Last week, ESPN 2’s popular sports talk show “First Take” finally gave the fans what they’ve been waiting some time for: A chance to debate Stephen A. Smith.
The contest itself consists on fans uploading and submitting one minute videos of their opinions on the hot sports topics of the day and from all the submissions, two fans, male and female, will be chosen to appear on the show and debate Smith and Max Kellerman. This is the ultimate sports fan’s dream due to the fact of the growing popularity of the show as well as the chance to go toe-to-toe with Smith, one of the most boisterous voices in sports.
The winners of the contest will be chosen on November 23 and invited out to ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut to have the full backstage experience and debate with Smith and Kellerman live on national TV.
This was a brilliant idea and concept from mind of Smith that ESPN2 and the First Take staff put into fruition. It’s a perfect marketing plan for the show, who is now competing, and beating, former debater Skip Bayless with his show “Undisputed” in the TV ratings. This idea of fully incorporating the fans and bringing them onto the hotseat of live television is genius and gives the show a new flavor after Bayless’ departure this past summer.
Smith and Kellerman’s personalities and personal dynamics that they bring to the show make this the perfect opportunity for not only America to vicariously live through these two contest winners, but to also realize how hard it is to talk intelligently about sports for two hours on live TV.
Due to his very loud, but always erudite and researched points that he makes on the show, there are many fans who would love the opportunity to prove him wrong in the national spotlight.
This is an opportunity that Smith is welcoming with open arms.
Via Claire Duckworth/ESPN: “My vision – for anything I do in this business – is to always have audience participation in some capacity, since there is no success without their interest and involvement,” said Smith. “So after years of interacting with folks on the streets, at the arenas and stadiums – even in the supermarkets – swearing they could debate like pros, I decided it would be great to give folks a chance to show what they’re made of. Let’s go!”
In my estimation two things will come of this: One, as I mentioned before, fans will realize the kind of pressure Smith, Kellerman, and moderator Molly Querim are under to not only put on a great show, but to expertly analyze every topic in sports. Articulating points of view on each topic that the common fan could not come up with is hard because every fan feels like they’re an expert.
Two, these TV personalities will become more related in the eyes of many, especially Smith who can be viewed as arrogant because of how he makes his points. This will provide the nation an opportunity to see, live and direct, how important these people are to sports culture and that in order to get onto that national television hot seat, they had to put in many hours and many years of work just as any person would in order to get their dream job.
I believe that this is a revolutionary idea and one that will spark other shows from other networks to do the same. The fanfare that this has already received in a week’s time is astounding and as the November 23 announce date approaches, the hype will only continue to grow which makes this contest even more of a success for the popular show and network.
Do you like the concept of the “First Take, Your Take” Contest? Let’s talk about it here or find me on Twitter @Phenombc3