ESPN and Sports-related Information

Lest anyone think that the tagline for this blog (“How to Stay Afloat in a Sea of Data”) applies only to business/government analytics, I’d like to share a recent sports article by Matt Mitchell (KVUE reporter – Austin) that addresses how sports-related information is created, digested, and broadcasted by ESPN today. A certain nautical feeling can overcome any observer ingesting a series of (often misleading) ESPN statistics but Mitchell makes a more general point about the influence the organization’s influence, in light of the its recent investment in the Longhorn Network, which will be dedicated to University of Texas sports:

The problem with all of this is the very real threat of sports hegemony when ESPN wields enough influence to alter the very sports it broadcasts by driving the national conversation.

ESPN’s distorting influence on sports stories came into sharp focus for me when the network raised LeBron James’ “Decision” about where to play basketball to unprecedented prominence before preceding to pillory him on a regular basis.

In Guy LeBord’s The Society of the Spectacle, the author observes that “modern industrial society . . . is based on the spectacle in the most fundamental way.” The trajectory in ESPN’s development validates that hypothesis in one particular sphere of society.


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