Nothing like giving phony awards to yourself to make your company look better.
The “World Wide Leader in Sports” appears to also be the “World Wide Leader in Fake Awards” after an investigation by The Athletic uncovered a shocking scheme. For the better part of last twenty years, ESPN has been using fake names to garner Emmy Awards for their employees that aren’t actually eligible to receive awards.
They were able to successfully pull off the scheme up until recently, when the National Academy of Television & Sciences (NATAS) figured out what was going on. The NATAS oversees the Emmy Awards, and eventually put two and two together that the names ESPN were submitting did not match up with who was being awarded them on air.
Since at least 2o10, the sports network was taking the Emmy awards with the fake names, re-engraving them, and then awarding them to various on-air personalities.
Many of the College Gameday hosts, such as Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, and Desmond Howard, were included in the list of ESPN employees who received the fake Emmys. It is being reported that none of them were aware of the scheme that the company they worked for was conducting.
ESPN used the name “Lee Clark” in place of Lee Corso, and “Kirk Henry” instead of Kirk Herbstreit, and when NATAS asked ESPN for verification of those names, they confessed that they were fabricated.
ESPN engaged in a scheme to win extra Emmys for College GameDay by unsubtly modifying the names of its hosts. This was to dodge a weird rule that prevented on-air talent from being eligible for some awards, so they just gave them fake names. 😅 https://t.co/197vT10zjspic.twitter.com/6dxOvYfQvw
When asked about the “Emmy scandal” by the New York Post, ESPN responded to the story by saying this:
“Some members of our team were clearly wrong in submitting certain names that may go back to 1997 in Emmy categories where they were not eligible for recognition or statuettes. This was a misguided attempt to recognize on-air individuals who were important members of our production team.
Once current leadership was made aware, we apologized to NATAS for violating guidelines and worked closely with them to completely overhaul our submission process to safeguard against anything like this happening again.”
Once their scheme was foiled by NATAS, ESPN returned the 37 trophies that they had lied about, and senior leadership at the sports network will face a one-year ban from Emmys. The two ESPN executives who were behind the faking of awards will be ineligible to receive future Emmy awards.