Y‘know what? I really love ESPN. There was an excellent essay in Sports Illustrated a few weeks ago about how ESPN is in danger of MTV-izing itself: showing ‘television shows’ tangentially about sports instead of showing what everyone wants to see – games and scores. The article made a good point.
As soon as MTV stopped showing videos, I stopped watching. I was a bit wary when The 2 Minute Drill started. I don’t want my ESPN turning into a channel that’s only kinda about sports. I don’t want to have to watch the deuce or ESPNNews or any other ESPN channel (or, God forbid, FOX Sports) if I want to see a Boise State v. Mid-America Tech volleyball game at 3 am. I want those completely irrelevant competitions on ESPN right between Sportscenters. I do like ‘the bottom line’ and I do enjoy one or two of the things that are on ESPN that aren’t games or Sportscenter – The Sports Reporters for example. But please. I don’t want to watch a game show or a mini-series or movie or whatever on my sports channel. I don’t think anyone else does either.
But that’s not what this post is about. Rather, my recent visit to ESPN.com got me to thinking. Why am I not logging in to ESPN.com? Why don’t they remember me? Don’t they care? This is the one place on the ‘net that I visit almost as often as davidgagne.net and they don’t bother to say hi? I really think that ESPN.com should follow the lead of Amazon.com and track everything I do. If I click on College Football and then Florida Gators every time I visit, why don’t they just show me that as soon as I get there? Why don’t I have a My ESPN.com page? (requisite parenthetical intrusion on the demeaning first person pronoun) How much cooler would that be?
Listen, I know that there is a large contingent of curmudgeons rallying against their loss of privacy and their fears of cookies and click-tracking, but I’m not one of them. I’m totally in favor of your site remembering me, saying hello, and customizing itself to my preferences. If you know my preferences because you have a “My Preferences” page or because you meticulously analyze my every visit, it’s fine with me. Some combination of the two – again, like amazon – would be even better. I’m not scared. What’s the worst you’re gonna do? Get to know me better? That’s not a crime or an invasion of privacy in my eyes. That’s just good customer service.