So here we go again. More ESPN rants.
Yeah, okay, I probably sound like your typical teenage anarchist—You know, the punk that only knows how to make himself seem politically aware by naively complaining about the government. But make no mistake—I whine with passion.
So who does ESPN think they’re fooling? Seriously, check out the latest stroke of programming genius from the self-proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports.”
Earlier this year, ESPN gave up the rights to Champions League broadcasts, which were picked up by the Fox Soccer Channel. FSC, unlike ESPN, is not a basic cable channel, so for those who live the sports package-less, college dorm lifestyle, like myself, this was not the least bit convenient. My only access to European soccer—Tuesday and Wednesday afternoon Champions League—was now gone!
All was not lost, though. As a result, ESPN announced that it would instead fulfill its minimum soccer requirement with weekend broadcasts of both the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga.
Nice, right? Well, here’s the catch: The network was quick to take advantage of Europe’s early afternoon games. (For example, the EPL usually schedules a noon or one p.m. kick-off each Saturday.) So given that there is a five or six-hour time difference on either side of the Atlantic, these early Saturday afternoon games in Europe take place in America’s Eastern Time Zone around, oh, 4 a.m.
Four in the morning? Really, ESPN, really? The past two weekends, ESPN’s once-a-week soccer requirement was fulfilled by Burnley versus Sunderland and Pourtsmoth versus Everton, both broadcasts that began at 4:30 a.m Saturday morning. For heaven’s sake, no one is watching TV, let alone awake, at four in the morning!
Oh, but it’s not like ESPN doesn’t know this—They are quite aware. The network sees soccer as an inconvenience, so for them, the 4 a.m. time slot is a good way to get their unwanted soccer broadcasts out of the way. God forbid they show a 10 a.m. or 12-noon game instead.
You see, when the weekend rolls around, I’m a feigning addict. My drug, watching soccer. My means of administration, the TV guide. Only now, when I read the TV guide and see that ESPN’s lone EPL broadcast will be aired while I’m drooling on my pillow, I’m not even getting high anymore.
Wouldn’t you expect this, though? Alas, the “worldwide leader in sports” has done it again—Shafting the world’s real leader in sport.