees you up, make your comments to camera one. I was like okay, there’s camera one, I see camera one. Okay I’m good. Then they’re like all right 10 seconds to live TV, good luck. And that was it, man. At that point we were just doing live TV.
Frankly you learn things over time. Initially I was trying to script things out. Eventually you figure out what works for you. For me it was to just listen. My thing is I’m always going to be prepared. I am the son of Herb Schlereth. That son of a bitch works like nobody I’ve ever met in my entire life. I have picked up that wonderful trait from my father. I’m going to grind. Then ultimately my big thing was I might put down one word on a rundown that I want to get to, but I’ve just found the best thing to do is listen. Somebody may say something that you completely disagree with or that changes your whole train of thought. You’ve got to be willing to be extemporaneous and make it work. That’s one of the things that I’ve always done is I’m going to sit down here and I’m going to listen to you, and to you, and to you. Then we’re going to have a conversation. That to me makes it the most organic and the most real. That’s how I’ve always approached it.
BN: At The Fan you went from Armen Williams, who is highly thought of in the industry, to a first-time PD in Raj [Sharan]. What was that transition like for you?
MS: It was great. Armen and I are very close friends and so are Raj and I. Ultimately the one thing that has remained the same — I mean pretty much everything has remained the same — but the thing that really has remained the same is kind of the open door policy. There were things that Armen and I disagreed on when we started together. I have a couple of different radio philosophies that I think just work. Ultimately I’m the one that turns on the mic so I’ve got to be comfortable with it. And it’s got to be authentic. My biggest thing with Armen and with Raj has been it’s got to be fun and it’s got to be entertaining.
I learned a couple of valuable lessons when I was working at ESPN with Colin Cowherd who I think does an incredible job. One of the things that Colin said to me years ago was my show is called The Herd, it’s not called the caller or the texter, it’s The Herd. It really resonated with me. I learned this from Colin; I won’t put a guest on if the guest isn’t more entertaining than I am, or if the guest doesn’t have a bigger name than me. Why would I bring somebody on and bog down the show if that guy doesn’t have great information or doesn’t have huge name value?
Content is important, but if I’m on at 6:15 in the morning, 90 percent of the people driving to work are going to a job they really don’t like. It’s my opportunity and honestly it’s my responsibility to entertain them. I always think about it this way; I want somebody to be at work as they’re putting together their 100th widget and they’re like, that dude just made me laugh or that dude’s an idiot. I think that’s important. We’ll have good content. When we’re talking football, there’s nobody that can talk football with our show. But it’s got to be fun and it’s got to be entertaining. It’s got to be something to me that everybody feels like they get to be a part of. That’s just kind of how I believe in radio.
Radio can be the funnest thing you do and it also can be the biggest pain in the ass of anything you do. If you have the right format and you have the right partner. And I do, Mike Evans — I’ve worked with Greenberg, I’ve worked with Colin Cowherd, I’ve worked with some of the great radio people in the history of this profession — there is nobody better at running a show than Mike Evans. The guy is phenomenal. He just knows how to run the show and push my buttons and does not let me get away with anything. He challenges me on a consistent basis. It’s a great fit. It’s the reason we’ve been so successful.
BN: How did Mike earn your respect?
MS: Well first and foremost from day one there was a camaraderie and connection, a mutual respect. We had a lot of the same philosophical points when it came to how to do a radio show. Ultimately one of the things I said to Mike on the first day we worked together, I said your job is to run the show so I can run around in it. When it comes to doing a show, Mike has zero ego. He’s not worried about getting his shine. He’s not worried about getting enough airtime. He looks at it truly like my job is to set my partner up and let my partner run.
The thing I respect about him is he has an opinion. There are so many times I say to him, have you not learned anything over all of these years doing radio with me? You still don’t know anything about football. I’ll just bust his balls and he’ll come right back at me with stuff. There’s been this mutual give and take. That’s the other thing; nobody at the end of the day has hurt feelings. We challenge each other, but we’re doing a show. There is no animosity and nobody is getting hurt feelings. If I tell you you’re an idiot and you have no clue what you’re talking about, he’ll come right back at me and challenge me on things. I’ll try to explain how it actually works versus the way he thinks it works. We get into it that way. At the end of the day it’s authentic, it’s real, and we have a blast doing it.
BN: Could you work with someone who got hurt feelings easily?
MS: No, I grew up in a locker room. I played at the University of Idaho. My guys, I meet with them every year. I’m going next month to our Vandal reunion; it’s like year 24 in a row. Ten to 15 of us get together and they are the wittiest, smartest, most sarcastic people on the face of the planet. It was kill or be killed. You better learn how to survive; otherwise you’re going to get destroyed. And that’s how we operated. That’s just how guys show love to one another. I would have no patience for somebody who can’t handle that type of atmosphere. That’s just the way I’ve grown up. That’s the way I approached adulthood through high school football, and college football, and in the pros. That’s just the way a locker room works. I would have a really hard time if I had to be careful about hurting somebody’s feelings.
BN: [Laughs] Sure. The Man 101 bits are hilarious. What do you think about Dan Le Batard taking shots at those bits of yours?
MS: Dan Le Batard, I don’t care, he can do whatever he wants. If that helps his show, great. It’s always funny because anytime I put a Man 101 up there, I see a bunch of people tagging Le Batard. [Laughs] But whatever, it doesn’t affect me. It’s kind of the old lions don’t concern themselves with the opinions of sheep. I don’t care. My hobby is landscaping. It’s what I do. I’m constantly in my yard working. I’m competitive. I’ll let all my neighbors know you’re getting your ass kicked in yard care right now. I’ve occasionally left notes on my neighbor’s doors from my lawn to their lawn. Like are you okay, you look sick over here. Things are great on my side. I’m a gracious loser but I’m a terrible winner. I’ll let you know about it. But Le Batard can do whatever he wants. I honestly, I’ve done his show once or twice, I don’t have a relationship with a guy, I don’t really know the guy. But whatever floats their boat is fine with me. If it gives me more views and more likes and more people watching my stuff, then that’s great.
BN: How did you get into consulting for various NFL teams?
MS: Teams have enough respect for what I do as a broadcaster and what I did as a player that I’ve had the opportunity to consult for a couple of different teams. I’ve just enjoyed the heck out of that. It’s like coaching. It still keeps you really tied into the game. That part has been really fun for me to just kind of sit and pick on the philosophes. It’s funny; I was with a team two weeks ago. They wanted to talk to me about running the ball better. I said to this particular team, I go everybody says they want to run it better, but are you actually going to commit to running it better? I go I don’t know what it is with you play callers but you guys are funny to me. You’ll run it three times and net two yards per attempt, and you’ll be like aww fuck it, we can’t run the ball. But you’ll throw six incompletions in a row, and you’ll keep throwing the damn thing. I go I don’t fuckin’ understand any of you guys. [Laughs] Like what is that? This particular coach just started laughing. He goes it is so true.
BN: How did the acting stuff come about and do you see yourself doing more of it in the future?
MS: I do it if people ask me to do it. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I understand staying in my lane and being a football guy. I enjoy doing that. I’m not trying to become an actor. So I really don’t give a rip. If something like Ballers comes up, then great. I have a blast doing it. It’s fun. It’s one of those things that’s challenging because I know that’s not my wheelhouse. The Guiding Light stuff came up just because the guy who was the casting director was a big ESPN fan. He just liked me on TV. So he said hey will you come up and audition? I did and they booked me. I went on a two-year run for a recurring role. My big joke is that show was on air for 72 years, it took me two years to get it knocked off air. It was a soap opera on radio and then 50 years on television and I got it cancelled. But yeah if the opportunity came, I certainly would do it.
BN: When you look to the future do you have any goals or anything specific in mind that you would like to experience?
MS: Not really. I love doing games so much and being part of a team. That to me is what makes it exciting. Calling a game, there’s so much that goes into it. There’s so much work, so much preparation that goes into it. The coolest part is you get to be with the team. I love being part of a team. It intrigues me. That everybody has to sacrifice for one another for our team and our broadcast to be good. It’s very much the same way it was when I was playing. I’m a Christian and love Jesus; what’s the first thing Jesus did? When he started his ministry he got 12 guys together. He got his disciples and collected his team. I’m just a big believer in sacrificing and leaning on one another and working together. Every Thursday I get on a plane and I just am so excited to go be together. I love it. My dad told me something when I was a little kid, find something you love to do and you’ll never have to go to work. Shoot, I’m 55 years old. All I’ve been doing is playing and talking about football my entire adult life.
Brian Noe is a columnist for BSM and an on-air host heard nationwide each weekend on FOX Sports Radio. Previous roles include stops in Portland, OR, Albany, NY and Fresno, CA. You can follow him on Twitter @TheNoeShow or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Future Is Now, Embrace Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+
As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible.
This week has been a reckoning for sports and its streaming future on Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV+, ESPN+, and more.
Amazon announced that Thursday Night Football, which averaged 13 million viewers, generated the highest number of U.S. sign ups over a three hour period in the app’s history. More people in the United States subscribed to Prime during the September 15th broadcast than they did during Black Friday, Prime Day, and Cyber Monday. It was also “the most watched night of primetime in Prime Video’s history,” according to Amazon executive Jay Marine. The NFL and sports in general have the power to move mountains even for some of the nation’s biggest and most successful brands.
This leads us to the conversation happening surrounding Aaron Judge’s chase for history. Judge has been in pursuit of former major leaguer Roger Maris’ record for the most home runs hit during one season in American League history.
The sports world has turned its attention to the Yankees causing national rights holders such as ESPN, Fox, and TBS to pick up extra games in hopes that they capture the moment history is made. Apple TV+ also happened to have a Yankees game scheduled for Friday night against the Red Sox right in the middle of this chase for glory.
Baseball fans have been wildin’ out at the prospects of missing the grand moment when Judge passes Maris or even the moments afterwards as Judge chases home run number 70 and tries to truly create monumental history of his own. The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand has even reported there were talks between YES, MLB, and Apple to bring Michael Kay into Apple’s broadcast to call the game, allow YES Network to air its own production of the game, or allow YES Network to simulcast Apple TV+’s broadcast. In my opinion, all of this hysteria is extremely bogus.
As annoying as streaming sports is and as much as I haven’t fully adapted to the habit yet, Amazon and Apple have done a magnificent job of trying to make the process as easy and simplified as possible. Amazon brought in NBC to help with production of TNF and if you watch the flow of the broadcast, the graphics of the broadcast, NBC personalities like Michael Smith, Al Michaels, and Terry McAuliffe make appearances on the telecast – it is very clear that the network’s imprint is all over the show.
NBC’s experience in conducting the broadcast has made the viewing experience much more seamless. Apple has also used MLB Network and its personalities for assistance in ensuring there’s no major difference between what you see on air vs. what you’re streaming.
Amazon and Apple have also decided to not hide their games behind a paywall. Since the beginning of the season, all of Apple’s games have been available free of charge. No subscription has ever been required. As long as you have an Apple device and can download Apple TV+, you can watch their MLB package this season.
Guess what? Friday’s game against the Red Sox is also available for free on your iPhone, your laptop, or your TV simply by downloading the AppleTV app. Amazon will also simulcast all Thursday Night Football games on Twitch for free. It may be a little harder or confusing to find the free options, but they are out there and they are legal and, once again, they are free.
Apple has invested $85 million into baseball, money that will go towards your team becoming better hypothetically. They’ve invested money towards creating a new kind of streaming experience. Why in the hell would they offer YES Network this game for free? There’s no better way for them to drive subscriptions to their product than by offering fans a chance at watching history on their platform.
A moment like this are the main reason Apple paid for rights in the first place. When Apple sees what the NFL has done for Amazon in just one week and coincidentally has the ability to broadcast one of the biggest moments in baseball history – it would be a terrible business decision to let viewers watch it outside of the Apple ecosystem and lose the ability to gain new fans.
It’s time for sports fans to grow up and face reality. Streaming is here to stay.
MLB Network is another option
If you don’t feel like going through the hassle of watching the Yankees take on the Red Sox for free on Apple TV+, MLB Network will also air all of Judge’s at bats live as they are happening. In case the moment doesn’t happen on Apple TV+ on Friday night, Judge’s next games will air in full on MLB Network (Saturday), ESPN (Sunday), MLB Network again (Monday), TBS (Tuesday) and MLB Network for a third time on Wednesday. All of MLB Network’s games will be simulcast of YES Network’s local New York broadcast. It wouldn’t shock me to see Fox pick up another game next Thursday if the pursuit still maintains national interest.
- One of the weirdest things about the experience of streaming sports is that you lose the desire to channel surf. Is that a good thing or bad thing? Brandon Ross of LightShed Ventures wonders if the difficulty that comes with going from app to app will help Amazon keep viewers on TNF the entire time no matter what the score of the game is. If it does, Amazon needs to work on developing programming to surround the games or start replaying the games, pre and post shows so that when you fall asleep and wake up you’re still on the same stream on Prime Video or so that coming to Prime Video for sports becomes just as much of a habit for fans as tuning in to ESPN is.
- CNN has announced the launch of a new morning show with Don Lemon, Poppy Harlow and Kaitlin Collins. Variety reports, “Two people familiar with plans for the show say it is likely to use big Warner Bros. properties — a visit from the cast of HBO’s Succession or sports analysis from TNT’s NBA crew — to lure eyeballs.” It’ll be interesting to see if Turner Sports becomes a cornerstone of this broadcast. Will the NBA start doing schedule releases during the show? Will a big Taylor Rooks interview debut on this show before it appears on B/R? Will the Stanley Cup or Final Four MVP do an interview on CNN’s show the morning after winning the title? Does the show do remote broadcasts from Turner’s biggest sports events throughout the year?
- The Clippers are back on over the air television. They announced a deal with Nexstar to broadcast games on KTLA and other Nexstar owned affiliates in California. The team hasn’t reached a deal to air games on Bally Sports SoCal or Bally Sports Plus for the upcoming season. Could the Clippers pursue a solo route and start their own OTT service in time for the season? Are they talking to Apple, Amazon, or ESPN about a local streaming deal? Is Spectrum a possible destination? I think these are all possibilities but its likely that the Clippers end up back on Bally Sports since its the status quo. I just find it interesting that it has taken so long to solidify an agreement and that it wasn’t announced in conjunction with the KTLA deal. The Clippers are finally healthy this season, moving into a new arena soon, have the technology via Second Spectrum to produce immersive game casts. Maybe something is brewing?
- ESPN’s Monday Night Football double box was a great concept. The execution sucked. Kudos to ESPN for adjusting on the fly once complaints began to lodge across social media. I think the double box works as a separate feed. ESPN2 should’ve been the home to the double box. SVP and Stanford Steve could’ve held a watch party from ESPN’s DC studio with special guests. The double box watch party on ESPN2 could’ve been interrupted whenever SVP was giving an update on games for ESPN and ABC. It would give ESPN2 a bit of a behind the scenes look at how the magic happens similarly to what MLB Tonight did last week. Credit to ESPN and the NFL for experimenting and continuing to try and give fans unique experiences.
Jessie Karangu is a columnist for BSM and graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. He was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland but comes from Kenyan roots. Jessie has had a passion for sports media and the world of television since he was a child. His career has included stints with USA Today, Tegna, Sinclair Broadcast Group and Sightline Media. He can be found on Twitter @JMKTVShow.
ESPN Shows Foresight With Monday Night Football Doubleheader Timing
ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7 and then 10 on their primary channel.
The Monday Night Football doubleheader was a little bit different this time around for ESPN.
First, it came in Week 2 instead of Week 1. And then, the games were staggered 75 minutes apart on two different channels, the Titans and Bills beginning on ESPN at 7:15 PM ET and the Vikings at the Eagles starting at 8:30 PM on ABC and ESPN+. This was a departure from the usual schedule in which the games kicked off at 7:00 PM ET and then 10:00 PM ET with the latter game on the West Coast.
ESPN is obviously testing something, and it’s worth poking around at why the network wouldn’t follow the schedule it has used for the last 16 years, scheduling kickoffs at 7:00 PM and then 10:00 PM ET on their primary channel. That’s the typical approach, right? The NFL is the most valuable offering in all of sports and ESPN would have at least six consecutive hours of live programming without any other game to switch to.
Instead, they staggered the starts so the second game kicked off just before the first game reached halftime. They placed the games on two different channels, which risked cannibalizing their audience. Why? Well, it’s the same reason that ESPN was so excited about the last year’s Manningcast that it’s bringing it back for 10 weeks this season. ESPN is not just recognizing the reality of how their customers behave, but they’re embracing it.
Instead of hoping with everything they have that the customer stays in one place for the duration of the game, they’re recognizing the reality that they will leave and providing another product within their portfolio to be a destination when they do.
It’s the kind of experiment everyone in broadcasting should be investigating because, for all the talk about meeting the customer where they are, we still tend to be a little bit stubborn about adapting to what they do.
Customers have more choices than ever when it comes to media consumption. First, cable networks softened the distribution advantages of broadcast networks, and now digital offerings have eroded the distribution advantages of cable networks. It’s not quite a free-for-all, but the battle for viewership is more intense, more wide open than ever because that viewer has so many options of not just when and where but how they will consume media.
Programmers have a choice in how to react to this. On the one hand, they can hold on tighter to the existing model and try to squeeze as much out of it as they can. If ESPN was thinking this way it would stack those two Monday night games one after the other just like it always has and hope like hell for a couple of close games to juice the ratings. Why would you make it impossible for your customer to watch both of these products you’ve paid so much to televise?
I’ve heard radio programmers and hosts recite take this same approach for more than 10 years now when it comes to making shows available on-demand. Why would you give your customers the option of consuming the product in a way that’s not as remunerative or in a way that is not measured?
That thinking is outdated and it is dangerous from an economic perspective because it means you’re trying to make the customer behave in your best interest by restricting their choices. And maybe that will work. Maybe they like that program enough that they’ll consume it in the way you’d prefer or maybe they decide that’s inconvenient or annoying or they decide to try something else and now this customer who would have listened to your product in an on-demand format is choosing to listen to someone else’s product entirely.
After all, you’re the only one that is restricting that customer’s choices because you’re the only one with a desire to keep your customer where he is. Everyone else is more than happy to give your customer something else.
There’s a danger in holding on too tightly to the existing model because the tighter you squeeze, the more customers will slip through your fingers, and if you need a physical demonstration to complete this metaphor go grab a handful of sand and squeeze it hard.
Your business model is only as good as its ability to predict the behavior of your customers, and as soon as it stops doing that, you need to adjust that business model. Don’t just recognize the reality that customers today will exercise the freedom that all these media choices provide, embrace it.
Offer more products. Experiment with more ways to deliver those products. The more you attempt to dictate the terms of your customer’s engagement with your product, the more customers you’ll lose, and by accepting this you’ll open yourself to the reality that if your customer is going to leave your main offering, it’s better to have them hopping to another one of your products as opposed to leaving your network entirely.
Think in terms of depth of engagement, and breadth of experience. That’s clearly what ESPN is doing because conventional thinking would see the Manningcast as a program that competes with the main Monday Night Football broadcast, that cannibalizes it. ESPN sees it as a complimentary experience. An addition to the main broadcast, but it also has the benefit that if the customer feels compelled to jump away from the main broadcast – for whatever reason – it has another ESPN offering that they may land on.
I’ll be watching to see what ESPN decides going forward. The network will have three Monday Night Football doubleheaders beginning next year, and the game times have not been set. Will they line them up back-to-back as they had up until this year? If they do it will be a vote of confidence that its traditional programming approach that evening is still viable. But if they overlap those games going forward, it’s another sign that less is not more when it comes to giving your customers a choice in products.
Danny O’Neil is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously hosted morning and afternoon drive for 710 ESPN Seattle, and served as a reporter for the Seattle Times. He can be reached on Twitter @DannyOneil or by email at Danny@DannyOneil.com.
Media Noise: Sunday Ticket Has Problems, Marcellus Wiley Does Not
On this episode of Media Noise, Demetri is joined by Brian Noe to talk about the wild year FS1’s Marcellus Wiley has had and by Garrett Searight to discuss the tumultuous present and bright future of NFL Sunday Ticket.
Demetri Ravanos is the Assistant Content Director for Barrett Sports Media. He hosts the Chewing Clock and Media Noise podcasts. He occasionally fills in on stations across the Carolinas. Previous stops include WAVH and WZEW in Mobile, AL, WBPT in Birmingham, AL and WBBB, WPTK and WDNC in Raleigh, NC. You can find him on Twitter @DemetriRavanos and reach him by email at DemetriTheGreek@gmail.com.