On this fine, blustery, snowy, gusty Saturday morning, when I should be at Belmont but I am instead at home, I was engaging in a leisurely breakfast coupled with some serious procrastinating when I noticed that Twitter suggested that I follow @espnhorseracing.
@espnhorseracing? Who knew? Cool!
Except…@espnhorseracing last tweeted on August 20, 2010. That tweet was a link to an ESPN racing blog last updated…November 6, 2010.
Silly me, for thinking that I’d find some tweets about the Breeders’ Cup, which ESPN (along with ABC, ESPN2, and ESPN3 (Yes. ESPN3? Anyone out there get that?)) is covering in six days.
A spirited conversation about ESPN’s coverage sprang up on Twitter; I was quickly informed that an @ESPNBreederscup account existed, raising my hopes…only to have them dashed again when I discovered that that account, less than a week before the event, has exactly one, meager, self-promotional tweet, from about 10 days ago, and it’s a retweet of an @breederscup announcement about…ESPN’s television coverage of the event. So it wasn’t even really about the racing. It was about itself.
I get that racing is small potatoes in the ESPN garden. But it seems foolish, short-sighted, and oblivious to make a commitment to covering a sporting event for two full days without taking advantage of Twitter. Like it or not (and ESPN does like Twitter, that’s for sure), Twitter is an essential medium, and ESPN is simply ignoring the large, varied, and significant racing community there. Unlike fans of other sports, many racing fans get a bulk of their coverage from Twitter (because networks like ESPN can’t usually be bothered to pay attention to the sport); there’s a built-in, receptive, engaged, active community that the Worldwide Leader is simply ignoring.
Thanks again, ESPN.