Back in the day when ESPN the Magazine came out, you got a free subscription to this thing called “ESPN: Insider”. WOW, this is awesome! In 2000, when there were like 4 other sports websites, it was. After all, ESPN was essentially the only place for up to the minute sports news and analysis. I remember asking friends if they had insider, just to see if I was the only cool one in the bunch who had access to…NEWSPAPER ARTICLES FROM ANOTHER CITY OTHER THAN NEW YORK!!!!!
Seriously. This is what it was. You got to read articles from the LA Times, Chicago Sun, and so on. So it wasn’t really that big of a deal. Fast forward to the mid 2000’s and ESPN got smart. They started rolling out SABR geeks into their rotation of “Insiders”. So if you wanted more hardcore analysis of stats and player rankings from a bunch of guys who haven’t seen any women’s private parts since the time their mother gave birth to them, this was right up your alley…all for a small monthly fee. Just imagine, for $1.99 per month (now it’s up to $7.95 if you go month by month), you could dominate your friends in all of the “who’s better than who” conversations, and back it up with hip stats like OPS and WHIP!
“No way dude, Kobe’s PER in the 4th quarter is so much higher than Lebron’s!”…and now everyone within a 4 mile radius looks at you like you have 3 heads. Honestly, who gives a shit what John Hollinger’s “PER” rating is for Kobe? Ok maybe other than the idiot who’s paying for the service.
But this is what spurned me to write about Insider. Last week, right on the front page of ESPN.com, they were pimping Chad Ford’s “NBA Mock Draft 8.2″. Yes he’s done 8 mock drafts since the college basketball season has ended, and mildly tweaked them (hence the .2). Even though I don’t give two shits about the NBA, I love the draft, free agency and the trade deadline. And when I went to check the mock draft, I was welcomed with my least favorite symbol in all of the internet world… “” . Sweet, I have to pay to see Chad Ford’s 83rd mock draft. No thanks.
Instead of paying for Chad Ford’s “insider information”, I went on CBSSports.com, SI.com, NBADraft.net, Yahoo! Sports, Bleacher Report, The Big Lead, Foxsports.com, and so on. FOR NO COST.
I was just waiting to turn on ESPN and see on the crawl “ESPN NBA Insider John Hollinger reports that sources close to NFL Insider Adam Schefter say that ESPN senior NFL correspondent John Clayton has been told by numerous executives who want to remain anonymous that Earl passed on ESPN’s service and used the other ten thousand free internet sites that aren’t as self-absorbed and as smug as ESPN.com”.
ESPN’s Insider was a great concept 10 years ago. They had basically cornered the market on “inside information”. But that novelty has worn off. ESPN is usually the last ones to break any kind of “inside scoop” anymore. With the invention of twitter and other social media outlets, there is no such thing as inside information. I would love to know how much ESPN is actually making off of this. I have asked countless people and I have yet to come across a single person who has ever used the service.