Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated interviewed Norby Williamson, ESPN’s executive vice president of production, about the network’s coverage of LeBron James and the Heat.
“I challenge that premise,” Williamson said in response to Deitsch stating that viewers believe ESPN cannot objectively cover James. “I think sports fans overall journalistically trust ESPN, so I challenge that premise. I’m sure there are some fans or some media critics that believe that, and without rehashing the reasons behind what we did with The Decision, I think our body of work speaks for itself.”
When asked why ESPN decided to erect a set and send down a team of reporters to Heat training camp, Williamson said the network was doing it for the fans.
“We do things to serve sports fans,” Williamson said. “And I know you’ve heard that before, but it’s not a clichÃ©. It’s been a great guiding principle for us. When George Steinbrenner died or with Brett Favre, critics will say it’s excessive coverage. But for whatever it is worth, people respond and people watch us and people want to know.”
Sports fans are going to watch ESPN regardless of who the network is fawning over that week.
Are basketball fans outside of Miami really looking for 24/7 coverage of Heat training camp though?
Personally, I doubt it.