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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

How sports TV networks are staying relevant

Every few months, when one sports league’s season comes to an end, another is just beginning. Each league overlaps one another: therefore, we as fans never go a day without having our sports fix in some capacity. That was up until COVID-19 became the cause of virtually every league suspending play until further notice; at this point, no one knows when play will be resumed. This impacts people all across the board, starting with ownership and players, to businesses around stadiums who depend on busy game days, down to television networks like ESPN and NBC Sports who produce sporting events and analysis every day. Without the daily occurrence of games, it has become a struggle for these networks to remain both on topic and interesting. However, as it should have been expected, they have overcome it.
While it definitely has been odd spending day after day without sports, it has been nice to reflect on some of the best sports moments of all time. Rather than continuously talk about the same stories that were taking place as we took a break from sports, ESPN and other platforms have decided to take a look back on all the moments we have experienced through the years. For example, each day they go through memorable games and plays that took place on that specific date in the past. Rather than doing the top ten plays of the night as they typically would, ESPN has decided to do a different top ten plays each day. Monday could be the top ten plays of the Final Four, while the next day is the top ten plays of the Super Bowl. It is a great way for viewers to remember some of the best games on the biggest stage. 
After a team wins a championship, whether it be the Super Bowl, the World Series, or something else, they get a parade a few days later. While they do get a lot of recognition and publicity, the talk instantly becomes about “next year” and if that team can repeat. We are constantly focused on the future; it is as if the seasons never really finished, they are just endless. In a way, that is somewhat true, because in the NFL, free agency and the draft are less than three months after the Super Bowl. The team does not have time to enjoy a championship, they need to prepare for the following year. Well, for really the first time ever, we are able to get a chance to hit pause and go over everything that has happened in the past. 
It has been wildly interesting, especially seeing just how much has happened in the 2000s that we forget about. Another fantastic idea that ESPN came out with was a ten-part documentary series on Michael Jordan titled, “The Last Dance.” From the preview, it features all types of notable people, from actors to former players and analysts. While the documentary was coming out regardless of COVID-19’s occurrence, it was not supposed to until this summer. However, due to the lack of sporting events, ESPN made the conscience decision to release it early, as soon as April 19. Two episodes will air every Sunday night, taking us up until May 17. If all goes right, the hope is that sports will be starting to slowly make some sort of a comeback around that time as well. In the meantime, fans can continue to depend on ESPN to get them through this rather difficult time.