Would The Last Dance Have Same Impact If Things Were Normal?
The Last Dance was a cultural phenomenon. For the last five weeks, we learned about Michael Jordan’s career and his final year with the Chicago Bulls. For someone that has vague memories of Jordan, it makes you wish that you were five or six years older (That doesn’t happen often). We all were glued to our couches and discussed it with friends on Twitter. Almost no one DVR’d it and waited until the next day or Tuesday. They were watching at the moment. There will be a lot of ‘winners’ of quarantine time, but none bigger in sports than those who put together The Last Dance and ESPN.
Even though it is Jordan, the fact is if the times were normal, I’m not sure if the impact is the same. Now, the plan had been to run The Last Dance in between NBA Finals games this year creating this month-long content stream from the NBA. I’m sure that The Last Dance would make my DVR, but there is no guarantee that I’m watching it every night it is on. If we’re back in normal times, who knows maybe I miss an episode due to being at a Brewers game or something else tickles my fancy.
This might make me sound like a boomer, but the ability to watch something with everyone was fun. That’s old school. Sure, some people did DVR it, but the conversation was happening through those two hours. Like it would for a basketball game or any other sporting event. The public treated The Last Dance like a sporting event, and it was an awesome distraction from not having sports on television. I remember how invigorated I felt watching the first two episodes.
People love to shit on ESPN, but they did a great thing here. They gave sports fans something to watch each Sunday night and have a conversation with their online friends. ESPN will be rolling out Lance Armstrong, Bruce Lee, and McGwire/Sosa docs in the next six weeks. They’re trying to strike while the iron is hot, and I don’t blame them.