HoopsHype ESPN rumors

September 16, 2013 Updates
August 22, 2013 Updates
June 12, 2013 Updates

ESPN is shutting down its ESPN 3D channel at year’s end, a company spokesperson confirmed to TVNewsCheck. ESPN 3D Launched in June 2010 with the 3D broadcast of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. TV News Check

ESPN issued the following statement: “Due to limited viewer adoption of 3D services to the home, ESPN is discontinuing ESPN 3D. We are committing our 3D resources to other products and services that will better serve fans and affiliates. Nobody knows more about sports in 3D than ESPN, and we will be ready to provide the service to fans if or when 3D does take off.” TV News Check

June 10, 2013 Updates
May 24, 2013 Updates

For the second summer in a row, ESPN has plucked one of the top news breakers in college sports from CBS Sports. Jeff Goodman has left CBS Sports and signed with ESPN, a source tells me. Goodman joined CBS Sports two years ago and along with Gary Parrish, helped CBS dominate breaking news in college basketball. According to a source, Goodman has been hired by the TV arm of ESPN, but will also write for ESPN.com. It’s unclear if Goodman will contribute to ESPN’s NBA Draft coverage next month. Goodman didn’t return an email seeking comment. The Big Lead

May 21, 2013 Updates

ESPN, the very profitable arm of Disney, will be laying off about 400 employees this week, the company announcement via statement today. “We are implementing changes across the company to enhance our continued growth while smartly managing costs. While difficult, we are confident that it will make us more competitive, innovative and productive.” The Big Lead

June 11, 2012 Updates
November 4, 2010 Updates
October 3, 2010 Updates

The coverage - or overkill - of Trio Grande, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, is underway. ESPN is on the scene at the Heat's training camp and now, NBA TV will air Miami's first preseason tilt Tuesday. Marv Albert,along with Kevin McHale and Chris Webber, will do the honors. The fact Marveloso has even agreed to work a meaningless exhibition game on NBA TV shows just how big this thing is. New York Daily News

September 22, 2010 Updates

Hey, remember "The Decision"? Sure you do. That was a barrel full of laughing monkeys, wasn't it? Great times were had by all, except Clevelanders, and no one thought it was a bad idea at all. Certainly not ESPN, which had amazing ratings for the one-hour special and is planning something far more extravagant for the Miami Heat's training camp that begins next week. From USA Today's Michael Hiestand: ESPN will formally announce Wednesday that it's going to training camp with James' Miami Heat, with its coverage likely to outdo anything it did on Brett Favre's annual summer soul-searching. Starting at the team's media day Monday and continuing when its training camp starts Tuesday at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla., ESPN will erect a set and parachute in analysts Jalen Rose, Josh Elliott and Jon Barry and reporters including Rachel Nichols for continuous surveillance across ESPN platforms. While senior coordinating producer Mark Summer isn't sure ESPN will get practice video, the mission is clear with a team he says has unbelievable story lines. "Obviously, with all the buzz, it's a bigger deal (than) past NBA training camps," he says. "Fans want to hear about the Heat, so we'll want to rampup the coverage." Yahoo! Sports

July 8, 2010 Updates

As for the perception that the network is giving up advertising inventory in exchange for an interview, not to mention the journalistically troubling arranged marriage between James and a network that employs dozens of news-gatherers, ESPN's executives defended the decision Wednesday. "We have complete editorial control and direction with the exception of what will come out of his mouth," said ESPN executive vice president of production Norby Williamson. "We're going to have the opportunity to offer our opinion here. It's a unique program that contains newsworthy content that any other television or media company would love the opportunity to offer. We control how we cover the announcement, not unlike ESPNU or SportsCenter when we do National Letter of Intent signing day." SI.com

SI.com independently confirmed that ESPN's NBA staffers are free to report whatever they find in advance of the program and, after it was first tweeted out by Newsday's Alan Hahn that LeBron was leaning toward signing with the Heat, ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that he confirmed the news with multiple sources. The problem for ESPN executives is that plenty of viewers now believe ESPN's reporters are part of the show. Those in Bristol need only to head to Twitter for viewer cynicism on display. SI.com

Still, there are journalism watchdogs who believe this is simply business in 2010. "We're now in a new media world -- and an economy -- in which we're often in unchartered waters and old conventions are being tested," said Tim Franklin, the director of the National Sports Journalism Center at Indiana University. "As far as I know, ESPN is not paying LeBron for the interview, which would raise journalistic issues for sure. While this is unconventional, I don't see it as unethical, either. The money is being donated to charity, and newspaper sports sections sell ads around special sections pegged to news events. The difference here is that the news event is not a game, but an announcement." SI.com

July 7, 2010 Updates

"Times change and needs change and people's desires change and other parameters are put on things," said Mr. Williamson, but ESPN seems to think the "unique" arrangement works both from a business and editorial standpoint. "We ultimately had a decision to make. This event could have ended up on the internet. It could have ended up on another network. This event was going to end up somewhere, so we had a decision to make as a corporation and a news entity. Are we comfortable with the parameters that have been laid out?" ESPN could be giving up a lot from an ad-revenue perspective. In a recent post via Twitter, media-researcher Brad Adgate suggested the ESPN special featuring Mr. James "could attract more viewers than the 7 game NBA Finals last month on ABC (18.1 million)." Mr. Adgate is senior VP-research at independent Horizon Media. Advertising Age

And the network is allowing Mr. James to choose the journalist to whom he reveals his selection. He picked freelance sports reporter Jim Gray, a former ESPN staffer. ESPN NBA analyst Michael Wilbon will also interview Mr. James. Giving away valuable ad dollars in exchange for the chance to broadcast a popular sports, news or celebrity event seems unlikely to spread quickly. It's remarkable to see a TV network give up so much ground. Yes, it's nice to give to charity, and ESPN will have hours of LeBron coverage on expanded editions of "SportsCenter" that will likely secure higher-than-usual ratings for which it can charge marketers a pretty penny. And not just any celebrity could secure this deal. "This is unique, but it's unique because there's an insatiable appetite for LeBron," said Mr. Williamson. But the degree to which the network is letting the subject of its coverage outline the business of the event is, quite frankly, stunning. Advertising Age

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