Posted by Dale Buss on April 12, 2012 03:11 PM
With new competition encroaching upon the cable-TV sports niche it has long dominated, ESPN suddenly wants to provide more glimpses of itself to the outside world.
And we're not talking about faux glimpses, such as the hilarious "This Is Sportscenter" promo ads ESPN has run on itself over the years, involving its anchor personalities and real sports stars ranging from soccer ace Landon Donovan to Los Angeles Laker Koby Bryant, from New York Yankee Derek Jeter wondering who used his razor in the "ESPN locker room" to golf legend Arnold Palmer creating his namesake drink in the "ESPN cafeteria."
No, the network's new moves enter the realm of more serious stuff, meant in part to parry the plans and advances of ambitious rivals such as CBS and NBC that are cobbling together their own sports networks after watching Disney/ABC-owned ESPN rake in big-time advertising dough from America's pastimes year after year.
Specifically, ESPN has launched a series of podcasts called "Front & Center" that probe how the network covers its universe; a recent interviewee was John Skipper, president, about how his network covers Major League Baseball. The podcasts join ESPN's "Front Row" blog, launched last year, which also ushers visitors into some of the inner workings of one of the world's most successful TV operations.
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