Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Video gaming goes for the gold

It may sound far-fetched at first thought, but in a decade when dominoes and poker are staples on ESPN and "Dodgeball" passes as a sports movie, it's not such a stretch: video gamers are lobbying that their "sport" be an exhibition at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. As video gaming becomes more popular, the idea of "cyberathlete" may become more accepted. It's likely that it won't happen -- in 2008, that is -- but there is no doubt that technology is having an impact on our changing definitions of sport.

Friday, June 23, 2006

New study, same results

A new study published by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at Central Florida and presented at the APSE convention in Las Vegas finds similar results to one conducted by our Center last year: that women and minorities continue to be marginalized in newspaper sports departments. Although coverage of the study seems to emphasize the dearth of minorities, there is a far greater disparity in the percentages of women compared to the rest of the newsroom.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Getting the big picture

Nielsen Media Research has announced that is is modernizing the way it measures how many eyeballs are on TV sets and streaming video. By the end of next year, Nielsen will have methods in place to gauge the number of viewers in bars and other public gathering places, and before then, it will start counting the viewers of online streaming video and of IPod content. These new (more accurate) ways to see what Americans watch will likely benefit the bottom line for ESPN and other sports networks, which will be able to sell more viewers to advertisers.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dreams and drama in girls' sports

A new documentary film, "Heart of the Game," looks at girls' high school sports much the way "Murderball" did for wheelchair rugby and "Hoop Dreams" did for boys' high school basketball back in 1994. "Heart of the Game" illuminates the scenario presented to female players who get pregnant -- dreams flit out of their grasp as they are often without the support they need to keep playing. Melissa Silverstein writes a thought-provoking piece about the documentary, pregnancy and women's sports on AlterNet.
For more on "Heart of the Game," listen to this NPR story.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

OLN moves pool into prime time

OLN, soon to change its name to "Versus" to more clearly position itself as a sports network, is giving the prime-time treatment to the International King of the Hill 8-Ball Shootout this summer. The event is old news -- it took place in January. But in the spirit that gave poker a strong run on ESPN and The Travel Channel, the delay in airing provides the production time to build the drama into the segment to draw viewers into a 6-week run. It's cheap for OLN -- King of the Hill involves no rights fees. ESPN and Fox Sports Net have both also run billiards competition.
Speaking of ESPN -- an aside: if you haven't already, read George Solomon's most recent column for his discussion of suggestions from ESPN staffers on ways the network needs to improve.

Friday, June 02, 2006

All the fingers on one hand

Announcements that Rachel Wilner will become sports editor at the Mercury News and that Holly Lawton was recently made sports editor at the Kansas City Star bring the total of female sports editors at metro dailies to five. (The others are in Fort Worth, Seattle and Raleigh, N.C.). According to a note on, there are 14 female sports editors at 435 of the nation's dailies.

The evolution of local sports broadcasting

Jane McManus of The Journal News writes about the struggle of local sports broadcasters to adapt to a changing market in the face of RSNs, the Internet and ESPN. McManus mentions a recent CSJ survey in which more than half of the respondents -- anchors, sports directors and reporters in the top 50 markets -- say the role of sports coverage on the local TV broadcast is diminishing.