Media Wars: ESPN vs. Fox

Most of us will never enjoy a longer reignthan the Boston Celtics. With an unchallenged monopoly that started out of a small studio in Connecticut, ESPN now boasts a sprawling campus that puts some universities to shame. ESPN does everything for sports fans, digesting all of the data and spitting out new episodes of the iconic Sports Center every morning and night.

As of Saturday, August 17, there is a new kid on the block. With its foray into the wide world of sports, the FOX Network has launched FOX Sports 1. Finally, someone is stepping up to ESPN with sports programming 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

It was easy to tell that ESPN didn’t take it too seriously when FOX launched the idea, clearly creating its very own ”leak” back in March 2012. ESPN scoffed at the idea but now has a serious fight on its hands. Evidenced by the recent stealing of Jason Whitlock, it is clear that “the mother ship” is no longer laughing.

ESPN is scared now. With the hiring of Keith Olbermann and Whitlock, two former personalities that burned every bridge they had with ESPN, it is clear the original sports network has had to resort to what made it so great in the first place: taking risks.

ESPN didn’t just join the sports television market. It practically invented it. Who in their right mind would take on the juggernaut of the sports world? FOX might just be the one to do it. They understand what it will take to succeed. With a market so large and diverse, FOX Sports 1 does not have to be tops in the ratings. Taking even some of the market share from the Entertainment and Sports Network is a success in its own right.

The lesson learned is to never stop taking risks. ESPN is in this situation because it became complacent. FOX Sports 1 has a chance to do something no one has done: Usurp the king of sports programming by taking a risk.

Always look for that next opportunity and stay on top of your market. Don’t be afraid to be the trendsetter, and never be caught with your hands tied like ESPN.

- Casey Whittington