No big deal, but now when all the lights are off in my room I can dial up channel 810 without needing my phone’s flashlight. It got to the point where every night I cursed Time Warner for not letting me set a home television channel so that when I turn on my 28” Sony, I can already have ESPN lined up. Because, obviously, I have to watch SportsCenter before I go to sleep.
I feel like that’s the mantra for most males concerned with sports in the 12-100 age demographic. So, naturally, we’re talking about a pretty influential show. A show that you don’t even have to think twice about before deciding where you want to gather your sporting news from. I don’t have to struggle with the whole, CNN versus ABC News versus Fox News versus CBS News debacle — it’s just ESPN’s SportsCenter.
Isn’t that a little bit scary? One company has a stranglehold over basically all of the sports television news coverage. If Scott Van Pelt tells me Bernie Fine is innocent, he’s innocent. There is no Jon Stewart watchdogging SportsCenter.
But, now there looks like there’s something on the rise. Fox Sports 1 will air as a 24 hour sports network in August as a direct competitor to SportsCenter.
Sure, it’ll take a while before Fox Sports 1 becomes a serious threat to ESPN, but it’s a start. A necessary one. There will be some iffy growing pains (Regis Philbin hosting a sports talk show to air weekdays at 5pm is about as iffy as it gets), but there is also so much room for improvement of mainstream sports journalism (i.e. give NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira more airtime, produce a show that competes with ESPN’s stellar Outside The Lines investigative journalism, not have a show called First Take). According to that USA Today article that I linked to that you should definitely read, Fox Sports 1 will also dive into sports documentaries, beginning with one about Mike Tyson (I’ll be watching).
So, the purpose of this post is to get you to watch Fox Sports 1 when it airs. Give it a chance. It’s about time someone tried to tabletop ESPN. It will force ESPN to improve, and having another powerful corporate mainstream station covering the sports world can only make sports fans a better informed audience.
PS — You’re welcome, Fox. I still need an internship for the summer..