Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Athletes: Crafting their own messages

A story published in the San Diego Union Tribune, "Sites to behold," provides a lengthy discussion of the ways athletes are using the Web to bypass traditional media, build their fan base and feed the bottom line. (A recent example, as reporter Tod Leonard points out, was Tiger Woods' use of his Web site to announce surgery on his ailing knee.)
The story includes a list of athlete and team Web sites that stay updated and offer interesting material. They include those of Curt Schilling and Pete Carroll, among others.
What is most interesting to me is what Leonard's story says about the sites of female athletes such as Maria Sharapova and Danica Patrick.. The emphasis--especially on Patrick's Web site -- seems to be far more on sex appeal than sports. Patrick's father says that the emphasis is by design; 'Eventually, she won't be racing, and we still have to keep going.' The same is true for male athletes, right? What are the strategies they use on their Web sites?
It would be interesting to see if the de-emphasis on athleticism is a theme across many of the Web sites of high-profile female athletes.

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