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You answered your own question early on in the article:

“If ESPN had fans, not viewers — in Bob Ley’s formulation — it’s because the network seemed to love sports as much as fans did.”

This is, in my opinion, the problem with ESPN – they don’t seem like love sports anymore, they seem like they’re selling it. It’s a subtle difference — and perhaps just one of interpretation rather than reality — but it’s an important one.

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