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The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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December 16, 2021

ESPN, You need to calm down

Casey Tedrow
Taylor Swift has taken over all of ESPN’s feeds, making it difficult to tell if ESPN is an entertainment news platform or a sports platform.

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

I couldn’t contain my frustration as I refreshed my Instagram feed for the tenth time, unable to believe what I was seeing. I saw countless ESPN posts, normal for a Sunday during an afternoon slate of games, and it should have informed me about sports news going on right then. Should have told me that Zach Wilson had one of his best games of his career. Or that Christian Pulisic was in fact not going to start in their Serie A match against Genoa.

Instead all I saw was a 33 year-old music sensation clouding my recommended, making me feel like I was drowning in a lavender haze.

Taylor Swift. I used to enjoy her music. Not enough to be a Swiftie, but enough to be considered someone who has the “taste of a generic 15-year old white girl,” as one of my friends so eloquently put it. Now she lives in my nightmares. Or my wildest dreams.

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I, as a sports fan, want to be informed about sports when I follow an account like ESPN or SportsCenter. All right, one post about Taylor Swift dating Travis Kelce is all right. But two? 13 in a day? 22 in a week? (See what I did there?)

I used to believe that you could never have enough Taylor Swift. But as a sports fan, I feel like ESPN making Taylor Swift the main talking point in sports is taking over Instagram and other social media platforms just because she is romantically affiliated with the best tight end in the league, which I believe is simply buffoonery. It’s gotten to the point where liking Taylor Swift has become my Cornelia Street, which I will never walk again (I’m lying. I am quite enchanted by her music. But still…)

I feel like ESPN and all these social media accounts are pandering to the public instead of doing what they were meant to do: report on sports. Instead of posting the latest clip of Ja’maar Chase burning a Ravens cornerback and still not getting the ball, or focusing on Zach Wilson’s outperforming Patrick Mahomes against the Chiefs IN FRONT of Taylor Swift, these so-called “journalistic” platforms are instead attempting to garner a larger fanbase by luring fans from the music industry to football, which is only making things worse.

It’s not even ESPN alone anymore. Local news stations broadcasting Chiefs games have started playing Taylor Swift songs in their intros and outros from break, only one of which was decently clever: ‘Welcome to New York,” because the game was being held in the New York Jets’ facility (although technically it’s located in New Jersey but whatever). The NFL Twitter and Instagram pages have also been overrun by attention-seeking posts looking to attract fans that don’t like the NFL because of the sport it represents, but because of the woman that is dating someone from the sport it represents. We’re giving more attention to the one on the bleachers than the ones actually playing the game.

And the only ones profiting from this are the media platforms that choose to include Taylor Swift in their posts. For example, an ESPN post on Lionel Messi, one of the greatest athletes in the world, and Inter Miami getting eliminated from the MLS playoffs garnered about 348,758 likes on Instagram as of October 13, 2023. Compare that with a post about Taylor Swift celebrating a Travis Kelce touchdown against the Raiders on Thursday Night Football, which didn’t even show the touchdown; rather, it garnered 501,006.

Gone are the days when watching football was because you actually enjoyed the sport. Gone are the days when the only people who watched football were people watching their favorite teams or people anxiously waiting for their flex running back to score them 2.8 fantasy points in order to escape a loss. Now all I see demonic jerseys that spell “Kelce” as “Kelsey” and ugly Halloween outfits that look as pretty as the devil and the occasional TikTok predicting their breakup song.

Can ESPN stop trying to pull another fanbase into football based on the fact that their favorite celebrity is (speculatively) dating a football player? Can we instead focus on drawing them in not because they are a swiftie, but because they have a genuine love of the game? 

I love Taylor Swift. I like Travis Kelce. I wish them and all the Swifties well. 

All I want is my normal ESPN back. I want my normal NFL broadcasts back. Minus all the champagne problems the Swifties have brought with them.

This story was originally published on Trojaneer on October 17, 2023.