Ignore the Bayless hyperbole


The hyperbole is much more entertaining than the truth, but that’s because the truth is very boring: it’s just the business they all have chosen.

Bayless leaving ESPN for FS1 is of course an interesting and entertaining media story, especially for people who follow such things. It’s news. But when the dust settles, it’s just not all that interesting because:

  1. Bayless isn’t crazy to take FS1’s offer
  2. Fox Sports isn’t crazy to offer Bayless big money
  3. ESPN isn’t crazy for letting Bayless go
  4. ESPN won’t  feel Bayless’ absence nearly as much as it would feel a prolonged absence in the NBA playoffs of LeBron or Steph. One extra Monday Night Football game featuring the Cowboys would be a much bigger deal for ESPN than Bayless leaving (that even for $1.1 BILLION PER YEAR ESPN couldn’t secure that extra game is a much bigger issue than Bayless’ departure).  To me, it’s more interesting that for $1.1 BILLION, ESPN couldn’t pull that off.
  5. FS1 won’t likely benefit any/much from hiring Bayless, but it doesn’t stand to lose a lot either. Go ahead, make your back-of-the-napkin “FS1 could’ve hired 65 employees (that wouldn’t have made much of a difference either!) for a single Bayless” calculations. It’s true 65 is a 65 times as much as 1, but it’s also true that isn’t what ails FS1. If the NFL allows FS1 to bid for part of the Thursday night package in a couple of years it’s not likely there’s no chance it says “Oh man, if not for our Bayless deal we could’ve made it work!”
  6. Safest to ignore ALL comments from ANY of the following:
  • anyone paid by ESPN
  • anyone paid by Fox Sports
  • anyone who feels spurned by Fox Sports or ESPN

As entertaining as the hyperbole is, it’s not realistic. Securing more sports rights is a big issue for FS1. Aging subscribers dying who aren’t replaced by younger ones is a big issue for ESPN. Bayless isn’t a big deal for FS1 or ESPN.

Disclaimer: I am not a Bayless/First Take fan nor am I a Bayless/First Take hater. I don’t like it, so I don’t watch. I feel the same way about a lot of TV programming.



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