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Publisher's Summary

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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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    227
  • 4 Stars
    204
  • 3 Stars
    101
  • 2 Stars
    23
  • 1 Stars
    11

Performance

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    149
  • 4 Stars
    146
  • 3 Stars
    101
  • 2 Stars
    37
  • 1 Stars
    17

Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    209
  • 4 Stars
    133
  • 3 Stars
    71
  • 2 Stars
    21
  • 1 Stars
    11
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Kevin
  • SCOTTSVILLE, VA, United States
  • 07-19-11

Interesting

I think the book was informative and painted some images I wouldn't have seen otherwise. I think the style of writing takes a bit of getting used to and the narrators are not as good as other books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • West Chester, PA, United States
  • 07-12-11

A First-Round Bust

I grew up with ESPN, and so had high expectations for the book. And, truth be told, there's more than enough great material in this book to make it appealing to most ESPN fans. But the content is so poorly structured and the narration is so uneven that I've considered more than once just turning it off, never to listen again.

I appreciate that the book is more of an oral history than anything else, but even oral histories can be cohesive, with chapters that follow selected themes rather than meandering from topic to topic. The transitions are jarring at best, and it's almost as if this is a compilation of articles rather than a traditional book.

Two of the three readers are embarrassingly bad, especially Joan Baker, who provides the female voices. Everything comes out as breathy and overly dramatic -- ugh. In retrospect, I wish I had picked up the hardcopy.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Couldn't wait for it to end

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

People who like to nearly every detail about ESPN - those who really enjoy "inside baseball" talk about sports TV

Would you ever listen to anything by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales again?

no

What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

Disjointed, Boring, NotSmooth

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Some of the stores were entertaining about the early years of ESPN and how it got going

Any additional comments?

More like a he-said she-said book that gives different perspective on events and decisions made to grow ESPN not a summary or smooth, interesting narrative about how ESPN grew. Too much swearing.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great book ..... Bad female voice

Absolutely great book. It is unfortunate the voice they used for the female parts, it did not per tray accurately what they were trying to say. But great book

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Shane
  • Phoenix, AZ, United States
  • 08-20-11

Enjoyed Parts 1 & 2, 3&4 written by ESPN

the first 2 parts that dealt with the origin and establishment of ESPN were excellent. The insider view of the various complex negotiations regarding; venture capital, broadcasting rights, production, talent, etc, were fascinating. Part 3 was basically a pointless run down of every show idea ESPN put on the air. Part 4 seemed to be ESPN's chance to address (unchallenged) any negative situations that had arisen over the years and put thier spin on it. The female voice on this audiobook was terrible and made the women sound juvenile and naive.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jason
  • BUFFALO, MN, United States
  • 07-23-11

marathon listen

Much like a real marathon I can't finish this one either. Not sure if it's the subject or the content but I can't get into either, and I grew up watching SportsCenter 3x a day.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steven
  • Turlock, CA, United States
  • 08-10-11

People calling themselves genuises

I listened to the first 30 chapters and couldn't take it anymore. These guys talk about how great and smart they are and how they could drink as they spent millions of dollars of Getty Oil money. Let's see, does it take a genius to know that people like to watch sports? I think it would have been more tolerable if they had examples where they showed some creativity or broke down barriers. But to me, it seems like they would have to be idiots to fail with that much money at their disposal.

They talk like they were the only ones that could have accomplished this but I think that it could have been done quicker and better with a different approach.

ESPN had some great anchors and did think about putting drafts on TV but the behind the scenes people have the biggest egos and I quickly tired hearing their self-important comments.

Stuff like the intoxicated Getty Oil guy repeatedly opening up a helicopter door forcing the helicopter to land multiple times. They all just sound so narcissistic.

This is coming from a huge sports fan and I enjoy watching ESPN. Maybe it gets better but after hours of people continuing to talk about how amazing they are without any example of a particular accomplishment other than they were at ESPN, I had enough. I have listened to about 50 audiobooks and this is the first I could not finish.

One star is too many. Can I give it 0 stars?

0 of 2 people found this review helpful