Sports Media Musings: NESN Forgot To Cover Theo Epstein’s Departure, CSNNE Flexes Muscle with Chicago Affliate

You thought “Sox Appeal” was cancelled? The laughable Red Sox-centric date program may have unceremoniously ended, but the stigma lives on. In fact, it permeates throughout the entire network. NESN decided they won’t report on Yankee victories next season. In their eyes, the World Series was cancelled after Jon Papelbon blew game 162 in Baltimore.

I’m obviously being (somewhat) sarcastic. But NESN is not a viable sports network. After 10 years as Red Sox General Manager, Theo Epstein made his first appearance in Chi-town at a Cubs press conference today. I suppose, because this isn’t exactly seen as a ‘warm’ moment for those running Yawkey Way, NESN decided to skip-out.

Oversight.

No big deal, really.

NESN decided this wasn’t newsworthy.

The station instead thought better-of-it to play a “NESN Daily” re-run. A re-run which by the way featured a Heidi Watney narrated piece on “Who Ben Cherington really is.” Of course, this had a clip of the Globe’s Nick Carfardo effusively praising the new architect of our ‘beloved’ BoSox.

Really?

NESN has been accurately accused of not covering the Patriots or Celtics as extensive as the two teams, the Bruins and Red Sox, they hold the game rights to. That argument sailed away a long time ago. Futhermore, NESN’s coverage of the Bruins is being usurped – in terms of ratings – by CSNNE. You’re telling me, the “Three Stooges” are going to lose ALL credibility in their coverage of the cash-cow (Red Sox) as well?

I understand Sox ownership, who own NESN, don’t exactly want to throw hosannas at the feet of Theo Epstein as he jettisons town — but, my God, cover the team. Cover the team. COVER THE TEAM. This is something that should have had attention and analysis  before and after-the-fact.

Ugh.

Comcast SportsNet New England had their Chicago affiliate feed their broadcast of the presser. Immediately following Theo’s Hello-Goodbye moment, Mike Giardi and Sean McAdam discussed what was said as well as projected what would happen in Ben Cherington’s introductory press-conference later in the day.

(Because, you know, they cover sports stories in this town.)

  • Zac Bright

    i could care less about theo's press conference. he is now the gm of the cubs…who cares about him and what he is doing in chicago. nesn had it right.

    • oldskool138

      You could care less? So you still have the capacity to care less than you do now?

  • Steve

    I am as worn out by this Red Sox discussion as anyone, but from a media perspective the decision not to cover the Cubs press conference speaks volumes. All the discussion about controlling the spin is all in play…Protecting the brand of the Red Sox has clearly infested the stations ability to program how can that not be a relevant thing for NESN to cover mid day on a Tuesday in November…CSNNE is clearly the first choice but NESN's inability to even attempt to be newsworthy vs PR based is sad.

  • APimpNamedDaveR

    Come on. Let's step back here for a second. So now we're criticizing NESN for not doing something it has never purported to do? NESN does not, and has never, held itself out as a full-service sports news outlet. While CSNNE may have delusions of grandeur, NESN is not, and has never claimed to be, trying to emulate/be ESPN, or even ESPN Boston. They're the TV outlet of the Bruins and Red Sox, with other stuff to fill the remaining time in the day. They could air nothing other than the Bruins and Red Sox games and still be a cash cow for FSG and the Jacobses. That they even spend money on doing other original in-house things is, frankly, kinda impressive (and probably not smart, truth be told, from a business perspective).

    Criticize them for lacking ambition? Sure, that's fair. Failing to cover the Cherington presser? Also very fair, if they did indeed fail to cover it. (I don't know whether they did or not.) But taking shots at them for not covering the live news conference of another team in another city? It's silly to have expected them to do that, let alone criticize them for not doing it.

    Did YES carry the Francona/Theo press conference? Did they carry the press conference when John Henry — a former member of the ownership group of the team — bought the Red Sox? Did they cover Buck Showalter's various press conferences with the Orioles? Somehow, I don't think so. Because that's not what they do. They show Yankee games, more Yankee games, Yankee hagiographies, and Yankee shows about Yankees being Yankees, and how Yankeeish it is to be a Yankee in Yankee yankee Yankeeyankeeyankee YANKEE!!! Plus occasional Yankee news, by Yankee fans for Yankee fans. That's it. I'm not going to mock them for not covering the World Series, or the odds of Joe Nathan resigning with the Twins. Not their job. Ditto with NESN reporting on things that do not relate to the Red Sox. And while Theo's Cub career will be of interest to Sox fans, it does not relate to the Red Sox.

    • Andy

      Then why is it called New England Sports Network?

    • dan

      Did you send this email from your office at NESN.
      Came off juuuust a tad bit defensive.
      Just saying.

    • latetodinner

      Dave…I agree with you completely. NESN had no obligation to carry the Theo presser. I would have been surprised if they had. I don't think 98.5 covered it live either…although both radio stations had the Cherington one live (and then he did the Big Show). NESN is nothing other than a mouth piece for the Bruins and the Sox. I just wonder why a station that has to fill 24 hours of programming that is built around 2 local sports teams and is named for the acronym New England Sports Network is not able to be both a broadcast affiliate and a news organization?

    • oldskool138

      Why would YES carry the Francona/Theo presser? They would cover it if say Cashman left the Yanks to be the GM of the Sox.

      Should NESN cover a presser if Girardi/Cashman move on to other teams?

      • Paul of Fox

        Did the YES Network cover Joe Torre's indroductory presser with the Dodgers?

        • oldskool138

          I have no idea.

  • bostonsportsmediafan

    I mentioned this on a previous post:

    When the Henry interview happened on SportsHub with F+M, every single news station here broke their 6pm broadcasts with that story. NESN? Showing their pro football 6pm show they do weekly that is syndicated from ProFootballWeekly. Ryan/Bruce have also covered well the changes CSNNE has done to the programming with the Bruins Show, The Baseball Reporters, etc.

    In addition, I think CSNNE will get much stronger broadcasting the most popular and highest rated 2-6 afternoon drive show, F+M, via their strong SportsHub partnership. To this day, D+C is cut off at 9PM for whatever reason for paid advertising. Have they ever done the full show? Why miss the last hour if you're gonna do the first three? Too much competition to the Dan Patrick show that is simulcast?

    Now, I turn to NESN if nothing else is on and I want to watch an EPL game when they broadcast a game of the week.

  • Rico

    As Kevin Paul Dupont says "Good times, nothing but good times, NESN."
    By showing Theo, they may have had to pre-empt an informercial on the Miracle Bra or Sham-Wow. It should be called NE$N, for it's all about the $ there.

  • Paul of Fox

    "…but, my God, cover the team. Cover the team. COVER THE TEAM."

    So, Ryan, which team should NESN be covering? It sounds like you want them to cover the Chicago Cubs as well as the Red Sox. Why in the heck should NESN, the network owned by the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins, broadcast the introductory presser of the Chicago Cubs new employee? Did they do so for Grady LIttle? He, too, went to the Cubs after 2003's debacle. Did they cover Mike O'Connell's departure from the Bruins? Or Dave Lewis? Has NESN covered any former employee's new job with someone else? Ever?

    Don't you think you're being a tad overly critical here? I know it's fun for media types of all kinds to pile on, but complaining about NESN not covering Theo's Cub press conferance is right on par with complaining about NESN not bringing about world peace. In other words, it's not their job.

    • Ryan Hadfield

      Paul, you are completely overlooking the point of the column.

      You seem focused on the fact that the Cubs are not a Boston team so why would NESN cover the presser?

      'New England Sports Network' – does that name give the pretense that the station covers news revolving New England sports teams? Or am I off base?

      Look, NESN doesn't want to cover the presser live? Fine. NESN doesn't want to have any coverage after-the-fact? Fine, too.

      But the point is — the station is not a Boston sports network then. They don't serve the community of fans. This was a Boston sports news story, was it not? AND THERE WAS NO COVERAGE..

      (Please, I'm begging you, tell me otherwise! It was only relevant to Chicago, right? haha)

      NESN is a Red Sox-centric station that disseminates information pertinent to that entities agenda (and that entity alone). Rename it RBS (Red Sox Broadcasting Station) then. Or leave it at NESN. I don't really care, but the bottom line is that this was a TELLING moment that NESN is not an objective or viable sports news gathering organization. A real 'Sports Network' would have covered this.

      • Ryan Hadfield

        For the record: I didn't expect NESN to carry it live (though that would have been fine too) but give me something…anything

      • bostonsportsmediafan

        Ryan,

        Post above hits it spot on. Not really sure what else you can say or justify here.

      • Paul of Fox

        Oh, I see. The real problem here is the name of the channel. Thanks for clearing that up. If NESN was called something like the Red Sox & Bruins Broadcasting Company (RS&BBCo.), then you'd have no problem with them not covering Theo's presser in Chicago. But because they call themselves the New England Sports Network, that automatically makes them like an ESPN-Boston Channel, sending reporters all over the USA to cover the exploits of former employees, because somehow "Network" = "News".

        Has NESN ever said they were an independant Boston sports news station? It was created 27 years ago to show some Red Sox and Bruins games on cable, to gradually move the games away from local TV contracts so the money goes to the teams, and to add value to the Red Sox and Bruins brands. It's never been about reporting on all things about Boston sports. It's not called New England Sports News.

        • Paul of Fox

          (Ihad to split the message)

          No kidding that NESN isn't an objective or viable sports news gathering organization. It's owned and operated by the teams themselves. This is not news to anyone, or at least it shouldn't be. Your manufactured outrage is like the Inspector from Casablanca saying, "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here." "Your winnings, sir." "Oh, thank you very much."

        • Ryan Hadfield

          you're absolutely right, Paul. That was my MAIN point, I'm rallying the troops with my manufactured outrage to get NESN to change their name.

          Be right back, I gotta catch the new episode of "Schooled."

        • Guest

          Even if the network was changed to your clever new name, they absolutely should have at least covered the press conference after the fact because the story is pertinent to the Sox and New England sports fans, if for no other reason than the timeliness of the issue.

          Had it been a month or two after the September collapse that Theo moved on, NESN might have a case for not covering it. Red Sox Nation does want to move on and forget about the last month of this season eventually. But the fact of the matter is, Theo moved to Chi-town right in the middle of everything coming out and surfacing about fried chicken, beer and what have you. This story was as relevant as can be to Red Sox Nation given the timing of the presser. I agree with Ryan here 100%. It would have been way overboard to go live, but even a mention of it with a sound byte on NESN Daily wouldn't have killed anyone.

  • Rico

    NESN TO ANNOUNCE NEW SHOW:
    SUDS APPEAL
    An inside like into the clubhouse keggers that transpire during games

  • ADCRI

    NESN should have covered Theo's press conference. It was a relevant subject… bad call.

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