Friday, June 9, 2017

sports espn

ESPN research on biases and coverage says 'it's you, not us'

Everyone seems to feel some type of way about ESPN.
Too liberal. Too political. Too personality-driven.
In the wake of large-scale layoffs that saw the departure of several high-profile talents, and over 100 journalists and commentators in all, the "worldwide leader" faced its critics head-on this week when it released results from a Langer Research Associates' survey from May.
Many of ESPN's critics would probably fall between the 30-somethings to 50-somethings age range. But according to the research, ESPN was the highest-rated full-time cable network among men and adults aged 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54 last year for the third year in a row.
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The results go on to say that:
- Approximately 64 percent of respondents believe ESPN is getting it right in terms of mixing sports news and political issues.
- The proportion of viewers who see political bias in ESPN programming is unchanged since the survey was conducted in October 2016.
- Strong conservatives ranked ESPN at 7.2 and Republicans give it a 7.1 on a 1-10 scale. Forty-five percent of the total sample scored ESPN 8-10.
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- Of those who see a bias, 30 percent actually believe ESPN expresses a conservative viewpoint. Republicans actually rated ESPN's overall performance higher than other groups did on the last survey.
So, what gives?
Bryan Curtis, Editor-at-Large for The Ringer, touched on this topic in his recent piece, "Why Does Everyone Want ESPN to Fail?"
"Historically speaking, it's stunning that sports fans would root against ESPN. Fox Sports' Clay Travis claims "middle America" is culturally alienated from the network. But for the better part of three decades, what just about every fan felt toward ESPN was intense cultural identification."
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Cultural identification can be defined as "the feeling of belonging to a group. It is part of a person's self-conception and self-perception and is related to nationality, ethnicity, religion, social class, generation, locality or any kind of social group that had its own distinct culture."
And by that definition, it makes sense why ESPN's critics feel the network has changed. ESPN became a cultural phenomenon because of "SportsCenter." Black people had Stuart Scott, women had Linda Cohn, and white men had everybody else that sat at the anchor desk.
But times changed. Diversity and inclusion are the focus now, and "SportsCenter" lost its luster. We don't need a daily show at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. to show us highlights and tell us who won, and who lost. Social media and our ESPN apps, ironically, instantly do that for us now.
So, it's not so much that ESPN is "too liberal" or has become "political," it's that the network decided to evolve, while some viewers didn't.
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"But look at ESPN's newly announced schedule to see what "personalities and pizzazz" really means," Curtis said. "You won't find many Stephen A.'s. Instead, you find journalists like Scott Van Pelt, Pablo Torre, Bomani Jones, Jemele Hill, Michael Smith, Bob Ley, Rachel Nichols, and Dan Le Batard. ESPN has also given pushes to Mina Kimes, Bill Barnwell, and Zach Lowe; it has funded the long-range reporting of Don Van Natta Jr. and Steve Fainaru."
ESPN is targeting a younger, hipper, and more diverse audience than ever before. I get the sense that young folks/millennials understand that sports aren't just "sports" anymore. An athlete's story and experiences are worth deeper commentary now. Jocks are brands, and that can bleed into politics and social issues. Thus, bringing them all together under "sports."
If you agree with that, you probably like the direction ESPN is going.
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But if you want athletes to just "shut up and play ball," then you've more than likely become annoyed with the network's coverage.
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From their programming to their reporters, ESPN has decided it will focus on their personalities to connect with viewers and readers. That was evident when you take a look at who was left standing after the layoffs.
However, the thing that caught my eye was that critics seemed to be more upset with who was still employed than with who wasn't.
Much of the hate was spewed at four people: Stephen A. Smith, Jemele Hill, Michael Smith and Bomani Jones. Four black personalities that started out as journalists, that connect with audiences on a multitude of different platforms. They are part of the future of the network and have styles that align with what younger demographics want: sports, culture, and social commentary done intelligently.
ESPN used to be a place where white men's vernacular and opinions were plentiful, but not anymore. The network has embraced diversity to the fullest extent. "The Undefeated" is a site dedicated to race, sports, and culture under the ESPN/Disney umbrella, while women and people of color representing all colors, shades and sexual orientations are writing and appearing on programs to give a sense of cultural identification for those that never used to see themselves on the network.
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It's quite interesting to watch the changes the company is making and take note of who likes it and who doesn't.
ESPN has decided that this is who they will be going forward: progressive and "left-leaning" to some.
Which means that viewers and readers will either be boarding "the mothership" or will get left behind.
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ESPN Deportes' Alvaro Martin talks Warriors, Cavs at NBA Finals game 3

CLEVELAND, Ohio (KGO) --
Alvaro Martin from ESPN Deportes is calling the NBA Finals in Spanish for our international audience. Fans know about ESPN in the U.S., but might not know about ESPN's worldwide presence.
SCHEDULE: Warriors 2017 NBA Finals on ABC7
Watch the video in the player above to learn more about Alvaro, ESPN Deportes, and the massive impact sports has on an international level.
WATCH: Alvaro Martin team up with ABC7 at Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Oakland
Click here for more stories, photos, and video on the Golden State Warriors.
(Copyright ©2017 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

ESPN Asked Viewers About Its Political Bias And The Results Are Surprising

ESPN has done its own polling when it comes to its perceived political bias, and the results are very interesting if you have an opinion about the way ESPN covers sports.
The sports network’s research group published a poll it conducted with ESPN viewers and how they perceive the network’s political leanings. Though reports of a “liberal” ESPN losing in the numbers game has been a popular narrative as of late, ESPN Research did not find that to be the case with its audience.
Approximately two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents believe ESPN is getting it right in terms of mixing sports news and political issues. Another 10 percent had no opinion … and 8 percent said ESPN does not do enough politics in its programming.
The number of viewers who think ESPN is political actually hasn’t changed since October of last year, though many people have speculated it has increased its political coverage, which has impacted negative ratings. These kind of polling numbers indicate that the narrative is more symptom than sickness, and people are simply searching for explanations that differ from the shifting state of cable television and the way people consume sports.
In fact, those that say ESPN is failing because of a liberal media bias can’t account for those that feel the network is actually too conservative about its coverage of sports.
Of those who see a bias, 30 percent actually believe ESPN expresses a conservative viewpoint. Most importantly, even those who identify as conservative (or Republican) actually rate ESPN’s overall performance higher than those groups had in October.
The modern media landscape is so fractured these days that it’s pretty easy to shield yourself from viewpoints you don’t share. With sports coverage, though, the isolation isn’t nearly as complete as in other areas like politics and entertainment. Though personalities like Sage Steele and Bomani Jones can both work at the massive network, the overall tone of ESPN cannot be both liberal and conservative.
When people claim the sports world is too liberal or conservative, it seems they’re often making their politics more clear than actually what’s being presented by ESPN.

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