ESPN is pulling an MTV
ESPN appears to be taking a page out of MTV's playbook.
MTV built a brand as an edgy, hip music video brand aimed at the 13-35 demographic. Then they dropped the music video, and just became an edgy, hip brand aimed at 13-35. MTV realized that they had built a brand using the music videos, but they could then leverage the brand into entertainment. Now MTV is almost entirely entertainment, with only lip service to music.
ESPN appears to be going in the same direction. They've ridden the poker wave with their World Series of Poker. Their WSOP shows have done extraordinarily well. They have Dream Job, which must've done well in the ratings, because they're starting several other sports-themed reality tv game shows.
No surprise there. More people will tune in to watch a show like Dream Job, with sports info and a plot then will want to watch a mid-July meaningless baseball game between the Expos and the Brewers.
I'm curious though -- no network has really taken over MTV's former niche of music videos. There are a few networks, but none has hit the same prominence. If ESPN continues to move towards entertainment and away from sports, will other networks fill the void? To some degree, there already are competitors (more so than music video networks) such as Comcast Sports or Fox Sports Network.