Friday, July 28, 2006

Team Web sites, network innovate content

Two recent articles in Sports Business Journal caught my interest: one reports that the YES Network (with DirectTV) is launching an interactive TV service. YES, affiliated with the Yankees, will the first for a U.S.-based regional sports network. The U.S. continues to lag behind other countries in offering interactive television. As YES (and last year, the NFL Network) introduce fans to this technology, they'll continue to rise in legitimacy as sources of information and news for fans -- possibly displacing more traditional media.
The other article reports that two NHL teams,the LA Kings and Anaheim Ducks, are considering hiring their own "beat writers" in the face of news that the LA Times is cutting back on hockey coverage. As more teams and leagues hire their own "journalists" to supplement or compete with newspapers and more traditional outlets, the line will continue to blur between sports PR and traditional journalism.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The X Games: Save the ink

Sports editors around the country have experimented with coverage of action sports to draw young readers. It may not be worth the effort. In focus groups with teenage sports fans from around the U.S. here at Penn State this week for its Sports Journalism Institute, participants say any interest they have in action sports will be satiated by watching the X Games (which begin next week) -- they don't want to see it in the paper. They see it more as entertainment than as a competitive sport that should get traditional sports coverage.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The other global cup competition

Although soccer's World Cup competition has received massive global media attention, another elite sporting competition has received almost none in the U.S. and little anywhere else. The Gold Cup World Championships for wheelchair basketball are coming to a close in Amsterdam. The U.S. women's team has made the finals, and the men's team will play for a spot in the championship this weekend. Coverage in the U.S. has been confined to the sparse local-angle feature,. Adapted sports suffer from lack of media exposure in the U.S. -- a lack often driven by ignorance and stereotypes about disability.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Squeezed off the sidelines

During the past several seasons, we've seen an uptick in the number of women covering college and professional football -- from the sidelines. Sideline reporters don't get the same exposure as those in the anchor booth or calling the game; they're on screen for literally seconds. But the sideline job was proving a break-in ground for some female talent. But the sideline reporter may be on the way out. Both CBS and NBC have announced plans to cut back on sideline reporters. When sideline reporters are cut from men's pro and college sportscasts, so are the on-camera opportunities for women, who must often settle for that role.
Meanwhile, however, a sideline pioneer -- Lesley Visser-- will be the first woman to receive pro football' Hall of Fame media award.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Drudging up jock news

A new Web site, modeled on the Drudge Report format, is another bookmark option for sport junkies. The site, Jock Report, doesn't offer anything particularly original -- but it does offer a comprehensive list of links to other sports news sites. Another new sports media offering (in the works): SI Edge, a fitness magazine with tips "from the pros" aimed at male sports fans. SI is a little behind in the emerging market for men's aesthetically oriented body mags -- Men's Health and others are already established. But there is room for more, most likely, as attitudes about men's fitness are evolving into a much more consumer-oriented model.