ESPN Has Gone Through And Essentially Eliminated MLB Coverage On The Network
Yesterday ESPN went through and laid off a countless number of staffers ranging all over their networks regions. Now with the dust settling it appears as if ESPN is shifting away from baseball coverage entirely as they let go several prominent reporters and analysts from their baseball team.
With the layoffs, ESPN is looking to try and bring in outside programming to beef up their MLB talk on their channels without having the burden of paying for it in-house.
In a press release, ESPN announced it’s partnering with MLB Network to air “Intentional Talk,” the slap-and-tickle fest hosted by Chris Rose and Kevin Millar. The program will run from 4:00-5:00 p.m. on ESPN2 beginning next week.
The collaboration between ESPN and MLB Network isn’t a surprise, given Disney’s 33 percent stake in MLB Advanced Media. It appears as if ESPN is dramatically cutting down on its original MLB studio programming, with “Baseball Tonight” stars such as Dallas Braden, Doug Glanville and Raul Ibanez being let go on Wednesday. “Baseball Tonight” host Karl Ravech is going to see his role significantly reduced as well.
In addition to these names they have also let go Jayson Stark and Jim Bowden, both of whom highlighted their reporter brigade for Major League Baseball.
While ESPN pays MLB $700 million annually to broadcast games, it’s apparent baseball coverage is no longer a sport according to the World Wide Leader. That’s likely a reflection on MLB’s lessened national standing. “Sunday Night Baseball,” once a top show has seen its rating tank after the network gutted the booth team and replaced genuine personalities like Curt Schilling and John Kruk with vanilla ice cream replacements.
It is looking like the only two sports that ESPN will focus on is the NFL and NBA, both of which they are paying billions of dollars to annually to broadcast their league games. Funny thing is it is the contracts to these two leagues that ultimately sunk ESPN, and now they are forced to eliminate a majority of coverage from two leagues that have an abundance of fans.
In the long run, the moves made by ESPN cutting coverage from the MLB and the NHL will drive many fans away with their favorite sports no longer having any weight on their networks. Sadly once the worldwide leader this company is going down fast, and in an effort to save it they are getting rid of the parts that made it special.