SBD/January 12, 2012/Media

This Is "TebowCenter": ESPN Dedicates Hour Of "SportsCenter" To Broncos QB

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ESPN's "SportsCenter" dedicated the 11:00am ET hour today to all things related to Broncos QB Tim Tebow. In the introduction to the broadcast, ESPN’s Robert Flores said, “You may love him or you may not, but either way you care about what he does. We go behind the phenomenon that Tebow has become.” The broadcast led with a live report from ESPN’s George Smith at the Broncos’ team facility about the team’s preparation for this weekend’s game against the Patriots, with Smith saying Tebow is “aware of what’s going on and his skyrocketing popularity.” ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi later said, “We talked about the Broncos and the Patriots playoff game and we haven’t even brought up Tom Brady.” Clips of fans and personalities were shown “Tebowing” around the country, followed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter discussing Tebow’s future with the Broncos. Schefter noted after Tebow’s performance in the team’s win over the Steelers in the Wild Card round, Broncos Exec VP/Football Operations John Elway now has a “genuine respect” for Tebow. There have been “people who have suggested that Tim Tebow has passed up John Elway in terms of popularity” in Denver, but “that’s not possible right now at this early stage of his career.” Another segment featured ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian comparing the mania surrounding former Dodgers P Fernando Valenzuela to what is happening with Tebow today. Horrow Sports Ventures CEO Rick Horrow then discussed the “business of Tebow.” The show then played a radio interview with TNT’s Charles Barkley talking about Tebow, followed by a roundtable discussion with ESPN's Herm Edwards, Trevor Matich and Hugh Douglas. A game show parody called “You Don’t Know Tebow” featured Douglas and ESPN’s Ric Bucher. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg noted the “Tebow phenomenon is not about football.” At the conclusion of the broadcast, Flores noted, “I think we may have broken Twitter with our last hour of ‘SportsCenter’” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 1/12). 

TWITTER REAX: The hour of "TebowCenter" drew plenty of reaction on Twitter this morning. The Big Lead's Jason McIntyre wrote on his Twitter account, "This is the kind of day where people experience Tebow fatigue: Slow sports day, so ESPN goes HEAVY Tebow. Dedicating an entire hour to him.” The Palm Beach Post's Ben Volin wrote, “Tebow in danger of becoming like the 'I didnt do it' boy on The Simpsons. We cant get enough now, but there's such a thing as oversaturation." RLR Associates Managing Dir of Sports Media Andrew Fine wrote, “Still not sure if networks (cough cough ESPN) oversaturate on Tebow because people want it, or people watch it because that's all there is.” Writer Beau Dure wrote, “Want to know why people are tired of Tebow? SportsCenter made an *NBA* segment all about him today. There's no escape!” The South Florida Sun-Sentinel's Shandel Richardson said, "Another Tim Tebow hour on SportsCenter? Can't wait for this NBC Sports Network to launch." Former NFLer Jerry Azumah wrote, "SportsCenter, I blame U for this Tebow OverHype. Elite SB Champion League MVPs havent received this much Hype and he isnt near that!" Bills LB Shawne Merriman wrote, "Watching the Tebow soap opera on @espn you have to appreciate how he's handling it."

NAME RECOGNITION: There were 159 Tebow-related verbal mentions during the hour, including the phrases “Tebow,” “Tebowing,” “Tebowmania” and “Tebowed” (THE DAILY).
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