Meet Me at the Crossroads, ESPN

Worldwide Leader in Sports struggles to cope with new media landscape, forcing us to adjust our behavior as consumers.

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ESPN has a had rough month.

The ABC subsidiary confirmed last week that it would cut 300 jobs as a “necessary part of our continued strategic evolution to ensure ESPN remains the leader in sports as well as the premier sports destination on any platform,” according to ESPN CEO John Skipper in a memo that ended up online.

And today, the network announced it would end its Grantland operations. (For those who aren’t familiar, Grantland was a favorite of employees looking to steal company time by reading sports and pop-culture — excuse the redundancy — content that cast aside the banality in which those genres are too often mired.)

The site had the best writers in their respective fields and they were paid fairly. As ESPN said in its statement, “Grantland distinguished itself with quality writing, smart ideas, original thinking and fun.” But that wasn’t enough to ensure its long-term vitality, as the brand would prefer projects with “a broader and more significant impact across our enterprise.”

In other words: Long live the hot take.

As the Worldwide Leader struggles to cope with the new media landscape, we must adjust our behavior as consumers. Don’t tune into a show that handsomely pays a pair of professional trolls to “embrace debate.” Don’t click on Sportscenter’s latest shameful attempt to be the voice of millennials by parroting the day’s meme. That Elite Daily story with the all-too-perfect headline in your Facebook feed? Trust me, it’s as horrible as you think it is; don’t click on it.

We must be smarter in this digital space, because the termination of Grantland confirms we are using the wrong metrics.

Daily Beast Senior News Editor Ben Collins tweeted it best:

If the consumers lead, the advertisers will follow.

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