I just completed reading a fascinating oral history book about the world of ESPN called, "Those Guys Have All The Fun: Inside the World of ESPN" by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.
The authors interviewed dozens of people who were associated in some way with the sports juggernaut, and it is told in their words. (The authors also include some text in their words as well.) Miller and Shales also wrote a comprehensive oral history of "Saturday Night Live" many years ago.
All the ESPN heavyweights from then and now you can think of are interviewed in this book: Chris Berman, Bob Ley, Keith Olbermann, Dan Patrick, Stuart Scott, and many others, along with many coaches and players from the world of sports. Even President Obama cooperated with the book. And many of them don't hold back with their recollections. I never really knew much about ESPN's humble beginnings in Bristol, Connecticut, and I found that part interesting. (I didn't get cable TV until 1993, so I never watched ESPN on a regular basis until then.)
A lot of the controversy that the network has been embroiled in over the years is touched on, including the Rush Limbaugh experiment, Olbermann's stormy tenure, the network's poor treatment of women throughout the years, LeBron's James' "Decision" and many others. But the centerpiece of the book is its' most popular show, "SportsCenter" and many of those anchors who have been a part of it tell their experiences in their own words. (Olbermann and Patrick were always my favorites, and enjoyed reading all the stuff surrounding "The Big Show.")
The book goes into great detail how ESPN came to dominate the American sports landscape, with their acquisitions of NFL football, baseball, NBA basketball and numerous college sports. The book is over 750 pages, but I enjoyed reading it.
It's a great American success story, but "Those Guys Have All The Fun" dishes plenty of dirt as well. If you're a fan of ESPN, I'm sure you will enjoy this book, too.