ESPN Hiring Keith Olbermann Back is the Right Move

By Jack Jorgensen
Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The list would be way too long to jot down here and now, but if there is one unwritten rule in sports that has been proven time and again, it’s that you can never, under most circumstances, say never.

Nothing in sports is impossible. This fact has been proven to us once again and, ironically, it has absolutely nothing to do with an athlete. Rather, it has to to with a certain broadcaster returning to the network that he had a major hand in building into the media conglomerate that it has become today.

What is also ironic is that this man is returning after stating multiple times in the past that he would “never” make a triumphant return. Well, go figure.

ESPN has announced that former SportsCenter anchor Keith Olbermann will be making his return to the World Wide Leader, and has been given his own hour-long show aptly named ‘Olbermann’ that will air on ESPN2, beginning on Aug.26. This will mark the first time that Olbermann will be a fixture on ESPN television since leaving the network in 1997.

Back in their days together on ESPN’s flagship show, Olbermann and his partner Dan Patrick pushed ESPN toward heights it had never seen before.

The two quickly made SportsCenter must-see television for any sports fan on a nightly basis. With the use of pop-culture references and personal catchphrases (come on, who still doesn’t use “En Fuego” at some point in their daily life?), Olbermann and Patrick collectively changed the way sports updates were delivered.

When Olbermann left ESPN back in ’97, he would go on to become on of the more formidable figures in politics on both MSNBC and Fox News. Between his passionate, yet funny, views on political issues and his feud with Bill O’Reilly, the former sports anchor was successful at turning himself into a legitimate force in Washington, D.C.

And this is exactly why landing back on ESPN is a genius move by the network that I’m so overly critical of. I know when to give credit where it’s due, and this is one of those instances.

With the evolution of the competition with Fox Sports 1 on the horizon, ESPN may finally have someone to go toe-to-toe with them. Hiring back one of the names that made them into what they are today is a brilliant move. Olbermann back on ESPN television brings interest from those of us that watched him back in the 90s, but it also could bring in a new group of viewers.

The success that Olbermann enjoyed during his years recently on the political scene has generated himself a bit of a cult following. Even if some of those people have just a slight, minor interest in sports in general, they may still follow their leader to his new gig. It’s a move that has the potential to create mass viewership with a diverse group of people. They’re bringing back old-school Olbermann fans and meshing them with more recent ones.

Whether or not his duties would branch out beyond his own show remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t exactly be the dumbest idea in the world. Speaking for myself, I know that I will be a tad irked if I don’t get to see Olbermann drop a few cliches on a SportsCenter broadcast here and there.

Well done, ESPN. You guys got me this time.


Jack is a Clubhouse Writer for Rant Sports. Follow Jack on Twitter @JackJ14RS

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