Saturday, June 30, 2012

EA Leaving ESPN

Watching sports on certain networks seem natural. And we become comfortable with personalities call those events. My first memory of a sporting event leaving one network for another, and a personality not being associated with it was the 1988 Summer Olympics. As long as I could remember, the Olympics were on ABC (except the American boycott of the 1980 games in Moscow and NBC held its rights) and Jim McKay was identified with those events. Although I was two at the time, McKay made his Olympic mark in Munich as the one who let America, and perhaps the World know that Israeli athletes had been shot. Since then the identifiable icon of the Olympics in American is Bob Costas. Whether it is the Summer or Winter games, Costas welcomes us to the venues, culture and athletes.

I'm not using McKay to compare the stature of these personalities of today, but instead I use it say we can associate tv personalities with the events we watch over the years. One example of that is College Football and its coverage on ESPN.

Every Saturday morning fans across American tune into ESPN's College Football Game Day. Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso, Desmond Howard, and Erin Andrews. The chemistry of this crew is among the best on television. Andrews was the 8am host and transitioned into the core of the show when Fowler took over. This crew felt like they went to college together and was the current day form of the Brat Pack talking sports. It was announced on Friday Andrews would be leaving this crew to pursue opportunities at another network.

2006 was the rare opportunity Andrews worked as an announcer for a Hawkeye Football game. She was on the Thursday night crew and subbed for Bonnie Bernstine on ABC as Iowa played at Michigan. Before the game my video staff and I hung around on the field watching pre-game warm-ups. Andrews spotted us wearing our Hawkeye gear and came over to talk a little bit about the team. I'm not sure what the first question was, nor anyone in our group, as we were in awe of "Erin Andrews" instigating a conversation with us. I do remember we talked about her and her plans for making game 1 of the World Series in Detroit that night. She described herself as a "ball cap and jeans girl" who has become a Red Sox fan living in Atlanta based on the friendships she started with the team. Just a real easy conversation from one of the network's rising stars.

Speculation has her landing the sideline gig for FOX's College Football coverage which includes the Pac 12 and Big Ten Championship games. It won't be any of the BCS games that she is a pro at. Yes, she's the blonde "hottie" on the sideline, but enough credit doesn't go to her reporting on the sidelines. Most importantly she will be missed Saturday mornings hanging out with her fraternity brothers.

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