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A Review of ESPN: Those Guys Have All The Fun

September 02, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Views: 165

A couple of weeks ago, I started reading Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, a history of the network from its inception (started with a $9,000 investment) to the huge conglomerate it is today. At 745 pages, I thought it would take me forever to read it. Instead, it took me one week. It's one of the most fascinating books I've ever read about a network I'm a HUGE fan of. How big of a fan am I of ESPN?? I think ESPN is on my TV 90 percent of the time when I'm home. In fact, as I'm writing this, I have ESPN on my TV...I eat, drink, breathe ESPN. This book drew me in because I wanted to see what it was like behind the curtain, to see how this company became embedded in today's society. I absolutely LOVE the book because it was written in a unique style. The authors had a small blurb leading into a topic, and let the ESPN people explain everything in their own words. I felt like I was sitting at a bar as they told story after story of their up and downs, the highs and lows, and feuds and fights, and the success and failures of the network. It was compelling enough I didn't want to put the book down...

Here are a few things I realized after reading:

1) To be successful in life especially in your career need a massive ego. This was evident at ESPN. Every successful anchor wanted to be more than a journalist, they wanted to be a "Star". One of my favorite parts of the book was when NBC received part of the NFL package, and NFL Primetime on ESPN taking away. Chris Berman threw a fit calling the commissioner trying to save "his precious NFL Primetime" as Mark Shapiro put it. I always thought Chris Berman was overrated and tried to be bigger than the story, and this pretty much cemented what I thought of him.

2) ESPN is a tough place to work. In order to work at ESPN, you pretty have to dedicate your life to them. That means, you have to sacrifice your family time to work 6 or 7 times a week. When people leave the network, the personalities always seem bitter and burnt out.

3) A "You do it my way or no way" mentality. ESPN has such a grip on the sports journalism landscape they tend to look down upon people who fight back. The 100 or so pages about Keith Olbermann's time at ESPN time was fascinating reading. I never seen a guy have so much success, yet be unhappy cause he didn't get everything he wanted. The story about the beginning of ESPN 2 and management wanted Olbermann to do it their way or the highway was an example of this.

Even though, I look at the personalities differently..I still LOVE ESPN and will continue to support anything with the ESPN brand on it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wishes to see the growth of ESPN in it's short 30 years of existence.

Read more about the world according to Ron Baltazar through my website "The World According to balt999 or Ron B. for short at

Source: EzineArticles
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