Disney-owned American sports broadcasting company, ESPN, which broadcasts primarily in the United States and the Caribbean, has seen great success in the last year. Current chairman is James Pitaro, who took over in March of 2018. Since taking over, ESPN has seen a 6% rise in viewership numbers.
ESPN’s coverage is all sports. From the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, college basketball/football, they cover a lot. There new subscription app, ESPN+, has only increased the likability of ESPN. ESPN+ provides additional coverage to soccer, MMA/boxing, college baseball/softball, lacrosse, and many more. ESPN has also found much success from sports talk shows, such as: SportsCenter, Mike and Mike/Golic and Wingo, First Take, Around the Horn, Pardon the Interruption, and multiple radio shows shown on ESPN. Along with that, ESPN has been terrific for sports documentaries through 30 for 30 and E:60.
There slogan “the worldwide leader of sports” seemed to be false in recent years as the likes of FOX Sports and NBC Sports were starting pass them in coverage of sports. NBC’s coverage of the English Premier League led by Arlo White, Lee Dixon, and Graeme Le Saux on commentary for most of the biggest games each season while the studio of Rebecca Lowe, Robbie Earle, Robbie Mustoe, and Kyle Martino completes what is, what many think, the greatest coverage of sport in the world.
NBC also covers hockey with great success, as they host both the Olympics and NHL Playoffs. Their hockey coverage is led by Mike Emrick, Eddie Olczyk, and Pierre McGuire.
Perhaps NBC’s most prominent way of passing ESPN is their coverage of the NFL. Sunday Night Football on NBC has gained many more followers than Monday Night Football on ESPN. Sunday Night Football is led by the commentating duo of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth with Michelle Tafoya on the sidelines. NBC has covered four Super Bowls since 2009 and 19 in total, just one behind CBS. NBC also has coverage of PGA Tour, NASCAR, IndyCar Series, Indianapolis 500, IMSA, Tour de France, and horse racing that includes the Triple Crown.
FOX Sports is superior to ESPN due to there coverage of soccer in that FOX has broadcasting rights to the Bundesliga and the DFL Supercup, which is currently led by Ian Joy and Alexi Lalas and world feed commentary. FOX Sports also has rights the both the men’s and women’s World Cup. A similarity between ESPN and FOX is they both have equal broadcasts of Major League Soccer. FOX also has rights to Tijuana, Monterrey, and Santos Laguna of Liga MX.
FOX passes ESPN most prominently in their coverage of Major League Baseball, which is led by Joe Buck and John Smoltz with Ken Rosenthal from the sideline. FOX has had exclusive coverage of the World Series since 2000 and previously hosted it in 1996 and 1998.
Turner Sports has also been on the rise with recent rights acquired to the UEFA Champions League and other European soccer competitions/ leagues. They also have rights to the NBA.
ESPN President James Pitaro said his key to regaining success is less talk about politics. Since taking over, Pitaro has gotten rid of several notable personalities, but most notable is Jemele Hill, who now writes for The Atlantic. Pitaro commented saying, “My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected from them. If you fast-forward to today, I don’t think they are confused.”
This move for ESPN has obviously paid off, as the 6% increase has gotten some of the traditional sports fans back. After all, sports is supposed to unite fans with different religions and political backgrounds, right?