ESPN’s control of college football

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by Austin Cannon

A recent New York Times piece exposed the immense power the ESPN family of networks has over college football.

In the article, which you can read here, it’s noted that ESPN will televise around 450 games this season. The nearest competitor will televise about 50. Not exactly close.

The sports giant also has immense scheduling power. They sometimes decide less that a week in advance to give the most important games the most lucrative time slots.

Universities allow it because it provides them two very important things; Money and exposure. A partnership with ESPN gives the school millions of dollars while a primetime game on ESPN provides a three-hour showcase of the college and its campus. 

College football isn’t all. ESPN regularly televises MLB, NBA, NFL, NCAA basketball and MLS games. They really are the undisputed leader in televised sports.

So for an aspiring sports reporter, is this the best bet to find a job? Maybe so. It’s already so big, both online and on television, that it could be the only viable option in the future (unless Fox Sports or NBC can really pull a rabbit out of the hat).

Here are some questions for discussion. Is ESPN’s control unfair? Do you think it will eventually absorb all or most other sports media?

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