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
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Overall, I really liked this listen and found it to be very insightful. Loved hearing about the behind the scenes stuff but then again, I thought the book jumped around too much and I didn't care for the narrators either. At the very least, they could have just gotten the ESPN personalities to read their own quotes. That would have made this book much much better.
While the narrator who covered the male contributors did a fine job, the gentleman who framed the segments sounded mush-mouthed and hurried. More, the female narrator was far too dramatic in relation to the content of the book. Her breathless and over-emotional reading seemed cut from a different book.
As "inside stories" go, this is trailing the pack. I suppose it is a nice thing to have all of one's suspicions about the disfunctionality of the world wide leader affirmed with out of context quotes and anecdotes, but this book could have been ten times the "expose" it claims to be. Disappointing.
Yes, very detailed and certainly some parts (the NBA section for me) were a bit too much detail but...'growing up' with ESPN since it's inception (watching on TVs at college!) it brought back memories and thoughts about this 'wild idea' that took hold all those years ago.
It might have been nice to have different voices for the different 'characters' but it didn't detract too much from the experience.
Highly recommended for any fan of sports and/or for folks wanting to study business trials and tribulations of making an idea into a reality and then a dominant force.
Interesting story horribly narrated. Two of the narrators should never do audiobooks. Can't even get the pronunciation of ESPN employees' names (Golic and Bilas) correct. Note to authors: Hire professional narrators. It's worth the extra money.
The narration suffered from stiff timing and over pronunciation. The female narrator was the most trying of the bunch but they were all poor.
Too much time spent on the business side and not enough on the on-air or even production staff. I really was looking forward to this and the whole execution of the idea left me more glad to be done with it. Several times I wanted to abandon it but plowed ahead anyways in some masochistic stupor
The female narrator almost ruined all the parts of the book she performed, as she was WAY too emotional and made some amazing women sound like complete ditzes with her deep sighs and ridiculous emphasis. In fact, it seemed like she changed the meaning of some statements you can't imagine meaning what they sounded like with her performance. I have no idea if she was directed to be that way or if she's that terrible, but either way, it was a fail that negatively impacts the listening experience greatly.
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
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