October 16, 2006

ESPN: The Entertainment and Sports Programming Network

My wife and I are enjoying teriyaki for dinner, watching Monday Night Football (when my beloved Packers are this bad, the next-best-thing to do is to cheer against Chicago and Minnesota), when we observe a new video by Jay-Z, featuring NASCAR and IRL drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Danica Patrick. Tossed-in for good measure are scantily clad women, and clips from yesterday's NFL games.

I'm a football purist, so this isn't how I'd prefer to spend halftime. However, I can see the genius of the person who decided to name this network "ESPN" instead of "SPN" back in 1979.

ESPN stands for the "Entertainment and Sports Programming Network". That "E", as my wife points out, gives ESPN the permission to offer you "Entertainment" during Monday Night Football. ESPN takes advantage of the letter "E" with much of their programming.

All of the companies we work for have little quirks that allow employees to take risks. Google's "Do No Evil" provides boundaries for employees, but also provides unlimited opportunities for doing good. What are examples of company quirks that allow you to take risks you otherwise wouldn't take?

1 comment:

  1. Well, ESPN doesn't need "permission" to show non-sports fare. MTV has been showing loads of non-music programming for years, to the envy of other networks. As long as it pulls in eyeballs and ad dollars, a channel's purported name and mission are eminently flexible.

    As for that acronym: When I was working on the copy desk at a newspaper sports department, one of the regular trivia-question phone calls we'd get would be a clarification of what "ESPN" stood for. (This was mostly before the Web, although most calls would come from half-drunken idiots in bars, so even now...) I'd always give them the long answer, which is: Today, "ESPN" doesn't stand for anything but ESPN -- that's officially and legally what the network is named, as mandated by corporate overlord Disney. But of course, when the little Bristol cable outlet started life in 1979, it was indeed the Entertainment & Sports Programming Network (not that it ever promoted itself as anything but ESPN).

    And then, there's that joke from an old promo commercial where the idiot fan thinks "ESPN" means "sports in Spanish". I guess I like that explanation the best.

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