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
A no holds barred view of life in ESPN. Great for understanding the birth of a business and learning about strategy.
As a bonus you learn about the fascinating personalities behind the scenes of the worldwide leader.
All well told with beautiful on the ears narration. Highly recommended.
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.
"A Compelling Story Made Less So by the Narration"
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.
"Not a lot of information"
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.
"Great book, bad performance"
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.
"An American success story warts and all"
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.
"Good story. Tough to listen to."
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.
"Meh Story, rough narration"
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
"Expansive, Enlightening and Entertaining"
At once an overview of a monolithic brand and first-person accounts of the people who helped build that brand over decades.
"Narrators completely killed the experience..."
Should've used the actual interviews instead. not recommended in audio form...narrators seemed disconnected and hurts when don't pronounce names correctly. Who was producing this?
"Addictive tale of the rise of an Empire"
The oral history of the humble beginnings of a regional basic cable sports channel that grew into one of the most valuable media properties in the world. Although the author isnt the best narrator, the two voice talents who read the interviewees' words are terrific. I couldn't stop listening to it.
If you like media history and "inside baseball" (no pun intended), give it a spin.
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