Don’t Be Surprised That ESPN Is Getting Rid Of Kenny Mayne
Don’t Be Surprised That ESPN Is Getting Rid Of Kenny Mayne | Sports Takes & News | TooAthletic.com
It was announced last week that long-time ESPN SportsCenter anchor Kenny Mayne was unable to reach a new contract agreement and will be departing the network next week. Calling himself a “salary cap casualty,” the departure of Mayne was over money after the network asked him to take a smaller role, and less than half his current salary to remain onboard. For me, this market adjustment is just another representation of what is wrong with ESPN in today’s world with Mayne becoming the new face of how outdated the network and all their on-air personalities are.
Media reports say are Kenny Mayne was paid between $1.5 and $1.7 million for co-anchoring up to 150 SportsCenter shows a year, meaning ESPN paid him at least $10,000 each time he donned a nice suit and read a teleprompter for an hour. To me, whoever writes or reads the copy while a sports highlight is playing is just as unimportant as who calls the sporting event live … chances are I don’t need the sports anchor or the play-by-play person to tell me what happened, and they are more likely to get in the way than they are to inform me about what took place. And for those who like Kenny Mayne’s quirky wit or cleaver delivery, it would appear you were not watching him enough to save his job or seven-figure salary, since ESPN has dropped him like a bad habit.
One of the biggest victims of the “unplugged” generation of sports fans is ESPN. They can no longer milk cable companies for monthly subscriber fees, while also collecting the millions in advertising revenues for airing live events. As a result, Disney, which owns ABC/ESPN has needed to cut costs wherever possible to invest in providing live events like baseball, college, and pro football and a return to hockey. A byproduct of this is spending less for people who just read teleprompters on SportsCenter. Which leaves an overpaid person like Kenny Mayne, 61, out in the cold like so many other talking heads with few, if any, other talents.
When you add this cost cutting agenda with the fact that ESPN no longer will permit strong minded and opinionated people like Dan Le Betard to say anything outside of sports even while the athletes ESPN covers are afforded that right, the network has broken the system they helped create. What’s left is a bunch of people who are asked to do one thing, read the words in front of them without thoughts, feelings or opinions. And while I did normally find Kenny Mayne harmless, but annoying as many SportsCenter anchors are, he did that job well. Now, thanks to ESPN resetting the market value for a person of his talents, both Mayne and the network are done with each other.
Truth be told, American sports fans don’t need SportsCenter anymore, so the network was right to try and cut costs by slashing Mayne’s salary by 61% if you believe the reports out there. Because anyone who wants to know what happened in any given game can find out long before 11:00 PM ET when the network’s once go-to show still airs.
The lesson here for both Kenny Mayne and ESPN is simple: We as sports fans will watch what we want to watch in spite of you, not because of you.
If I need some background info on headlines, I might flip on ESPN. Or when an important game is on, I will turn on the four-lettered network, since they paid for that right. I don’t turn on the game because of who is in the broadcast booth anymore than I watch a highlight show because of the anchors or their witty delivery of the news.
In short, both Mayne and ESPN are discovering one thing: In the sports universe, they are both replaceable, except the network gets to decide the fate of who goes on the air while also providing proof that everything about the network is wrong for the world we live in nowadays. I won’t miss Kenny Mayne because sports fans don’t need him anymore, just like except at game time, despite all their efforts, we don’t need ESPN anymore.
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