Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

BSM Writers

ESPN Struck Out Interrupting College Football For Aaron Judge At-Bats

Why make that even more difficult by trying to serve an audience that, if they cared that deeply about a Yankees’ home run record, would probably be watching YES Network anyway?

Avatar photo

Published

on

Aaron Judge, College Football

One thing you quickly learn in this business is that you will never please everyone. If you try to be all things to all people, you often end up failing everyone. That can often put an organization like ESPN in a difficult spot. They are heavily invested in live sports play-by-play but are also the video outlet of record for any breaking sports news.

Never has this tension been more apparent for ESPN than it was in Saturday’s early slate of college football. While Clemson was playing Wake Forest in a key early season ACC game on ABC, Auburn was hosting Missouri in a “Coaching Hot Seat Special” on ESPN. At the same time, Aaron Judge was continuing his chase for the magical number of 61 home runs on the YES Network.

When I was a kid, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire had not yet passed the Roger Maris Major League home run mark. Any time a player passed the 50 homer mark, that became the story of the summer. I often wondered if anyone would ever pass 61 but that happened that one magical summer, the summer many credit with saving baseball, when Sosa and McGwire both assaulted it.

The American League, and Yankees, home run record still remains at 61, so Judge’s chase doesn’t lack historical significance but does feel a little hollow. I can only speak for myself but Judge’s chase for 61 feels like an “if I’m at home with nothing else to do, I’d like to see that at-bat” type of chase.

That was not the case Saturday and ESPN chose to serve up those at-bats right in the middle of their college football games. During the action of both the ABC and ESPN games, the Worldwide Leader chose to go with a double box of the football and Judge’s at-bats with the audio of Michael Kay’s call on the YES Network.

Now, if you don’t know much about the Southern football fan, they don’t even allow their football Saturdays to be interrupted by family weddings. I’m not even exaggerating. A Fall wedding in the Deep South is about as common as 62 home runs in a season. Fans are only guaranteed 12 weekends of football and they live the other 40 weeks dreaming about those 12 weeks. If you want me to see you get married, or hit your 61st homer, do it when I’m not watching football.

The most common reaction I saw to this was the understandable, “If I wanted to watch baseball, I’d be watching baseball.” I find it a reasonable reaction to what ESPN chose to do. We no longer live in a world in which we can’t watch a Yankees game anywhere in America. Sure, in 1998 when McGwire and Sosa were chasing history, MLB Extra Innings was only two years old. The opportunity to watch Cubs or Cardinals games then was much more limited.

Not to mention, you know, McGwire and Sosa were chasing actual Major League Baseball history. Judge is chasing Yankees history. Anyone that deeply cares about that would be well aware of the fact they could watch it on YES Network. Auburn, Missouri, Wake Forest and Clemson fans were doing just that; watching the game the only place they could.

My surprise in ESPN’s miscalculation here is their lack of grasp of the fact that the people watching these two college football games fall mainly into two groups. Group one: viewers emotionally invested in the success or failure of Clemson, Wake Forest, Auburn or Missouri. Group two: people financially invested in the success or failure of Clemson, Wake Forest, Auburn or Missouri. 

I have to think the crossover between those two groups and the group of people that deeply care about Aaron Judge’s 61st home run is very small, if not non-existent. That is the risk you run when you try to be all things to all people, you eventually upset everyone.

Why not just show the Judge at-bats on ESPNNews? That is ESPN’s catch-all channel anyway. How many college football games start on ESPNNews and the ESPN app because ESPN can’t accept the fact that 90% of college games last longer than three and a half hours? That way, if I care at all, and have no access to YES Network, I have my options.

The objection would be that the college football fans only missed minimal action but that misses the main point. As a consumer of college football, I can tell you the fans want to think the game you are showing them is the most important thing to your network at that time. It is why they hate when your announcers turn play-by-play into a sports talk show, or when you waste their time with meaningless sideline interviews, or when you miss plays to show things that don’t impact the outcome of their game.

There is no doubt just pleasing your target audience is hard enough as it is. Why make that even more difficult by trying to serve an audience that, if they cared that deeply about a Yankees’ home run record, would probably be watching YES Network anyway? ESPN would call it breaking news, I would call it a lack of situational awareness by ESPN.

Either way, ESPN was trying to be all things to all people. When you try to please everyone, you often end up scheduling a Fall wedding.

Barrett Blogs

BSM’s Black Friday SALE on BSM Summit Tickets is Underway!

Jason Barrett

Published

on

blank

Each year I’m asked if there are ways to save money on tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit. I always answer yes but not everyone takes advantage of it. For those interested in doing so, here’s your shot.

For TODAY ONLY, individual tickets to the 2023 BSM Summit are reduced by $50.00. Two ticket and four ticket packages are also lowered at $50 per ticket. To secure your seat at a discounted price, just log on to BSMSummit.com. This sale ends tonight at 11:59pm ET.

If you’re flying to Los Angeles for the event, be sure to reserve your hotel room. Our hotel partner this year is the USC Hotel. It’s walking distance of our venue. Full details on hotel rooms can also be found via the conference website.

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Does The Return of Bob Iger Mean to ESPN?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

Demetri Ravanos has questions about Disney going back to the future with Bob Iger. This entire episode of Media Noise is all about what the change at the top of the Walt Disney Company indicates about the future of ESPN.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Media Noise: What Is Realistic For FOX at the World Cup?

Demetri Ravanos

Published

on

blank

On this special holiday edition of Media Noise, Demetri Ravanos dives into the controversy and criticism surrounding FOX’s coverage of the World Cup in Qatar.

ITunes: https://buff.ly/3PjJWpO

Spotify: https://buff.ly/3AVwa90

iHeart: https://buff.ly/3cbINCp

Google: https://buff.ly/3PbgHWx

Amazon: https://buff.ly/3cbIOpX

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.