BRISTOL - A fiery ball of light could be seen as far away as New York City late Wednesday night. The explosion was the result of the Miami Heat's 27 game winning streak coming to an end at the hands of the Chicago Bulls. ESPN's Bristol, Connecticut facilities combusted shortly after the buzzer sounded at Chicago's United Center.
"We had a whole lineup set," said ESPN programming director Jen Tankins. "We've got the NIT and NBA taking up our time. We had Providence against Baylor on ESPN2, Nets and Blazers on ESPN...we had our live break-in all set with confetti and everything. We were going to fly in Pedro Gomez on a helicopter through the United Center roof. We had our Top 10 highlights dedicated to the Heat's monumental victory. We had a whole graphic that matched players of the '72 Lakers' dieting plans to the 2013 Heat's dieting plans. We had a good 45 minutes of our 60 minute SportsCenter ready...and then...it just happened so quick. Now we're just waiting for the fire department to save the tapes. I tried to grab what I could...but when I looked at it, all I came away with was old Boardwalk Baseball episodes and something that said 'PBA 1983-1986'. We didn't even digitalize all our archives. We're screwed."
ESPNNews and ESPNDeportes were ready for the press conferences. All ESPN affiliated websites were already set with articles. Once all ESPN programmers realized that the result would go in the Bulls' favor, Bristol's computer systems crashed. What followed was a fire being set by the NBA on ESPN team; realizing that there biggest draw of ratings for the next couple weeks had been smashed, resigned themselves to violence.
With the town still in flames, programmers are quickly trying to figure out what to do.
"We have some old Heat games that maybe we can put on replay. Maybe we can create a state-like media in North Korea where people only believe the information that we give them. If we tell them they actually won? We can make it happen."
As of now, Bristol headquarters' phone lines are jammed.