The Versus network has found a winning formula in their Daily Line program which should help to fill the void created by the majority of ESPN’s programing.

Many sports fans have become disillusioned to ESPN due to their failure to cover various sports.  Football gets tons of coverage by The World-Wide Leader In Sports, as it should, but if you were to tune into any of the three ESPN networks right now to get your sports-related information, you’d think the only things happening are the NBA Playoffs, Major League Baseball, Golf and NASCAR.

Where’s the NHL Playoffs?  I realize that hockey has some rules that the common fans don’t inherently understand the first time they watch it, but many will agree that the NHL Playoffs take the sport to a whole new level of play in comparison to the regular season.  Even with the interesting storylines playing out in this year’s post-season, the NHL doesn’t get much of any coverage aside from the very occasional appearance by Matthew Barnaby and Barry Melrose.  A couple days ago when Pittsburgh and Ottawa were battling in a great game that went into multiple overtimes, I couldn’t find an update from ESPN – not through their live news nor through the ticker at the bottom of the screen.  When they do present scores and highlights, you can tell that the producers are looking for the quickest ways possible to present the information and then move on.  Finding out who had the goals and assists in a game, let alone the number of saves a goalie gave up (or even the names of the goalies) is impossible if you don’t look for a news outlet other than ESPN.  Want to know how many pitches one of the New York Yankees starters threw in a given game?  They’ll talk all about that.  I realize that baseball gets better ratings than hockey, but do you mean to tell me that ESPN can’t treat a pivotal game in the NHL Playoffs as being more important than a random baseball game in the first month of the MLB season?

Where’s the world of Mixed Martial Arts?  There are a few big storylines going on right now and three main organizations presenting quality products, but how much mention does ESPN give to UFC, WEC and Strikeforce?  Less COMBINED in a month than they give hockey on any given day.  Give me a break.  ESPN gives plenty of air-time to talking about Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather and the rest of the world of boxing, but when it comes to a sport in MMA which is more technical than boxing, albeit significantly bloodier at times, ESPN just avoids it like the plague, with only minor mentions in the scroller at the bottom of the screen.

Earlier this week I discovered The Daily Line on Versus, which airs at 6 pm Eastern Time, and I’ve set my DVR for it to record the program every day.  The introduction to the show gives you a brief mention of the topics they’re going to discuss and then they mention that they’re giving you all you need to know to be ready for an evening of sports – ACKNOWLEDGING THAT YOU’LL LIKELY BE WATCHING OTHER NETWORKS – a concept that ESPN seems to ignore, given that they typically only help highlight things that are going to be on ESPN or their parent network ABC.

On yesterday’s episode of The Daily Line, they started out with an entertaining video of a soccer celebration before moving on to the show.

In addition to their MMA Roundtable, I also enjoyed the fact that The Daily Line actually talked about the betting odds for the upcoming games.  Not that I’m going to use the lines to make wagers with my friends or even call a bookie, but it’s interesting to hear what the odds-makers think is going to happen with the games, including the trends which help predict what’s likely to occur.

Also, The Daily Line doesn’t hide the fact that the people on the show are REAL.  Whether it’s the fact that they’re not dressed up in fancy suits or they’re showing their bias towards (or against) a professional team, it’s a welcome change.  It comes across as if you’re part of a conversation with sports fans whose job it is to know what they’re talking about, and they’re not too filtered / limited by editors.  It gets tiresome reading the elevated language in the pages of the newspaper and the sports columnists use words that the typical sports fan doesn’t even understand.  This is part of the reason why people read blogs, listen to sports-talk radio and watch sports-related news programing instead of reading the paper.  They want a real perspective, and The Daily Line is a good source to  provide that perspective.

Sure, it’s not polished, but the longer it’s on television, the more it’s going to improve.  And in the meantime, if you need a reason to give the show a shot?  Give co-host Jenn Sterger a try:

Cowgirl Jenn Sterger

Cowgirl Jenn Sterger

Hottie Jenn Sterger Cools Off

Hottie Jenn Sterger Cools Off

We’re guessing that one way or another, you’ll find yourself continuing to come back to The Daily Line for some good sports perspective, watching less and less of the other network’s news.  Although The Daily Line can’t keep you updated with real-time scoring (as it airs leading up to the start times of the early games), it will help to supplement your knowledge of the big stories, which you’ll need to search the web to find anyway due to the lack of adequate coverage by ESPN… unless you only like the “mainstream” sports that ESPN likes to push, in which case we feel bad for you, as you’re really missing out.

Here, have some more Jenn Sterger to make yourself feel better.

Jenn Sterger Bares It All In Maxim

Jenn Sterger Bares It All In Maxim


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