A Summary and Analysis of Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World of ESPN by James Miller and Tom Shales for Practicing and Aspiring Managers
This synopsis and review of the book, Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside The World Of ESPN, was prepared by Christopher Saucedo while a General Business student in the College of Business at Southeastern Louisiana University.
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Being blunt is something that really is apparent in this book. The book, Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, is anything but coy. The deepest and darkest secrets of all the back room deals, start up situations, relationships, animosities, problems and triumphs are all opened up for the reader to see. The book takes on a life because of the interviews that make the book. Each important figure in the highlight of ESPN’s employees gives their side of whatever story they deemed relevant to divulge. If you are looking for a historical book told in a time line, this is really far from your cup of tea. The story is epic, as is anything with the worldwide leader in sports.
The book begins with the Rasmussen family and their quest to make a business out of sports. They aren’t sure how to go about it or that it will even work with the new age of cable. With the help of Stu Evey and Getty Oil they start off on a track that really does seem impossible to overcome. They make it through the early growing pains and search for talent to house in the “dump” they call Bristol. The deals made in order to acquire certain aspects of the business are told and some seem crazy and imbecile, but thinking out the box was something they were passionate about and perfected. Since the cable industry was growing and still had not taken off, the chance that this idea of an Entertainment Sports Programming network or ESP Network as it was first called, would work, was a gamble. Insiders talked about how deals were made with sponsors on pure luck and some had no real backing other than a verbal assurance.
When you continue reading, you notice most of the book centers around the relationships that people had with each other, both business and professionally. In the early days, many of the on air talent and even production team were all recruited because of networking between companies. Many people came from the likes of CBS, NBC and ABC who were unhappy with their jobs at the big 3 networks. Many of them admit that the decision to come to a new aged network on cable was a risky decision and some say it was a mistake but most don’t regret it. You also learn about the back stories between certain on air personalities and how tensions were raised between them. The book discusses in length the problems the Rasmussen’s had with Evey and Chet Simmons who felt they were not cut out to be the day to day operators of the business, even though it was initially their idea. They also talk about the Olbermann/Patrick tandem of SportsCenter and how popular they became with the viewers. In that, they go into the problems Keith Olbermann had with the company and how his exit was very much publicized and you read all the juicy details.