Magazine article Variety

ESPN: Adversity Is Opportunity

Magazine article Variety

ESPN: Adversity Is Opportunity

Article excerpt

As if ESPN didn't have enough problems.

With the sports network already suffering from the kind of subscriber decline that has hurt Wall Street's perception of parent company Disney, ESPN is also emerging as a political hot potato. The Trump administration has found itself a new target due to tweets from anchor last week in which she labeled the president a white supremacist.

But before Bob Iger breaks out the antacids, he should consider that what looks like adversity is actually opportunity.

At this juncture, Disney's M.O. is likely to continue to be to studiously avoid ESPN doing anything political, lest eruptions like the Hill tweets perpetuate the problem. The network can't afford to lose any more audience, so to risk alienating Republican viewers is a no-no. ESPN is probably hoping the hubbub around Hill dies down, returning her to the semi-obscurity of co-hosting the 6 p.m. edition of "Sportscenter."

But that's not going to happen. Long before Hill ever tweeted, ESPN had been a piñata among conservative critics for its supposed liberal bias. …

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