SBD/December 10, 2012/Media

Enough's Enough: ESPN's Skipper Says Net Will Dial Back Its Coverage Of Tim Tebow

ESPN is devoting less coverage to Jets QB Tim Tebow because ESPN President John Skipper told producers to dial it back. In an interview last week at his N.Y. office, Skipper said, "I said, 'Guys, we didn't handle this very well.' Going to training camp wasn't a problem. We just stayed on it relentlessly and too long." Skipper was particularly affected by an interview former ESPN analyst Doug Gottlieb gave to "The Dan Patrick Show" in October, where he said, "I was told specifically, 'You can't talk enough Tebow.'" Skipper: "The quote that I hated was from Doug Gottlieb. ... I didn't love that. I want people to think about what works for the next 10 minutes might not be the best thing for us for three years. That one hit home with me." While the network was roundly criticized for sending multiple reporters to Jets training camp this summer, Skipper said he did not mind that coverage. "Training camp was fine. The guy's very popular. In our business, we do want to drive ratings. You've just got to keep long-term, short-term in mind." And when ESPN even mentioned Tebow, ratings would increase immediately. That caused producers to try to work Tebow stories into their shows to push ratings higher. But Skipper said he recently told ESPN producers not to be seduced by the short-term ratings fix that mentioning Tebow produced. "We've had some good discussions internally about trying to be careful. In some ways, the more difficult internal conflict is between long-term story telling and ratings. We all know that if you focus on the Tebow story, for the next 10 minutes you're going to do better. But the question is trying to take a long-term perspective and saying, 'Guys, let's not get over excited about one story and hyping it.'"
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