ESPN began as an outrageous gamble with a lineup that included Australian Rules Football, rodeo, and a rinky-dinky clip show called Sports Center. Today the empire stretches far beyond television into radio, magazines, mobile phones, restaurants, video games, and more, while ESPN's personalities have become global superstars to rival the sports icons they cover.
Chris Berman, Robin Roberts, Keith Olbermann, Hannah Storm, Bill Simmons, Tony Kornheiser, Stuart Scott, Erin Andrews, Mike Ditka, Bob Knight, and scores of others speak openly about the games, shows, scandals, gambling addictions, bitter rivalries, and sudden suspensions that make up the network's soaring and stormy history. The result is a wild, smart, effervescent story of triumph, genius, ego, and the rise of an empire unlike any television had ever seen.
©2011 Tom Shales, James Andrew Miller (P)2011 Hachette
The oral history of the humble beginnings of a regional basic cable sports channel that grew into one of the most valuable media properties in the world. Although the author isnt the best narrator, the two voice talents who read the interviewees' words are terrific. I couldn't stop listening to it.
If you like media history and "inside baseball" (no pun intended), give it a spin.
I enjoyed the behind the scenes stories of ESPN.
So many mispronounced names. It's very distracting.
No, I think I've read all I needed to read. I doubt there will be enough material for another book.
This behind the scenes is exactly what I hoped for. Especially great was the stories about the beginnings of ESPN. Listen and enjoy.
Was expecting much more from this book. Seemed like the author couldn't get off his knees from servicing the ego maniacs at ESPN to tell a better behind the scenes story. Audio folks are horrible at pronouncing names.
Liked it and recommend it. The early years were populated by a lot of "voices" that were sometimes difficult to keep track of, but the authors covered everything pretty well and (overall) it held my interest. I certainly feel more "educated" about ESPN. Thank you for that.
While the behind the curtain story was great, the fact that they couldn't correctly pronounce real people's names and had factual flubs (South Africa to South America in the same sentence, billions to millions) made it annoying to listen to. Choosing the subtle to narrate the interstitial parts was even more awkward, he sounded like he was in such a rush to get out of the booth that he tripped over words on his way out the door
I liked getting the inside scoop on all of the prominent ESPN personalities from behind the scenes. You get to see the human and flawed side of these people that put on the polished act in front of the screen.
I have not read many books related to sports, so I don't have a good comparison. Most of the text consisted of first person quoted accounts as opposed to a third person narrative. Felt more like an in depth conversation at cocktail party.
I have not listed to these narrators before. I liked the fact that they had a man and a woman to do the voices depending on who was being quoted in the book.
The book did not have a crescendo that moved me in particular. I am a big ESPN fan and sports fan in general, so I was interested in the historical evolution of the station that paralleled the evolution of sports in general.
If you are a sports fan, you will love this book. It brought back many sports memories through the eyes of ESPN.
There was a lot of name dropping of ESPN behind the scenes executives. It was a little hard to keep up with all of them and what their role was in the organization.
The fact that the sports backdrop was always woven into the anecdotes helped to keep the book entertaining.
Interesting story about the meteoric rise of ESPN from the early, concept/entrepreneurial days to its current status as a behemoth in the entertainment industry. Reveals a lot of the "unique" culture behind the company.
Atrocious narration, though. I've never written a review but this caused me to do so. I presume reading the book would be significantly better and I recognize the difficulty in narrating a book that is largely made up of quotations. However each of these narrators was awful. Their inflection on many of the quotes was clearly incorrect from how the primary speaker had intended. These small shifts are not only annoying to listen to, they can actually change how we perceive someone's entire opinion in certain situations. With so many different personalities I recognize that it would be impossible to get them to each narrate their own quotes, but we could at least have narrators that put some time and thought into what the original speaker might be saying before they record their lines.
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