Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

May 21, 2010

SPECIAL EDITION Part III: ESPN’s Continuing Attempts to Eliminate the Indy Car Brand in May

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 2:16 pm

The problem with writers and editors who place ego before integrity is epitomized by the arrogant way in which re-hashed minutiae of ‘the split’ (that ended three years ago) is repackaged yet again for prominent display on the pages of ESPN.com. Blindly ignored is the fact that the same not just dead but decomposed to ash horse gets feverishly whipped again every single May as if that topic is relevant. Their primary excuse this year is that Tony George is out of power. Do we see any interviews by ESPN of Tony George or mom or the sisters? No. Only recycled split stories that have been told thousands of times before.

Even more pathetic is the way in which fan protest is misinterpreted as topic interest. Editors and writers delude themselves into belief a topic is worthwhile if enough people gripe about it; their simplistic thought being griping equals interest. That is how decisions to publish are usually rationalized. ESPN is openly proud of this particular editorial decision. Parts I and II coincide with Pole/Bump Weekend, while Parts III and IV coincide with Race Weekend. That is just egregious and proves my point.

I wish ESPN.com did not lack the courage, willingness or professionalism to be original. They employ some talented people, but when that talent is wasted on the exact same worn out non-topic every single year, many potentially great stories just get ignored. That shortchanges readers. Shortchanging Indy Car fans is something in which ESPN has specialized for over a decade.

Seriously ESPN. Fans deserve much better than this.



  1. This is why we as fans enjoy Versus, and my DVR is set for 3:30 this afternoon.

    Comment by Race Fan — May 21, 2010 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  2. Defender,

    Ultimately, you’re right. Hinton’s piece is nothing more than a rehash of almost-ancient history. But there is no reason for ESPN to care about IndyCar fans because there are so few of them. That’s why ESPN no longer carries IndyCar races. It didn’t want them.

    The split had one thing going for it. People were passionate about it. Regardless of which side you were on, the fact is that you chose a side. You were a fan not only of the racing, but also of the philosophy.

    Is there any passion in among today’s IndyCar fans? Maybe, but there sure aren’t very many of them. Attendance at every oval except Iowa has declined. Oval attendance has declined in concert with the percentage of U.S. drivers. TV ratings are worse than the IRL managed to get in the ugliest days of the split.

    ESPN.com needs to attract an audience. In that regard, the post-split IndyCar product is a failure. So Hinton went back to the well of what works in order to get page views.

    Yes, he’s still fat and stupid. But I don’t think he’s to blame for having so little material with which to work.

    A lot of what we’re seeing today is ESPN having success killing the Indy Car brand through their continuing negligence.

    Comment by Roggespierre — May 21, 2010 @ 5:15 pm | Reply

  3. None of this suprised me. The only things ESPN bothers to cover are the Red Socks, New England Patriots, anything regarding Lebron James, and NASCAR. If a sports story doesn’t fall into one of these categories you can forget about it being covered. Why do they even bother to pay for the 500? They clearly don’t want it.

    Comment by Matt — May 21, 2010 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  4. Since I see there’s no sense in attempting to engage you in a rational conversation, I’ll stop. Take care.

    Editor’s Note: Please pardon my delayed response; I have been at IMS all day enjoying Fast Friday. Oddly, I did not see anyone from ESPN there. You used the word ‘rational.’ Seriously, what is rational about discussing a ‘split’ that ended three years ago? I know Tony left his position. That also happened months ago and was also covered extensively. I am more than happy to have a conversation with most anyone any time. I am one of the most easy going people on earth. There is, however, NO merit in any discussion or re-hash of ‘the split’ by ESPN. It is bush league and irrational. Try devoting your resources to covering what is happening in the sport today. Not something that happened fifteen years ago. That does not make ANY sense. You and Ed need to orient yourselves in this century and begin covering the sport like professionals.

    Comment by K. Lee Davis — May 21, 2010 @ 7:43 pm | Reply

  5. Perhaps Mr. Davis can also have Ed trot out the cart/USAC split of 1979. Seems to be relevant in the same sense here. That changed the course of history in open wheel racing at the time. Or the disastrous 1973 Indy 500. That brought about changes from the cars to the tracks. Fair is fair. If you’re gonna bring up such history, there are a million things to drag out. The bottom line is, the ‘split’ stuff is old news. Nothing to see here anymore.

    Comment by Race Fan — May 22, 2010 @ 12:09 am | Reply

  6. Then again, what is rational about the Versus and Star coverage who are more interested in playing fanboy than they are in reporting. For Christ’s sake… Cavin sees that there are 30 cars on the official entry list in March and declares that we have a real chance at having 40 cars attempt to qualify. Never was he conscious of the fact that even with over 70 cars on the offical entry list we still won’t have 37 attempts.

    I’d rather read a bit of history than listen to the fanboys spout “american drivers” and “multiple engines” like they have a clue. I can’t turn on the radio without listening to some hilljack declare that ‘we need some dirt track racers because if we had a handful of them they’d bring their fanbase with them” as if all 300 of them would replace the 100,000+ missing from the infield north of the start finish line. I can’t wait to hear how “the infield was already full at 6:30”. Really? It takes 30 minutes to get all 12 cars in?

    To ESPN the story is this: The worlds largest spectator sport gets fewer page views than LPGA even though the LPGA only sold 1,000 tickets to this weekends event. Why would you see anybody from ESPN there? None of their viewers care about fast friday at all, so why a salary and expenses to send somebody to the track?

    Comment by Scott — May 22, 2010 @ 1:00 am | Reply

    • Dude, you’re entitled to your opinion, but we did (as Curt Cavn said) have “a chance” at 40 cars up to a week or two ago. Had 3G and AFS not pulled out, that would have made 39. If somebody had decided to do a last minute attempt at putting in a backup car…hey! That’s 40! Curt didn’t say it was GOING to happen, just that there was a chance. That makes him a fanboy?

      Chill out on The Star. Curt plays it straight and calls ’em like he sees ’em even if he’s not constantly stirring the pot like Robin Miller (which some folks would say is borderline irresponsible for a journalist).

      Editor’s Note: By the way….given the abundance of quality stories all weekend at IMS, how in the world could any professional editor of any reputable organization possibly imagine ‘the split’ would make a good topic? Anyone who actually believes that is not doing their job correctly.

      Comment by The Speedgeek — May 23, 2010 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

  7. God, you act like this was the lead in on Sportscenter for the entire week. This is a blog article in the back of the website, in the racing section that nobody cares about. The split happened and Ed can write about it because this is America, stop being such a punchy little baby!

    Editor’s Note: Sigh. Another person lacking adequate reading comprehension skills. Here is the ever elusive point you missed: My beef is not that Ed Hinton writes about ‘the split.’ He, like other small minded cretins, will always hold a grudge against IMS because Tony George pulled his credentials over ten years ago for a few days. Can you imagine the horror? Therefore, a topic now dead in reality but alive and well within the aforementioned small minds gets center stage on the ESPN site. But again, it is not the topic, it is the timing. Parts 1 and 2 were featured just before pole/bump weekend, and parts 3 and 4 are planned right before the race. Given all the compelling stories that have unfolded this month how on earth would featuring ‘the split’ AGAIN this year make any sense whatsoever? That is the beef. Any questions?

    Comment by BORRRING — May 25, 2010 @ 3:27 am | Reply

  8. Speaking of havinh crednentials pulled, Part III awaits: http://sports.espn.go.com/rpm/columns/story?seriesId=1&columnist=hinton_ed&id=5217415

    Editor’s Note: Thanks for the link. I guess with the entire field of 33 and most of the IRL brass literally taking the entire series to ESPN’s front door in Bristol the very day after qualifying weekend to serve up hundreds of potentially relevant stories on a silver platter without anyone there even having to do much work, ‘the split’ remains your preferred subject of choice. My sentiments and those of many turned away by ESPN.com’s boorish, amateur behavior remain the same. You are pulling back a scab and salting a newly opened wound again in May for the fifteenth straight year for no apparent reason other than ego strokes. Interesting how Ed involves himself in most aspects of the story. You guys are as gutless and distant from professional as it gets.

    Comment by K. Lee Davis — May 25, 2010 @ 4:28 pm | Reply

    • Cya at the track.

      Editor’s Note: I’m there every day it’s open. I am looking forward to my 46th 500.

      Comment by K. Lee Davis — May 25, 2010 @ 5:35 pm | Reply

  9. Hey Mr. Davis, this is a big reason Indy car fans despise ESPN. Let’s see you spin this. http://espn.go.com/sportsnation/rank?versionId=2&listId=566

    Comment by Race Fan — June 11, 2010 @ 10:17 pm | Reply

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