I am disappointed, though not surprised, by both the lack of coverage and the lack of praise for Ucla by most media outlets, but particularly ESPN. Last night, I excitedly turned on Sportscenter and CFB Final to watch what should have been the Ucla coronation as the Kings of L.A. Instead, there was not a single story on our beat down of the Trogans. Why?
I attribute this snub to two things. First, there were some exceptional ball games on Saturday with crazy, exciting finishes that had national championship implications. Okay. That one I can accept.
What I cannot accept, however, is a troubling trend that I have noticed on the ESPN website in particular, and ESPN’s coverage of college football in general. That is ESPN’s blatant (and subtle) favoring of USC and certain other schools. Before you chalk my concern up to whining, hear me out.
ESPN purchased the WeAreSc website and incorporated it into the ESPN website. It has also acquired fan sites of some other schools with big fan bases (I believe Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, and others). All of these sites have been incorporated into ESPN’s premium subscription model, so it is safe to assume that these sites were purchased in order to drive subscription revenue.
About the same time as it acquired the SC site, ESPN basically shut down its Ucla sub-site and switched the staff reporter to the SC site. There is no ESPN reporter covering the Ucla beat, as there once was, and Ucla-focused content rarely shows up on ESPN Insider. Maybe I am seeing things (I don’t think that I am), but when I go on to Recruiting Insider (for some strange reason, I am a subscriber) the West region stories all have an SC slant whenever possible. For example, leading up to this week’s game, all of the stories were about USC’s resurgence and the associated uptick in recruiting for the school. All sorts of recruits, if ESPN is correct, were ready to pledge to USC once the Trojans made good on the predictions (by every single ESPN analyst, by the way) that USC would beat us.
Fast forward to today, and instead of posting stories about Ucla proving to recruits that we are not a one year wonder, we get another story about USC doing well with recruits despite the loss.
I know that ESPN is in this to make money, and I know that ESPN bought the SC website to further that goal, but the fact that they pass this all off as some pseudo-journalistic endeavor really pisses me off. You want USC people to pay for your service, so you feature USC content. Fine; I get it. But I don’t have to like it.
Unfortunately, there is not much we can do about it, except keep beating their arrogant, spoiled, self-important asses on the field. I suppose we can hope that ESPN purchases the Bruins Nation site and pays Nestor and the other founders to start a Ucla page on Insider. Somehow, I don’t think that is going to happen, though. Know this ESPN: if you do buy Bruins Nation, I am willing to pledge to you today that I will sign up for the premium content for the duration. Or at least until my 3 kids go to college and I need that money for tuition.
Until then, here is a free report for ESPN's coverage: L.A. belongs to Ucla for at least the next 364 days. And frankly, I for one believe it will be for a lot longer than that.