ESPN is committed to giving fans access to sports 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They do so with multiple channels, including ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNEWS and ESPNU, as well as having up to date information on espn.com. ESPN is one of the most powerful resources in the world as it has its hands in everything they can. They have the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR and even the July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog all on its “Family of Networks.” They are apart of the Longhorn Network which is dedicated to Texas, as well as having a deal with the SEC Conference for football. ESPN may be too big and too powerful, but is there an alternative?
With the merger of NBC and Comcast, ESPN may face a competitor they have never seen before. Obviously this merger won’t overtake ESPN because ESPN is a billion dollar industry, but it would allow fans another avenue who might be tired of the power ESPN has. NBC and Comcast are committed to making this merger work because they have figures like Dan Patrick, Mike Florio and Darren Rovell all on board. All three are very respected and have huge followings. If by some chance this merger is as successful and what could be expected, ESPN may have a run for its money.
James Miller, author of the book Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, recently went on the Victor and Matt Show on the 110SportsPodcast.com to discuss the NBC/Comcast merger, “I think it could bring competition to ESPN. 2011 was an interesting year for ESPN because not only did they lose the Olympics which a lot of people there thought they were going to get, but they also had the World Cup stolen away from them by Fox. So, they are definitely living in a competitive climate. People who say, ‘there’s no such competitor to ESPN,’ I think that’s true from a 24/7, huge, multi national world brand. It’s very difficult. It would take $40 billion to put together another ESPN, the way ESPN is right now, but I think there still is a lot of competition and there’s a lot of money to be made going up against ESPN. Steve Burke, who runs NBC/Comcast, is a very competitive guy. I don’t think he wakes up in the morning and thinks, ‘ESPN has won it and there’s nothing to do.’”
While ESPN does not have either the Olympics or the World Cup, they do have the NFL which is a huge money-maker. There’s no question that the Olympics and World Cup are two of the biggest events in the World. The reality is they only come around every four years. If the new NBC Sports channel could somehow win some media rights with the NFL, NBA and MLB, then they would really be giving ESPN competition. It’s not going to happen overnight, but with a steady hand leading the way it could eventually be something big.
– For the full interview with James Miller listen to Episode 132 on 110SportsPodcast.com.
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110SportsPodcast.com features a weekly sports podcast and daily blogging. Episodes include interviews, entertainment, comedy, insight and analysis.