WAIL! The CyberBoxingZone Journal
September 2000 issue


Tuesday - Just Another Boring Weeknight (Again, but maybe not for long???)

By Steve Coughlin

Tuesday evenings used to be my favorite weeknight.  For years,
the good people at the USA network brought Tuesday Night Fights -TNF- ( OK, I know it wasn't ALWAYS on Tuesdays but indulge me here ) from around the country into our living rooms.  True, they were often used as a showcase for an up-and-coming fighter or some veteran attempting to regain prior glory, but at least it was live boxing.  And much more often than not, the shows were quite entertaining.  I think back to the evening that Gaby Canizales and Miguel "Happy" Lora treated the TNF faithful to one of the most exciting fights ever aired. Or the first time when Arturo Gatti climbed through the ropes.  Or how about the first Jorge Paez - Calvin Grove fight. The show was so
darn good that it would be impossible to recount all of the great bouts
and great fighters USA treated us hard-core boxing fans to for almost 20 years !

But then the EVIL Barry Diller ( the same twit behind the Home Shopping Network ) purchased the USA Network.  He decided that the plug needed to be pulled on TNF, even though it was one of the network's highest-rated programs, to air even more "original movies".  So, after nearly 20 years of loyal viewing ( not to mention the loyal support of the advertising community ), Barry decided that boxing fans weren't as important as "Oprah's book of the month club members" and Tuesday became just another boring weeknight filled with maudlin movies about some especially retarded current event, like the Buttafuco or Bobbit story.  Thanks Barry !  There just wasn't enough of that crap on the 3 major networks already.

When TNF's run ended, ESPN decided to get back into broadcasting a weekly show.  At the time of the announcement, I thought to myself "at least there'll be live fights on TV again...even if I do have to suffer through Al Bernstein".  What happened next was my worst nightmare : ESPN decided that Friday Nights Fights would be aired on ESPN2, "The Douche"( and yes, I mean douche ! ).  All that meant to me was that there STILL weren't any live weekly fights that I'D be watching anytime soon.

You see friends, I REFUSE to watch ANYTHING on "The Douche", and rarely tune into the flagship station anymore.  "Why ?" you ask.   There are few things in life that annoy me as much or insult my intelligence as much as The Douche's  'blue line' or ESPN's   hour 'news' updates.  Look, I'm IN advertising and I know an ad when I see one.  I'm sure you've noticed  corporate logos on the left hand side of the scores; you think they got there by accident ?  Aren't there enough advertising opportunities BETWEEN rounds or between BOUTS?  Not enough for the suits at ESPN ! Now, if all that was shown on screen were a corporate logo next to the scores, I most likely wouldn't have a problem and would tune into the network regularly.  But some genius ( and I am being VERY sarcastic here ) thought that we the viewers might not notice the logo & scores by themselves, so the decision was made to reduce the on-screen programming, what we tuned in to see, to of its regular size & surround it with a solid background !  As a result, featherweights started looking like middleweights.  Note to the pin-head at ESPN that thought this was a good idea :

IT WASN'T     !!!!!

As a viewer, I TUNED IN TO WATCH YOUR PROGRAMMING - not to get a running update of the Arena Football game of the week or to find out who Northern Utah State Poly Tech has named as their Woman's Assistant Field Hockey Coach !!!!!!!!  And I especially don't want to see that 4 times an hour !!!!!!!  And I REALLY don't appreciate you shrinking the screen to of it original size to do it !!!!!  And PLEASE don't get me started on that insipid 'blue line'.  I know that this will come as a complete surprise to whomever created the 'blue line', but every one of your viewers ISN'T a compulsive gambler or in need of the current score of every game in progress. Did it ever occur to you boobs that most of the viewers that  might tune into a boxing show would be interested in ... BOXING ?  And more specifically that particular event ?  Of course it didn't !

Which leads me to the real point of this rant :  Even the Classic Sports Network - CNS - has become a pain in my ass.  I LOVED that network, that is until the swine at ESPN purchased it.  At first there were little if any changes to the programming. Sugar Ray's Hit Parade, aired on TUESDAYS, was one of the networks best programs. But as I tuned in last evening to watch Ali - Quarry II, my blood began to boil. At 15 minutes past the hour, yet another annoying screen shrinking technique was employed.  This time the image I INTENDED TO WATCH when I turned on the network was reduced to of its original size to show me events that happened this week in sports history. 

*$%@%$(@  !!!!!!!

So now I'm feed up and I'm not going to take it anymore !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will no longer tune into ANY of the ESPN family of networks because I can be annoyed to hell without their help.  Would it be too much to ask these morons to superimpose the news ( READ : CORPORATE LOGOS ) on the FULL IMAGE, the way it used to be done on sports broadcasts up until the '90's ? Maybe that is too much to expect, but at one point in the Ali - Quarry II broadcast, before I changed the station in complete disgust, there was over 60% of the screen filled with ESPN's graphics.  Why even bother to run programming ?  Why not just run text and other graphics all day & all night ? And what part of 'classic' don't they understand?  This practice of screen shrinking, or IdiotVision as I'm fond of calling it; the blue line is SuperIdiotVision, is akin to the colorization of classic movies ... It's just plain vulgar and an insult to the viewer; not CLASSIC in any way shape or form PERIOD!!!

But rather than just ranting on and on getting nothing accomplished, I've decided on a course of action that may well get even the morons at ESPN's attention.  I plan on starting a nonprofit organization with the express purpose of getting all of these damn graphics off of the screen.  The organization will be called :  "Fan's Uprising : Egregious Sponsorship Punished Now" or FU ESPN  ( quite the appropriate acronym, don't you think ? ).

The mission of this organization will be to get everyone who's as annoyed as I am to contact ESPN, tell them just how much they despise this IdiotVision practice and get these damn things off of the screen forever.

One woman, some wing-nut in Michigan who found "Married ... With Children" offensive, almost got the show canceled with A SINGLE LETTER !  If everyone who shares my views regarding the "updates & news" ( I'm SURE I'm not alone ) were to write ESPN, or even better DISNEY & ABC, they may actually put an end to this wretched practice.  Also, a carbon copy to all of the program's advertisers telling them that we're not going to tune in until it stops could be very powerful too. And to take it a step further, a letter to the bottom-feeding advertisers who place their logos on the "updates" that clearly spells out a boycott of their products & services may even destroy the demand for the spots themselves !

And how did this practice ever get started ?  I'll tell you how.  If you hated soccer before, just wait until you read the following :  When ESPN decided to air World Cup Soccer matches in the late '80's, they just couldn't cram in enough commercials in the game due to its nature.  So rather than having their booth "talent" read what would serve as an ad, they decided on IdiotVision.  If it would have gone away with the World Cup broadcasts I wouldn't have my shorts in such a bunch. But as I'm sure you've discovered there is little, if any, original thought in broadcasting. The lemming networks have all employed some form of IdiotVision on their sports broadcasts ( which really pisses me off - they don't dare use IdiotVision on any non-sports programming ).    It's gotten completely out of control & must be stopped NOW !!!!

We can't bring back Tuesday Night Fights, but maybe we can save the Classic Sports Network and at the same time improve ESPN & the Douche.  Write the networks TODAY & DEMAND that they put an end to this practice that offends us to the core of our being.  Send letters or e-mail  ( and please mention Fan's Uprising : Egregious Sponsorship Punished Now )  to :

ESPN Television
ESPN Plaza
Bristol, CT 06010

or e-mail them a note at :
Http://espn.go.com/sitetools/s/contact/espntv.html


And PLEASE remember to use a civil tone in your correspondence.  A point articulated clearly & politely are the ones most often responded to & acted upon.   If we're lucky, maybe we can even claim back Tuesday night again !!!

From the cheap seats,

Steve Coughlin

         
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