In the exclusive behind the scenes look, sports fans can unlock the fascinating history of the channel that changed the way people watch and interact with their favorite teams.
It began, in 1979, as a mad idea of starting a cable channel to televise local sporting events throughout the state of Connecticut. Today, ESPN is arguably the most successful network in modern television history, spanning eight channels in the Unites States and around the world. But the inside story of its rise has never been fully told-until now.
Drawing upon over 500 interviews with the greatest names in ESPN's history and an All-Star collection of some of the world's finest athletes, bestselling authors James Miller and Tom Shales take us behind the cameras. Now, in their own words, the men and women who made ESPN great reveal the secrets behind its success-as well as the many scandals, rivalries, off-screen battles and triumphs that have accompanied that ascent. From the unknown producers and business visionaries to the most famous faces on television, it's all here.
Definitely a book for sports fans, it almost works better in today’s day and age where you can take breaks to pull up YouTube clips of the major sporting events or articles that they reference in sections of the book. However, I found the beginning far more Interesting than the end. Somewhat lulls in the last 50 to 100 pages. But overall, it’s a must read for any sports fan that has grown up fascinated by ESPN and their anchors45
Very comprehensive book covering key areas of the story. The authors were informative and covered a balanced perspective. It seemed that while much of ESPN success relied on careful research and planning, other outcomes arrived from luck. I really enjoyed the book.55
When you read something you remember it get very iteresting and very fun but it come part when you literally fall a sleep reading, but overall you enjoy knowing how things got started in ESPN.35
I am obviously one of those people who have been paying the $4.00 a month to my cable company and have never watched ESPN programming. So this book was like a revelation to me. My sports information has come to me over the radio, initially from Jim Rome (because of the UCSB/Santa Barbara connection) and later from Dan Patrick (when I grew up.) I am a lifetime NFL fan. I watched when the American Football League was first broadcast to let you know just how long I have been a fan of professional football. I have only been to three live NFL games over the the course of my life so I am a fan by way of television. Then my satellite company starts it's own station an on it is the Dan Patrick Show. On this show I start to hear references to "The Mothership" and Keith Olbermann. I hear Dan ask Rich Eisen about "Mark Shapiro" coming over to the NFL Network. I realize that he is referencing a time when he worked for ESPN. ESPN? Aren't those the guys who completely borked my Monday Night Football? Who fired John Madden and Al Michaels? Who are those guys? Turns out those guys are having all the fun. That is, all the fun you can have without actually playing sports. I knew people were addicted to gambling and porn but this book really opened my eyes to the huge (apologies to the Donald) economy of the sports world. My viewing choices are being manipulated by economic forces that I cannot control. Why all the networks now have sports channels. Why I can't watch Dan Patrick anymore because I switched my satellite provider. So read this book. It is as great an American success story as Apple Computer. It shows why this is the country of both opportunity and avarice. There are things that we do better here than anywhere else in the world and can export to world markets. Like iBooks.55
I enjoyed the book greatly as a huge sports fan. If you are a fan of the Dan Patrick show this is a must read. I think the flow of the book could have certainly been organized better. There were some major changes of topics with little to no Segway. That would be my only criticism. The quotes in general were organized well, especially when directly conflicting opinions or recollection of stories and events would be listed one after the other. A must read for a sports fan and even more so if you ate interested in the business and career aspect of sports journalism and entertainment.45
The inside information was interesting, but the grouping of topics was horrible! In addition, it was repetitive. I found myself skimming the last 300 pages for topics I was interested in. It is too bad because I think a good editor could have changed my review to 4 out of 5 stars. Disappointing!25
I was eager to read this book, expecting to learn a lot about the inner workings of ESPN, and the people who worked there. Although there was some of that, there was even more of the business side of things, which, while important, was not as compelling as the other, more personal stuff. I also found the transitions from the narrative accounts to the italicized, objective sections. At times there was little or no connection to these sections, and it seemed that the authors abruptly changed the subject, when there could have been so much more of the "juicy" stuff. I was less interested in the financial dealings, more into the programmatic and personality angles. And although there were some frank accounts that were less than complimentary, it seemed like the authors were a little bit too much "homers" in their point of view. I mean, I accept the fact that ESPN has made a lot of money via broadcasting NASCAR and soccer, but frankly I would guess that the vast majority of viewers fine that ESPN promotes these fringe sports to build an audience and fill time, rather than accurately reflect what it's audience wants. When NASCAR comes on, I change the station. I think the book should have focused more on how the network tries to create interest to serve it's own financial goals. Also, no mention of the birth of the other sports networks such as NFL, MLB, etc. I would have liked to learn how ESPN felt about this competition, and how they dealt with it.in my mind, ESPN has lost it's luster, and yet the book ends on a very high note. Maybe they are making more money now, but my personal view of the network is that they do a less than stellar job compared to the other sports networks.35
Who would have thought the history of a simple cable channel could be so interesting? The narrative flow of this book makes you feel like you've been a part of ESPN since its inception! I can't wait for volume two 25 years from now!! Roll on ESPN!35
Excellent reading. I guess Mark Shapiro was a dick. And mike tirico is the worst!55
The first half of the book was great. Packed with insight from the creation of the network. Very interesting story. Alas, the book went off the cliff about 3/4 of the way through. Once the story got to the 2000's, the tale became very dis jointed and unrelated. It felt like more like tons of short stories than a woven story. Usually a story builds and then ends with a crescendo, however' this book did the opposite - knocked you out right from the start then the story faded out to a soft ending. 3 out of 5 rating35