Sports new media conference announces return to New York City, All-Star lineup and primary sponsor and host.
New York, August 30, 2011 — HHR Media Group and Modern Hombre are proud to announce the lineup and primary sponsors of this year’s sports and new media conference, BWB4 to be held September 24 2011. The event will be present by TURF, a responsible tailgating awareness program in partnership with Charmer Sunbelt Group and Brown-Forman, and will be hosted by Bloomberg Sports at the media giant’s global headquarters in New York City.
This year’s lineup is comprised of a diverse group that includes featured panelist, NFL Player Association Assistant Executive Director of External Affairs George Atallah, competitive eating champion Takeru Kobyashi, journalists/television personalities Josh Elliott, KevinBlackistone and Jemele Hill, writers, editors and executives from some of the top online outlets including Big Lead Sports, Bleacher Report, Deadspin, SBNation, Women Talk Sports and Yahoo!; sports media journalists like SI’s Richard Deitsch, and cutting-edge digital agencies such as R/GA, Carrot Creative and Deep Focus.
In addition to the all-star lineup, this year’s BWB will feature the First Annual Untitled Sports Media Awards Project (#USMAP), an event aimed at determining the best and brightest in sports media, giving a true voice to sports fans through online and social media. Thousands of nominations were submitted for the 15 different categories that span traditional and new media platforms. Voting for the best in sports media is open to the public at Facebook.com/TurfZone until September 16th.
Confirmed participants to date:
AJ Daulerio, Deadspin
Amanda Rykoff, espnW
Amy K. Nelson, ESPN
Barry Petchesky, Deadspin
Bill Squadron, Bloomberg Sports
Chris Russo, Big Lead Sports
Dan Levy, Bleacher Report
Dan Shanoff, Quickish
David Finocchio, Bleacher Report
Dom Cosentino, Deadspin
Emma Carmichael, Deadspin
Eric Kay, CBS
George Atallah, NFLPA
Ian Schafer, Deep Focus
Ives Galarcep, Soccer by Ives/FoxSports.com
Jack Dickey, Deadspin
Jamie Mottram, Yahoo!
Jane McManus, ESPN NY
Jason McIntyre, The Big Lead
Jay Busbee, Yahoo! Sports
JE Skeets, The Basketball Jones
Jemele Hill, ESPN
Jim Cooke, Deadspin
Jimmy Traina, SI.com
Joe Favorito, FatherknickerbockerPR
Joe Fortenbaugh, NationalFootball Post
John Thornton, Retired NFL
Josh Elliott, Good Morning America
Josh Zerkle, Bleacher Report
Kathleen Hessert, Sports Media Challenge
Lang Whitaker, SLAM/The Classical
Luke O’Brien, Deadspin
Maggie Hendricks, NBCChicago/Y! Sports
Mark Pesavanto, Yahoo! Sports
Matt Sebek, Joe Sports Fan
Matt Ufford, KSK/Warming Glow
Matthew Cerrone, MetsBlog/SNY
Megan Hueter, Women Talk Sports
Michael Hall, NESN
Mike Germano, Carrot Creative
Nando DiFino, Wall Street Journal
Phil van der Vossen, GunaxinSports/Caps Outsider
Richard Deitsch, SI
Richard Ting, R/GA
Rick Liebling, Coyne
Sarah Braesch, Draft Day Suit
Tas Melas, The Basketball Jones
Tom Fant, NBAOffseason.com/Tumblr Sports
Tom Scocca, Deadspin
Tommy Craggs, Deadspin
Trei Brundrett, SB Nation
Trey Kerby, The Basketball Jones
BWB is the leading sports new media event series in the country. Our events have been attended by thousands nationwide.
BWB events have included participation and attendance from not only a wide spectrum of sport-specific websites of all sizes, but also representatives from newspapers, television and radio, and several of the most recognized national public relations, marketing and advertising firms.
BWB aims to meet three objectives:
Facilitate best practice discussions for the online sports media community
Educate companies and advertisers on how to best utilize online sports opinion influencers and how to best interact with their audiences
Provide insight and strategy for athletes, teams, leagues and their representatives who are looking to tap into emerging mediums
TURF, Tailgaters Urging Responsibility and Fun, is a responsible tailgating awareness program in partnership with The Charmer Sunbelt Group and Brown Forman. The TURF objective is to encourage responsible drinking before (tailgating) and during sporting events. For more about TURF and how you can get involved visit them at www.Facebook.com/TURFzone.
Runyan and LoBiondo campaigns featured for use of web and social media in a recent Press of Atlantic City piece:
Election campaigns in 2010 still include colorful signs, phone calls and candidates knocking on your door. But as the world grows ever more dependent on technology to communicate, politicians are following suit. Candidates in the 3rd Congressional District, as well as the 2nd, where Democrat Gary Stein is challenging Rep. Frank LoBiondo, are campaigning through Web pages, by e-mail and texting, on Internet social networks and even through tweets.
Our guest this week is is the VP of Business Development at BleacherReport.com, David Nemetz.
B/R kicked off the BwB3 experience with a bang, hosting our kickoff party with flowing Guiness at The Fifty/50. David was then a member of the Localization panel at the main event, and we expand a bit on that conversation.
Since its inception, Bleacher Report has gone through a number of tweaks and facelifts, none more significant than the recent addition of Brian Grey, formerly of Yahoo and Fox Sports, as their new CEO.
We talk with David on a number of topics pertaining to B/R’s position in the industry, its benefits to its members and where it goes next.
Zerkle astutely notes and starts a great conversation about the seemingly new approach by consumer brands and companies to partner with online outlets to create original integrated advertising.
Coincidentally, we just did that/are doing that with our myTown project!
The talk about the evolution of BwB…which also lead to Chris slipping in the fact that we’ve brought on P&G and its “Official Locker Room Products as the NFL”- including brands such as Gillette, Head & Shoulders, Old Spice and Fabreze – will be featured during BwB Saturday as the event’s title sponsor along with media partner SB Nation.
You can listen to Chris’ segment here.
For the complete episode featuring Josh and Brandon joined by Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe and The Gally Blog’s Ryan Gallivan, click here.
Today, Don joined Jonathan Santiago on the Davis Sports Deli Podcast to talk about the upcoming show in Chicago as well as give perspective on sports media present and future, and the role sports bloggers are playing in it.
You can listen to or download the interview by clicking here.
Last month, we shot a project with Bulls C/F Joakim Noah. We started in his home gym where his personal trainer Alex took us through his thoughts on making sure Noah’s body can handle the daily rigors of going toe-to-tow with the NBA’s big men, and the hows and whys his in-season and off-season workouts differ.
He gave us a tour of his house, yard and home court, before taking us over to his favorite local eatery – Woodfire Chicken – a place that serves as a right of passage for young Bulls.
Last week we spent the day in Boston where Celtics F/C Brian Scalabrine played our gracious host and showed us his favorite places and things to do in the city.
Here are some images from the video shoot.
Three primary places we hit up were the Italian restaurant Piccolo Nido on the North End (Scal’s favorite neighborhood to grab a bite), the shops on Newbury Street (which was the stage for the 2008 championship parade) and a park in Cambridge where Brian enjoys spending quality family time.
Lucas and I spent the last few days in Chicago working on a project, scouting out some venues for BwB3 and trying to take in as much of the city’s unique character that one can in such a short time window.
While most people (myself included) associate Chicago culinary specialties with pizza and hot dogs, I came to discover on Sunday night that the city takes its BBQ seriously, and everyone is loyal to their preferred joint.
On Sunday night, Mitch and I were fortunate to have been hosted by a few sports blogging locals – Sarah Spain, ChicagoNow.com‘s Jimmy Greenfield and The Heckler‘s Brad Zibung – at the Twin Anchors in the Old Town section. The place was Jimmy’s choice “since Biasetti’s closed” and he could not have picked a better place to kick off our trip. Simply put, it’s a no bullshit bar and restaurant. I went with the zesty rib/chicken combo and a couple of Bud longnecks.
Twin Anchors, 1655 North Sedgwick Street
Tweeter @harrypav let me know that the Gale Street Inn is just as good, if not better. As I said, people here take their BBQ seriously.
Lucas’ plane was two hours behind schedule, so I figured I’d try my best to soldier on and try to stay awake. Our hotel was downtown, not far from the iconic Marina City Towers. The area was littered with a mix of chains and dives. I had my eye out for the latter, and wound up at Mother Hubbard‘s near the corner of Hubbard and State. Typical sports bar – billiards, punching bag, plenty of flat screens. It’s open until 4 AM, but I don’t think I made it past midnight. Good dude behind the bar – Dennis – and a bouncer who was intent on making sure I found a place to sit.
Mother Hubbard's, 5 West Hubbard Street
Monday took us out to shoot in the suburbs, and we’ll have more on that when we get the videos cut. Back in the city, we started heading down State Street a little after 8. By chance, we ended up popping into the place that became our most memorable around 9.
When we saw the sign for the Underground Wonder Bar, we thought we found a place where we could grab a few cheap drinks before hitting the town. Once inside, we were content for the night. Our bartender Tony greeted Lucas with a “right on” when he ordered a Bulleit on ice, and hooked me up with local brewery Goose Island’s 312 Urban Wheat Ale. Tony gave us the rundown on the Wonder Bar, which was opened by his mother – local music icon Lonie Walker – and is operated by the family, which includes about 8 siblings. The venue prides itself on being “Live 365.” Tony told us the place will be closed this month for 2 days for the first time in 12 years (since an older brother is getting married in Mexico).
Underground Wonder Bar's Jordan Taggart & Lonie Walker
As Tony’s shift was ending, we decided to walk a little further down and check out the upscale Tavern on Rush. Not a terrible place, but we were both smitten with the UWB, so we paid for the over-priced drinks and headed back to where we had just come from.
Tony’s brother Jordan was now manning the ship, and picked up right where Tony had left off (Tony put in a good word for us). A musician himself who also teaches spoken word poetry, we asked Jordan to brave the wind and tells us a little more about the place and why he loves Chicago.
The “Live 365” tag is no joke. The night we were there, phenomenal guitarist and vocalist Joanna Woods held the place down during the few hours of open mic before the neo-soul/jazz duo Double Shot came on at midnight. Joanna even convinced Chris to show off his chops, sharing her Taylor acoustic with him.
Chris with Joanna Woods at Underground Wonder Bar
We could not speak highly enough of the people, patrons and atmosphere of the place if we tried.
Monday we intended to wrap up shooting some b-roll, but Mitch (who had to drop off a friend at work), took care of most of it by the time we met up with him at Millennium Park’s Cloud Gate sculpture, affectionately known to locals as “The Bean.”
We spent the morning checking up on some BwB venues in Wrigleyville.
The stadium is literally in a neighborhood. Mitch pointed out that – between the noise, the booze and the fans relieving themselves on front lawns – you simply need to love Cubs baseball to live there. As we walked through the area – the morning after the team’s home opener – evidence of the party from the day before was still present.
Without the time commitment needed for Chicago deep dish, we grabbed lunch at Murphy’s Red Hots – “Proud Member of the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame.”
Mitch got the Italian beef (wet). After numerous homophobic jokes, I still don’t think I ever got a straight (no pun intended) answer as to exactly what the local staple was.
Chris and I went with the red hots (hot dogs). Mine with everything but onions; his with everything but relish.
As we ate, the proprietor refused to put ketchup on a customer’s order.
The convo went something like this:
Owner: “We don’t do that.” Customer: “But I’m a big ketchup guy.” Owner: “Most ketchup people are.”
The owner went on to explain that when a person puts the red stuff on a hot dog, it overwhelms the meat and all you taste is the ketchup, essentially doing the dog a disservice. When prodded that mustard would do the same, the owner noted that the mustard compliments the flavor, whereas the ketchup buries it.
Murphy's Red Hot with Everything
Which brings me to a point. I thought the Chicago dog would blow me away. The problem is I didn’t realize until towards the last bite just how delicious the Vienna Beefs are. The dog I had had a seeded bun, was sprinkled with celery salt, had hot peppers, tomato, pickles, mustard, relish and a cucumber on it. I couldn’t taste the spicy, grilled dog.
Don’t get me wrong. It was great. But I think there needs to be a better science to appreciating it.
What doesn’t need a better science to appreciating is the city of Chicago. Lucas, an admitted Windy City-hater, has since been reformed, and there isn’t a better proponent for the town than Mitch. Can’t wait to get back in June for BwB.
We caught up with Celtics big man Brian Scalabrine for a highly memorable day, portions of which you’ll be able to view shortly thanks to the video documenting prowess of partners at Wondershot Productions.
In the meantime, here’s some Flip video I shot of the greatest restaurant owner ever, followed by a quick recap of the day. In the video, Pino Irano, owner of Piccolo Nido in the North End, preps to rid Celtics’ F/C Brian Scalabrine of il malocchio, while telling of his role in resurrecting the franchise by healing Coach Doc Rivers.
Loaded up CRV ZipCar and headed to Piccolo Nido at 257 North Street on the North End with Lucas and Mitch.
Lenny (who may or may not be affiliated with the restaurant) let us in and spent the duration of the shoot smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee, and egging on the owner and “entertainment” director.
Sal the “entertainment director” and Scalabrine’s rep roll up next, followed shortly after by Pino, the owner.
Pino asks if we’d like coffee and offers us a choice of Cappuccino, Espresso or Double Espresso – as he clarifies “Italian coffee.” Cappuccino is served along with bottles of Pellegrino.
After a quick conference call, we decide to slip out for a bite to eat, only to have Pino scold us about “coming to his restaurant and then going someplace else to eat.” He tells us that he will make us sandwiches, and comes out with prosciutto, mozzarella sandwiches drizzled in olive oil.
Shooting begins with an attempt to recreate the restaurant entrance scene from Goodfellas.
After some chit chat about the neighborhood and the venue, Pino launched into his spiel about how he warded off evil spirits around the Celtics that eventually lead to their championship run in 2008. He went ahead and performed a ritualistic blessing involving sage, a pouch of unknown (allegedly religious) items, salt and a kiss.
Fresh tiramisu capped off the morning, before we headed to shopping-heavy Newbury Street , where Brian was greeted repeatedly by hoots, hollers and photo requests, all of which he took in stride and happily obliged. He has a special fondness for Newbury Street, as it was part of the route for the Championship parade, and Brian recounted his impressions of that day.
In interview-like fashion, we took the car to Cambridge and talked about his radio gig, team chemistry, post-career aspirations, and how much he enjoys living in Boston and the spirit of the fans . He also dispels the perception that this year’s Celtics team is old. Rather, he asserts, it is built to peak in the playoffs.
One of Scal’s favorite things to do is spend quality time in one of the area’s many parks with his two daughters. We cap the day off at a park in Cambridge and go for a swing on the jungle gym, before e Scal ditches us for his family.
Our guest this week a award-winning journalist Amy K. Nelson. Amy covers major league baseball for ESPN.com and is part of the site’s Enterprise team. Born and raised on the north shore of Massachusetts and a graduate of Hampshire College, Amy has been covering professional sports for close to 10 years.
She writes both investigative and long-form pieces for the site, and among her recent highlights is a piece on the timeline of death of Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and a breaking news story and in-depth feature on Alex Rodriguez’s infamous cousin who allegedly provided him steroids. She also served as a moderator for ESPN’s First Take program, chatting with fans online and relaying their comments live on the show, and has appeared on SportsCenter, ESPNews, Baseball Tonight and Outside The Lines.
Amy talks about her path to ESPN, starting with her decision to forgo a career as a photo-journalist and dive head first into sports journalism. Admittedly addicted to Twitter, she describes the role social media plays in complimenting her work.
She and Chris, two card-carrying members of Red Sox Nation, talk about Boston’s prospects for the up-coming year, their thoughts on some faces familiar to Fenway – namely Nomar and Mike Lowell, and whether this is finally the breakout year for minor league superstar and major league enigma Clay Buchholz.
Finally, in one of the most groundbreaking revelations on the BwB show, Amy reveals the connection between Boof Bonser and the single greatest moment of her professional career.
We kick the show off this week with a very pointed voicemail we received from the incomparable Softball Guy, who was not all that thrilled with our guest selection this week: Matt Sebek from our podcasting partners JoeSportsFan.com.
Long before partnering up on the Internets waves, JoeSportsFan was a everyday read for HHR.
Matt’s experience as an online programmer has helped take the site’s brand to a new level of online media that includes blogging, and the incorporation of both audio and video.
About a month ago, JSF launched JoeSportsFanSTL.com which focuses on sports in the site’s home town of St. Louis, and puts out a weekly Basketball Jones-esq video segment covering the latest hot topics surrounding the city’s teams and athletes in the offbeat tone JSF fans have come to know and love.
The city-centric, or “hyper-local,” approach to online sports coverage is one we have been keeping a close eye on leading up to BwB3 in light of national companies like ESPN and Comcast, and regional ones like NESN and SNY going full force into blogging and multimedia/online platforms. We talk about how this could affect team and city-based sites, including the new JSF STL.
The guys that run the site have also dabbled in AM radio, and Matt talks about the advantages to working online as opposed to the terrestrial waves.
For any aspiring podcasters, and those bloggers looking to attempt video, this week is a must listen, as Matt let’s you know from his experience what steps you can take to make your show(s) better and differentiate them from the field that is rapidly saturating.
Today, RunyanForCongress.com went live a day after the campaign’s Facebook and Twitter accounts launched. The site incorporates a visually appealing front end, user-friendly back-end and plenty of integration possiblities for not only social media community building, but also audio, video and picture distribution as the campaign readies for its next phase following tomorrow’s formal announcement.
HHR is proud to have worked with Sebek Media in creating a non-traditional political site for a non-traditional political candidate.
When in Vegas for BwB 2.0, we stopped by Cirque du Soleil to see and interview some of the amazing athletes that Vegas has to offer. We got a chance to speak with Mathieu Bolillo, a former French gymnastic champion who now performs with Cirque du Soleil. Here Mathieu gives an inside view of what it takes to perform at this new level for almost 20,000 people a week.
We are joined this week by the “World’s Greatest Chinese Jew,” non-Eskimo Ben Koo.
A bucknuts.com blogger and the former Business Development Manager at Yardbarker, Ben is now the CEO of Bloguin.com, a blog network founded in 2009 that now boasts over 130 sites and 800k+ views/day.
With his background as a blogger, advertising point man and now network exec, Ben is able to provide a wide perspective on many areas of the industry.
A quote that I think is worth repeating is one that we haven’t heard in such a frank and concise manner:
“There’s this misconception with sports blogs that there are media buyers or people looking to purchase advertising…going across the web and reading articles looking for the best writer to sponsor…but the reality is that there needs to be a certain reach that gets them excited that meets their needs and it could be in the millions or hundreds of thousands…”
Ben talks about Bloguin and what sets it apart from networks like FanSided and SB Nation, but notes how the real competition isn’t the other online networks like these, but rather the traditional media outlets.
HHRMG was happy to have assisted in updating Congressman Frank LoBiondo’s campaign website to create ahub for online avenues of content distribution, including social media, audio, video and photo sites.
The previous design (See Below) had not been updated in a few years. We sought to use current web design trends with a user-friendly WordPress back-end to enable easy editing, and frequent incorporation of content, freshness and interactivity.
Our guest this week is Phil from the multifaceted men’s website Gunaxin.com.
Phil has been a longtime friend of HHR and, more so, the Blogs With Balls conferences, having attended and been vocal at both the New York and Vegas shows.
In Vegas, we had a great panel conversation on whether or not bloggers should be granted the same access and treatment that teams and leagues afford traditional media and journalists. On that panel, Yahoo!’s Puck Daddy Greg Wyshynski – among the most high profile and respected hockey bloggers on the web – brought up the fact that the NHL has embraced new media to circumvent the lack of coverage MSM has allotted the sport. Specifically, the Washington Capitals, thanks in large part to their new-media savvy owner, is regarded as one of the most progressive franchises in terms of blogger credentialing. Phil, who blogs at the Fansided Caps blog Capitals Outsider, is among those select few sports bloggers in any sport that covers games from the press box.
Recently, his actions in the press area drew the attention and criticism from the Internets, the team and even Wyshinski…actions that eventually lead to his suspension from the press box.
With almost 3 weeks to digest the incident, Phil reflects on his actions, the reactions, and the hypocritical treatment in relation to his Verizon Center nemesis Mike Milbury.
Moving on to Gunaxin, Phil talks about how his unique background has aided in positioning the site among the fastest growing men’s general interest sites, how and why the Gunaxin decided to dabble in podcasting, and its recent launch of Gunaxin Links – a direct and men’s focused alternative to Reddit.
A recurring theme is Phil’s appreciation for the online community. He credits folks he met at BwB (Dan Levy, Matt Sebek and Gary Vaynerchuk) as being influential in Gunaxin moving into many of the areas it has, and credits the conference itself as helping facilitate some of the A-list guests they’ve gotten to interview.
Welcome to the “man” episode. We focus on “things guys like” with Guyism.com and chat with the incomparable Sarah Spain.
Lucas is away this week in sunny Hawaii, so filling in once again is Chris Illuminati. Combining Illuminati’s new segment at HHR with Lucas’ Ballsy Blog of the Week, we bring on Guyism.com‘s Isaac to answer 8 Softball Questions.
What happened to the World of Isaac?
Why do women read men’s sites?
Why do people get so worked up over internet articles?
What Internet trend will he never understand?
Who epitomizes Guyism.com?
What’s more unmanly than creating Internet viruses?
How unmanly are staged wedding party pictures?
What is something every man needs?
Keeping with our theme, Chicago’s own Sarah Spain joins us. Four years removed from auctioning herself off on eBay to get to the Super Bowl, Sarah is now rubbing elbows on the red carpet at the big game with NFL legends in a journalistic capacity.
Sarah has been our eyes and ears on the ground in the planning process of BwB3, and really epitomizes a lot of things we intend to focus on in June.
One thing we’ve worked hard on incorporating is a more diverse perspective at the shows. Among them is having more women participate. Like previous guest Jemele Hill, Sarah talks about the role her gender plays as a sports blogger and journalist. Ivy league educated, she talks about how she balances being a woman in a male-dominated genre with her talent, background and work product. She offers her advice to female bloggers and talks about what they can expect along their respective paths, which could include a couple of creeps and stunts like this:
Sarah also has worked in various platforms including web, radio and now television – both locally and for national companies. She also talks about the professional advantages of online accessibility and social media.
In lieu of Skyped Up, as the queen of Chicago sports, we put her on the spot and ask us to talk about some of her favorite Windy City team-specific blogs and bloggers.
Lucas has long been an advocate that the future of sports blogging lies in content producers adopting more than just the written word and dabbling in audio and video. We kick off the week talking a little about some folks who do the latter quite well.
Our ballsy blog of the week belongs to our good friends at The Global Sports Fraternity who did an absolute phenomenal job creating original, entertaining content at the Super Bowl in Miami.
Most notably, GSF’s Henry Lowenfels gave Lions QB Matt Stafford the business at the Gatorade Fitness Lab.
Best is the co-founder (with his brother Zach, a web designer) and senior editor of the FanSided.com sports network as well as the site that launched the network, Arrowhead Addict.
What sets FanSided apart from its competitors is the family-like business approach that Adam has taken to advancing it. Adam talks about the progression from blogging on his Chiefs site to creating the original make-up of FanSided as an NFL blog network to one encompassing multi-sports and housing 135 different sites. He taps into the importance of forging strategic partnerships, like he has with Yardbarker.com/Fox Sports and CBS Sports.
While everyone’s looking at staying ahead of the curve and taking advantage of the “next big thing” to market themselves or their products, we bring on two people who have been cashing in on the first big thing – email.
We are joined by “the third head of the Blogs With Balls three-headed monster,” Kyle Bunch. Kyle aggregates his Daily Bunch right into subscribers’ inboxes. We ask him the hows and the whys.
While we have him on, we thought what better time than to finally let people know the venue of BwB 3. You’ll have to listen to find out.
Our guest this week is Aaron Karo. You might remember getting “Ruminations” emails at some point over the course of the last dozen or so years. Hell, you might still get them.
With the success of his electronically disseminated tales of college, Karo was able to forgo his Wall Street career in favor of one on the road (and rich in adventure) as a standup comedian, author and a business-owner whose product is himself.
Ruminations is now in book form (“…on College” and “…on Twentysomething Life“). He has another book now out “not intended for married people” – I’m Having More Fun Than You. You can also find his comedy album “Just go Talk to Her” on iTunes – recorded live in Boston on the night before Chris’ single worst hangover, ever.
We talk a little about sports and a lot about his online marketing strategy and tools and multi-platform approach.
Today marks the triumphant return of the Ballsy Blog of the Week, which fittingly goes to the quartet of Chad Ochocinco, Chris Cooley, Ray Rice and Darnell Docket for their unprecedented news team coverage along with Jake & Amir during Super Bowl week. we highlight it for the fact that not only is the group (collectively known as the OCNN News Team) downright hilarious, but the project’s sponsor – Motoblur – does an amazing job integrating their product into the viral videos in a manner that compliments, rather than takes away, from the videos’ entertainment value.
I have seen the future. Take note, advertisers.
Staying in Miami, we bring on on-location guest Joe Fortenbaugh of National Football Post to talk Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, trade rumors, McNabb/Favre speculation and how the site and its unique staff have quickly become an inside source for pro football news, analysis and insight.
Prior to joining on with NFP full-time and focusing on fantasy football posts, Joe worked as an NFL agent at JB Sports for three years while earning his degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego.
Christopher Byrne, one of the foremost watchdogs on sports journalism at Eye on Sports Mediabestowed this beautiful etrophy upon us today along with a very flattering write-up on his site.
When I started blogging as part of the IBM Lotus Software community back in late 2002, I was immediately part of a group of people that understood (and still understands) the inherent value of community building and collaboration. In many ways this is unusual among blogosphere genres, and the sports blogosphere has been no exception. That is, until someone came up with a great idea to bring sports bloggers and mainstream media professionals together to meet, greet, debate, and exchange ideas.
Shifting gears from NFL playoff and Super Bowl talk, we bring on guest Lang Whitaker, executive editor at SLAM Magazine, columnist at Hawks.com and author of a forthcoming memoir on Bobby Cox and growing up a Braves fan.
Lang talks about the unique relationship the magazine was able to develop with the NBA’s biggest stars and teams.
As someone who dabbles and excels in and on so many platforms, Lang brings insight to how writing in general is affected by the immediacy of the Internet age:
“The more you write online, the better a writer it makes you. You learn to deal with immediate reactions from people. You understand what the audience looks for in stories…But at the same time, I learned a long time ago you cant 100% give in to what people want you to do. At some point you stay true to yourself and you hope the audience likes what you’re doing.”
Keep an eye out for Searching for Bobby Cox, due out February 2011, which is a Julie and Julia-esq memoir of lessons Lang’s “learned about life by watching Bobby Cox managing the Braves.”
Steve Nash graces the cover of this month’s issue of Fast Company magazine.
The accompanying story focuses on Nash transforming his public image from a reluctant sports superstar who once shunned public light and endorsement oportunities to one who now embraces the spotlight and the subsequent philanthropic benefit he can garner from it.
Photo Credit: Patrik Giardino
His willingness to transform came from his realization that he needs to prep for a life after basketball – one in which he hopes he can make a real difference in the world. A large part of his new carefully-crafted public persona comes from his ability to maintain control of his assets by using his own concepts (and production team) and leveraging new technology.
While Nash says in the article, that these days professional athletes “think of themselves as a brand, but that’s not my way of thinking,” ultimately it is his personal brand that he is honing to both personal and public benefit.
His newest startup, Apoko, grew out of his affinity for social media. On Facebook, where he has nearly 600,000 fans (more than 100,000 people follow him on Twitter), he shares videos of himself — playing a pickup game in China with locals; hanging out on the set of Katherine Heigl’s next movie, Life As We Know It (he has a cameo); and sweating through Whitecaps training. While playing a charity game, he and the Clippers’ Baron Davis discovered a mutual interest in film, which led to their making a spoof of Will Ferrell’s Step Brothers. The video attracted more than 600,000 views on YouTube. As two of the most Web-savvy NBA players, they decided to help other athletes market themselves online. “We’ll help them build a fan base and create content,” Nash says. “That’s the hard part for players.”
That “hard part,” whether Nash will admit it, is only as strong as individual branding. Were Nash (and Davis) not the commodity that they are, it’d be difficult to gain an upward of half-a-million online fans to opt-in to the athlete’s social media space.
Nash’s reflectance is ultimately part of his appeal – a stark contrast to the egotistical world of sports we know.
The mode could very well serve as a blueprint for athletes in years to come.
Yesterday Chris was on former Danny (“Partridge”) Bonaduce’s FM morning drive show on 94.1 WYSP in Philly.
8:00 – The author of ‘A******ology: The Science Behind Getting Your Way – and Getting Away with it’, Chris Illuminati is in the studio. There are many different types of A’s. The bartender is the most important person in the bar; if you give them attitude then you’re done for the night, so they have the power. A good A will get served before a nice guy because he’s ambitious enough to get quicker service. Danny’s that guy. Nice. Chris’s least favorite A is the one that crosses the line to D-Bag. An example is Spencer Pratt. He has no redeeming qualities. Where do the boys from MTV’s Jersey Shore? The jury is still out on these guys. Some are calculated and understood what the show is about. The biggest A athlete? It was Kobe, but became Tiger Woods. Tiger went from an A to a D-Bag in a week. He was in control, focused, and popular. He evolved into a D-Bag for using his friends to pick up girls and pay them. Is Danny’s boss an A? Yes! But Danny’s non-committal as to which one of his nine bosses it is.
This week we focus on sports fans and are joined by not one, but two very special guests.
First, we talk with Hollywood royalty – actor Scott Caan, son of James and admittedly most known for his roll as Tweeder in Varsity Blues. (This is actually the second person from the film we have had on the show, having talked with director Mike Tollin back in October).
Scott is one of the official spokespeople for Monster.com’s NFL Fandemonium initiative.
For the second year, “Monster and the NFL have teamed to find the DOF, this year expanding the promotion to allow fans to participate in deciding who becomes the next Director of Fandemonium. The DOF promotion inspires the most zealous football fans to compete for the dream “job” of serving as a fan ambassador for Monster and the NFL with special access at a series of marquee events throughout the 2010 NFL season.”
The events in which the new DOF will have the opportunity to play a key role include:
NFL Draft: Announce a pick at the 2010 NFL Draft (April 2010)
NFL Kickoff: Act as backstage talent wrangler at the 2010 NFL Kickoff concert (September 2010)
NFL International Series: Participate in on-field introductions at the 2010 International Series Game (October 2010)
NFL Thanksgiving: Serve as an on-field broadcast liaison for the NFL Network 2010 Thanksgiving Game (November 2010)
NFL Super Bowl: Join the coin toss ceremony at Super Bowl XLV (February 2011)
NFL Pro Bowl: Select a play from the sidelines during the 2010 Pro Bowl (January/February 2011)
Publish blog posts on NFL.com and meet with top NFL executives
We talk with Scott about his involvement with the program, his career and his own athletic upbringing.
Next we are joined by former Clinton White House, Congress staffer David Goodfriend who heads up the bi-partisan sports fan advocacy group, Sports Fan Coalition (SFC). The SFC is the American sports fan’s advocate in the Washington, D.C. public policy arena and around the country for a fair return to the fans for public resources used in sports; and fair access to sporting events at the game and in the media.
With David we talk about how and why it started, what its focus is, and of whom is it comprised. We also discuss specific issues the coalition is addressing including the Comcast/NBC merger and blackouts, specifically in regard to how these things directly affect fan and whether the Coalition (as an extension of fans themselves) have real power in affecting the outcome of business decisions and public policy.
Goodfriend is also co-host of “Left Jab” on XM Satellite Radio and was a co-founder and EVP/General Counsel of Air America Radio.
Without further ado, we finally tip our hand and offer a few details on the location and time for Blogs With Balls 3.0. Listen to the podcast to find out where and when, and sign up for more information on the BwB Site.
The book makes its official release on January 19, so go get yourself one.
This week’s guest is John Christie, who serves in the dual role of EVP of Content Partnership with XOS Digital and as General Manager of the SEC Digital Network.
The company and conference made waves last summer when the New York Times ran a piece that highlighted their seemingly restrictive policy that made it difficult for bloggers and fans alike to share and distribute SEC content.
Since that time, we’ve followed the SEC’s progression and the role XOS has played in it on the Blogs With Balls blog, and have also maintained a steady and honest dialect with the company’s representatives. We also conferred with some top college football bloggers to get their thoughts. Most noted the lack of functionality and embeddablity of video and accused the SEC as serving as a clearinghouse, and hoarding and filtering content.
While the SEC’s policy may not be at the level bloggers would like to see it, John indicates that it is constantly evolving and they are taking feedback seriously.
A first step they say is the recent availability of the SEC Digital Video Widget. Christie tells us about what the widget entails and specifically if and how it might address these previous blogger criticisms.
We appreciate his willingness to address bloggers’ concerns head-on, and we came away with better understanding of both why and how the policies are being implemented.
“It was never about keeping the content from the fans. It was about developing that comprehensive strategy to get it out there to the fans through all these different mechanisms.”
TBL’s combination of news, opinion, media oversight and pop culture has enabled Jason to position it as one of the most popular independent sports blogs on the web, and parlay it into a full-time career – with a little help from the likes of Jason Whitlock and Colin Cowherd.
He talks about the site’s creation and growth, his personal background and the role it’s played in TBL’s success, and addresses the online tit-for-tat that comes with its success.
In a nod to the site’s marriage of sports and entertainment, we’ve Skyped him up with “Name that Celebrathlete.”
Our guest this week is ESPN.com columnist, First Take regular and Twitter superstar Jemele Hill.
Known for her frankness, online accessibility and iron-clad stomach that puts up with Skip Bayless on a regular basis, we ask her about all three of those things, as well as her climb up the professional ladder, the hurdles of being a female sports journalist in a male-dominated environment and get her take on the “best of 2009.”
She names-names on her daily blog reads and favorite Tweeters. A Motor City native and a diehard Tigs fan, we Skype her up with “Name that Tiger.”
Jason Peck did a phenomenal job putting together a group of bright minds and assembling a must-read e-book about sports and social media for the coming year. We were honored to be asked to contribute and ask that you take a look and give some feedback.
2009 has been a breakout year for sports and social media. Athletes, teams, leagues, coaches, media and sponsors have finally started to take note of how social media impacts sports and fans. There have been some really great executions and ideas as well as some missteps.
It is my pleasure to present the ebook, Sports and Social Media Predictions 2010, which features 16 smart people and thought-leaders who have graciously shared their opinions, thoughts and predictions for sports and social media in 2010.
Lucas is South of the border this week, so we get a pinch hit from HHR co-founder @ChrisIlluminati.
Chris has a harem of sites that we talk about, but also will soon be a published author with his NSFW-titled A**holeology that’s due out in January.
Our guest is MetsBlog.com‘s Matthew Cerrone. Matthew is a full-time blogger who, despite an advertising agreement between the site and the New York sports cable station SNY, fully owns his product with complete editorial control over content.
Cerrone talks about how he was able to turn what started as a hobby and a way to follow his team when living out of market into his full-time job. We also talk about the Mets’ prospects for this coming season and their focus during the current Winter Meetings.
This isn’t ‘Nam. This is bowling. There are rules.
True to his word, Chris found a blog with (16 lb.) balls – The BM Report – a bowling blog that isn’t overly-saturated with Big Lebowski references and is actually informative.
Sadly, he doesn’t drop any “Donny” quotes on me.
We have an awesome guest this week – FanHouse.com‘s Kevin Blackistone.
In addition to being a national columnist and commentator at FanHouse, he is a regular panelist on ESPN’s “Around The Horn,” is a former award-winning sports columnist for The Dallas Morning News, and is the Shirley Povich Chair in Sports Journalism at the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland.
We come out of the chute getting KB’s take on the Tiger PR fiasco, and also talk about his perspective on the changing sports journalism landscape and how it has affected not only those currently in the field, but how the next generation of reporters has to prepare for it.
Beginning yesterday, the Federal Trade Commission began a two-day workshop “to examine the profound challenges facing media companies and explore ways the government can help them survive.”
Among the options being discussed: tax law changes that would allow media companies to earn tax credits or become tax-exempt entities, and copyright law changes that would force search engines and other online aggregrators to compensate media companies for the content they produce.
This month’s Fast Company cover story spotlights the evolution of Ashton Kutcher into the “Next New-Media Mogul.”
It’s no secret that Kutcher has utilized social media to raise his personal brand and profile. What’s more revealing in the story is how he’s taken that experience and leveraged it into a business. He’s now passing this know-how to the benefit of an impressive and growing clientele. (Not much different than what @garyvee‘s done at Vayner Media).
The Katalyst HQ series illuminates what Kutcher’s production company wants to become: not just a home for his television and movie projects but also a go-to source for brands looking to deploy what’s called “influencer marketing,” a squishy hybrid of entertainment content, advertising, and online conversation that finds its audience via video, animation, Twitter, blogs, texts, and mobile.
This multi-platform approach is one that sports bloggers, and sports media in general, is playing catch-up on. Putting aside the MSM outlets, many bloggers have established themselves a name and a brand, but are limiting themselves to one-dimensional content. If bloggers hope to not only be more relevant and legitimate, but also profitable, the key in the immediate future is leveraging the equity they’ve already established for themselves, and building on any and all successes, regardless of size.
To do so requires vision and, frankly, the courage to just do it.
We get a very interesting perspective on sports and media from author, producer, columnist, speaker and professor Dave Hollander. After going from music promotion to interviewing various legendary sports figures (whom we quiz him on in Skyped Up) and compiling the conversations in 52 Weeks: Interviews with Champions!, Hollander has been a columnist for AOL Sports, The Huffington Post, SI.com, New York Press, Interview and Penthouse (among others).
He is also an adjunct professor at the New York University Tisch Center for Sports Management, where he teaches a graduate course on Sports Management that “focuses on the marketing concepts and strategies involved in developing and implementing initiatives for sports and leisure products” with emphasis “placed on positioning, programming sub-strategy, distribution, pricing strategies, regional sports networks, managing media, the Internet, building relevance for younger generations, and the unique nature of non-profit marketing.”
It’s a very candid conversation on what journalism as a whole has become and an uncensored look at online media from someone who has both practiced in the medium and teaches about its relationship to marketing.
If you doubt that Blogs With Balls has been ahead of the curve in addressing the relationship between sports new media and marketers, Reuters sports business journalist Ben Klayman wrote a piece last week echoing much of the sentiment we are hearing from various parties at our conferences (U.S. sports to social media: show me the money!). Not only are two of our speakers/sponsors quoted, but the topics are not much different than those we’ve addressed the last few months on our podcast.
From the article:
U.S. sports leagues, corporate sponsors and media companies can score big points by using social media and are racing to create accounts on Facebook, MySpace and Twitter for fans.
Those social networks help businesses in the sports world build stronger ties with consumers, and the connections made by leagues can help them in ways that can pay off.
Dan Opallo, the NBA’s marketing director stated, “We decided as a league rather than putting all our efforts to wrestle (fans) away from these social media platforms and get them over to NBA.com, we want to give them an experience on both.”
You may recall the Sacramento Kings’ Mitch Germann telling us something similar back in September regarding their outreach to blogs, ““We have just recognized through observing this space that there’s some blogs in Sacramento that work hard and that cover the team…There’s a lot of interaction, there’s a lot of comments, a lot of fans are loyal to those sites and really as an organization our philosophy is that we want to be where our fans are We don’t expect to hold everyone hostage and make everyone come to Kings.com for what they want.”
The article is a great read and gives credence to what Blogs With Balls is all about.
Bill Simmons had a book signing in Beaverton, Oregon last night, and a reader who attended wrote in that he “overheard” ESPN’s Sports Guy telling a fan that he was “suspended from tweeting for two weeks” and that all he was allowed to tweet about was his book tour. We went to the usually-forthcoming Simmons this morning, and here was his response: “no commento.”
We’ve been sifting through Simmons’ twitter to try and understand what ESPN could possibly have “suspended” him for, and we’ve got nothing. Digs at Dan Dierdorf? Gambling? A boobs reference to Paranormal Activity? It all seems pretty docile, unless ESPN is upset that Simmons aggressively attacks (deservedly, in our opinion) the ineptness of Mike Dunleavy.
We have internal guidelines designed to inform how we discuss the topic of sports media. These guidelines are important us, because they help maintain the credibility with which ESPN operates.
No one knows the guidelines better than Bill Simmons, and he customarily works within these standards. He also understands, as does everyone else at ESPN, that we regard these guidelines as being equally important when participating in social media.
While it’s unfortunate — and sometimes painful — that not everyone outside of ESPN chooses to play by such rules, we choose to hold ourselves to higher standards. Regardless of the provocation, Bill’s communication regarding WEEI fell short of those standards. So we’ve taken appropriate measures.
While the suspension is short of a canning, in October we asked King, “What does Bill Simmons have to do to get fired?” and talked about his “pushing the line” of with company’s policies. The answer was similar to his blog post. Frankly, Simmons, because of his importance to the company, is given a lot of leeway. That said, King gives him that leeway with the understanding that Simmons knows his limits, and “has his trust.”
You should remember him for the fantastic work he puts out on RedsArmy.com.
Reds Army is continually evolving and bettering itself and has become a standard-bearer for team-oriented sites. In addition to posts, John and cohort Chuck “talk Celtics, the NBA, and whatever else come to mind” on Blog Talk Radio’s The Two-Man Game, and John is 1/8 of the The 8th Seed Podcast.
This week we dig into a big issue always on the minds of sports bloggers – monetization.
We talk with Rich Gallagher, Senior Account Executive for Digital & Emerging Media at Taylor, a “sports, lifestyle and entertainment public relations firm” that has been very active in engaging sports blogs in promoting its clients.
One of those brands – Diageo Liquors (whose portfolio includes Guinness, Captain Morgan and Cuervo) was an early and energetic part of both or our Blogs With Balls events. We talk about what the brands are looking for in online partners, how they see the value in events like BwB, and we touch a little on the FTC’s new online disclosure guidelines.
Rich shows just how forward-thinking some brands and firms can be in embracing online media.
For a few months now, the NFL has been trying to figure out how to corral its players online and develop a social media policy. Their formal stance, announced in August, allows for players to express themselves before and after games, “The NFL said Monday it will allow players to use social media networks this season, but not during games. Players, coaches and football operations personnel can use Twitter, Facebook and other social media up to 90 minutes before kickoff, and after the game following traditional media interviews.”
Today, the NFL Player Development Department released a series of “official” lists of Twitter accounts for League personalities:
Jeff Brunelle of Carrot Creative, who consulted on the creation of the account, noted, “We were able to pinpoint usernames of all the players using Twitter (still adding to the list too) and it offers fans a way to easily monitor what players are saying throughout the day. NFL PD will add to the list as they hear of more players joining Twitter.”
Often, sports bloggers struggle to balance credibility and anonymity. Many lead normal, everyday lives, independent of journalistic aspirations and are unapologetic about their “Joe Sports Fan” approach to sports prognostication and analysis. Many, like Midwest Sports Fans‘ Jerod Morris, argue that their writings are merely an extension of conversations amongst friends, be it on fantasy league message boards or in sports bars across the country.
When I was asked recently when speaking at NYU Sports Management Masters Program’s Consumer Behavior in Sports class whether bloggers can be taken seriously when writing under assumed names, I noted that it really comes down to what the respective bloggers’ aspirations are. Many, like KSK‘s Matt Ufford and Mike Tunison (and others), are, in fact, journalists (or aspiring journalists) who use the online platform as another outlet to simply do what they loved – write about sports. Tunison’s dismissal from the Washington Post when his identity as Christmas Ape was revealed, probably scared a good majority of anonymous bloggers out there.
When students asked why there is an attraction from sports fans to blogs, I noted the idea that it is an unfiltered medium where often writers can write what they see as relevant truths without having to worry about repercussions from athletes, leagues, teams and even the government – and readers appreciate that. This prompted a question by the professor as to whether the Internet, namely blogs, should be regulated.
I cited a conversation I had with FTC Commissioner Orson Swindle (not Spencer Hall) in 2000, at the height of Internet commerce about the government regulating online business practices including privacy. Swindle noted a few things that stuck out to me – 1. The fact that the Internet was still relatively in its infancy and, as such, any policy or guidelines would have to be rapidly altered as technology evolved; and 2. Those engaged in unsavory practices would not stand much a chance in succeeding in that they would quickly be exposed in a very public and negative light, and smart consumers would quickly abandon them for more reputable sites and businesses. As such, an initial solution was self-regulation spearheaded by industry experts.
The article told of the outing of a popular anonymous economic blogger in South Korea who was arrested and accused of instigating fear in the country’s markets and costing the government $2.2 billion, despite the fact that most of his prophesies were dead-on accurate. The interesting tid-bit was the fact that the author was a self-educated “economist” with no formal advanced training on the subject. Sounds a lot like anonymous, amateur sports bloggers “posing” as journalists, doesn’t it?
What really struck me in the article, however, was the historical comparison to anonymous pontificating.
Anonymous Internet posters are often denounced as hit-and-run artists who intimidate the polite and the sincere. Indeed, online spaces that are rich in anonymity and poor in moderation risk devolving into a cesspool of trolls, flacks, and flame warriors. But here and there, the Internet elevates anonymous voices who speak unvarnished truths that would have gone unrecognized had they appeared below their authors’ real names. Zero Hedge’s Tyler Durden, TheFunded’s (formerly anonymous) Adeo Ressi, and the irascible Bike Snob NYC are all credits to the equalizing power of anonymity.
This phenomenon predates the Internet by centuries. In 16th-century England, a band of heretics moved an illegal printing press around the countryside, publishing a series of anticlerical pamphlets under the name Martin Marprelate. In Rome around the same time, the Italian public took to criticizing the powerful in long, humorous, unsigned verse, surreptitiously slapped up on the base of a statue in the Piazza Pasquino, a tradition that continues to this day. Two hundred years later, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison aired early arguments for the founding of the US in the Federalist papers under the handle Publius. The last time the US fell under a Minerva-scale pseudonymous sensation was in 1996, when Joe Klein’s Primary Colors — a novel signed Anonymous — satirized the presidential campaign of Bill Clinton (in the guise of silver-tongued governor Jack Stanton). The narrator nailed such particulars as Clinton’s “furrowed brow, pouty-mouthed, elementary-school-penitent look.” The book sold about 3 million copies.
Park updated this tradition for the Internet, where archival facts are available on demand, the stream of international news never stops, and sites like Wikileaks and Cryptome make anonymity available to anyone with an ax to grind, a secret to share, or a document to leak. Like the pamphleteers of earlier days, Minerva established himself as a consistent character on the public stage. His writing was distinctive enough for readers to feel they knew him, while the vagueness of his identity allowed them to idealize him as a sage who would guide them through the crisis. The Minerva case is a reminder that anonymity has uses beyond the incognito bashing of enemies. A carefully crafted pseudonymous voice can seem to come from a hidden spring of wisdom — enunciating what everyone wants to hear and what no one is willing to say. But the illusion is fragile. When the person behind the name is revealed, everything comes crashing down.
“When the person behind the name is revealed, everything comes crashing down.” This may be the case when dealing with national economies, but in the sports sphere this isn’t necessarily the case. With Tunison, while he was fired from the Post, his site remains among the most popular among fans, and he was able to parlay his recognition into a book deal.
Occasionally, a writer can export his credibility from his online persona to his real one. In early 2008, Nate Silver had a double identity, analyzing baseball statistics under his real name and polling data under the handle Poblano. When Poblano’s predictions began to gain a following, he revealed himself, noting, “It just ain’t very professional to keep referring to yourself as a chili pepper.” Soon his FiveThirtyEight became one of the most prominent political blogs in the US.
Silver, the great exception, took control of his own outing, never lying to the public about his true identity and possessing real credentials to back up his virtual authority. His pseudonymity worked as marketing, but the world probably would have paid attention had he written under his own name. Park, on the other hand, was totally dependent on being unknown.
At their heart, most pseudonymous identities are collaborations between the author, who provides the outline of a persona, and the audience, which fills in the blanks. The result is a sort of virtual superhero, an oracle more accurate than any mortal could hope to be. Compared to the elusive mastermind of the collective imagination, the real author inevitably disappoints.
In summary, there is a relevance to anonymous blogging in advancing conversation that is already happening that might be ignored by the “mainstream media.” There is also a reminder to anonymous bloggers that the more popular they become, the more the public will clamor to discover the “man behind the mask” – for better or for worse, and, thus, posting in public and often popular forums should come with the understanding that eventually the author could be expected (or insisted upon) to own up to their words in a public manner.
Note this date and time in the journalism world when the New York Times devotes a second feature in two weeks to a writer who made his name on the Internet. For the second straight week the Times covered Bill Simmons, well known sports writer for ESPN.com, as he wrapped up his book tour promoting his latest work, “The Book Of Basketball.”
First, no disrespect to the Times as they have a tremendous internet platform and have fully embraced technology with interactive graphics, videos, and writers tweeting away. That said, when looking across the journalistic landscape, the Internet still seems like a newborn compared to the history of the New York Times. “All The News Fit To Print” was likely coined without the slightest vision of html.
What is interesting in the grand scheme of the advancement of the Internet and sports media is that the almighty entity that is the Times devotes a few graphs of their publication to a writer who all but bypassed the traditional old guard of journalism, the newspaper. I wonder if because a book had been written, some traction was gained for Simmons to be covered by the Times, but I suspect it’s more of just the phenomenon that this writer has become.
While portions of the recent Blogs with Balls conference delved into access for bloggers and reading between the lines (and respect for the work of internet-only journalists), Simmons is perhaps the conquering hero of the group who hasn’t needed a press pass to get the job done. Without recycling what the article in the New York Times said, he has given the ultimate everyman fan experience to writing, something I’d imagine a lot of bloggers resonate with and might cite in their top three reasons for starting a blog in the first place.
From endless lists to pop culture comparisons, it’s a style of writing that really isn’t meant for the newspapers anyway. However, you can’t argue with results. A Shaq-esque following on twitter with close to 1 million follows and a mail bag that would make Santa Claus blush, clearly this internet writer is filling a huge void. Coverage like this should give confidence and credence to other bloggers that plowing away at what you love, even though it may seem fruitless initially, can actually get you somewhere. The Internet is only advancing. It wasn’t that long ago when people used the Internet as a launch pad to a place like the Times, and now you may find staff writers from that paper seeing how far they can spread their wings on the web. It is definitely a changing time.
One last thought that comes from this article in relation to bloggers and a point that was perhaps overlooked in some sessions of Blogs with Balls. At the end of the day, you still have to be able to write. This is no coronation of myself – as the Cadillac has had his share of posts with typos and errors that would give an English teacher angina – but it’s the root of the whole thing. Clamor for the access, the recognition, the ad money, the click-thoughs, the networks and all the rest, but save for a few hot photos, if the writing is not there, it will become evident rather quickly. That’s what gets lost on Simmons. The guy can write and he has a sense of humor. And that is what keeps people coming back. So credit to Bill Simmons for kicking in a door to sports journalism that wasn’t there and now having the ability to look out over an empire of readers.
Contrary to what’s often said, I don’t think the key to success is simply producing good content. Sports bloggers need to understand the distribution landscape and how they can best benefit from it. For small bloggers, being part of a network may be important. But whether your blog is in a network or not, if you’re trying to make money, you need to be business-oriented. It doesn’t matter if you produce serious analytical posts or silly photoshops. Being business-oriented is important for each blogger individually and for all of us as a group.
You can check out each of the posts in the series here:
This week, 24/7 Wall St. released its latest edition of the Twenty Five Most Valuable Blogs:
All of the blogs analyzed here are private companies. Blogs owned by larger firms are not measured. Blogs used primarily as fronts for other businesses have also been excluded. Some of the blogs on the list have raised VC money and those sums can be used as guidelines if they are disclosed. The only worthwhile value is what an acquirer will pay, so any estimate needs to take into account the value the blog may have to an outside buyer.
While Deadspin could be lumped into the most valuable “blog” – Gawker Properties, SB Nation is the only sports-specific blog/network to crack the list:
14. SB Nation Network. $8 million. The company has a network of about 200 relatively small sites across all major sports. The network has 4 million unique visitors. SB Nation has about twenty employees. The sites are a page view machine but the advertising is low quality. Total revenue of $2 million with very modest margins.
Making its triumphant return along with us is the Ballsy Blog of the Week. This week we profile FanDuel.com. While not a blog, per se, the site definitely has a set of stones.
Somehow managing to get itself (and more specifically – fantasy sports as a whole) classified as games of chance rather than gambling, the site allows users to win cash money doing what guys do anyway – playing fantasy sports.
What’s more, is you don’t have to wait (or even play) an entire season for a payout – you pay to play by the game.
First, pick your fantasy team based on which players you think will score the most fantasy league points during the upcoming NFL or MLB games (MLB games are daily and NFL are weekly)…Once you’ve picked your players you should order your draft by clicking on each player and dragging it into position. Then you order your selection ready for the competitive draft with your opponent. [Note: NBA & NHL now available]
2. Set your entry fee and choose an opponent
Select who you want to go head-to-head with (either a real-life friend or a Fanduel buddy,or even your whole fantasy league!), how much you want the entry fee to be and send them your challenge. The draft takes place and we’ll email you your final roster- and you can see your opponent’s team too.
3. Get paid instantly when you win
Then sit back and watch the real-time stats roll in for both your team and your opponent’s team as the action begins. The team which scores the most fantasy points by the end of the day is the winner – and walks away with the cash prize!
Pete goes into some detail about the deal, the relationship between marketers and bloggers, the current focus of Yardbarker and some of the new features that will be available through the portal in the near future.
We put him Skyped Up with “Name That Barker” where we see if he can identify some of the athletes in his site’s stable of stars.
What started out as an idea to have a bunch of people from Blogs with Balls and Blog World network over the felt, turned into one of the best charity events any of us could have imagined.
Annie Duke was gracious enough to let a bunch of bloggers use her name to promote a poker game we decided to run in Vegas — and of course, turn the event into the Blogs with Balls Charity Poker Shootout where we raised $10,000 for Ante Up for Africa.
Dan catches up with Annie to recap and promote the event and charity, and talk politics and poker On the DL.
We should be confident enough in our own individual projects to be willing to talk about what works best, what doesn’t work and what the next iterations of sports media will be.
Making a Difference: Blogs With Balls Charity Poker Tournament at BlogWorld (JMPR Communication)
I was fortunate to meet a number of very nice people (including Capitan Morgan himself, very funny guy) and I was happy to be a part of this event which ended up raising $10,000 for the people of Darfur. This was a great tournament, and I thank and congratulate the Blogs with Balls gang and Annie Duke for hosting.
On October 22, BwB NY panelist Sarah Spain was a guest on “Bengals Roundtable” on WLW 700 The Big One in Cincinnati, co-hosted by BwB Vegas speaker John Thornton, to talk about this week’s Bears v. Bengals game. Audio below.
At one point I surveyed the room and saw writers and editors from many of the biggest blogs/online outlets in the country, some aforementioned and others including Chris Mottram, Josh Zerkle, Arash Markazi, Greg Wyshynski, the guys at HHR who did an unbelievable job of running the event…the list could go on forever. Add the CEOs from several blog houses and people who run the likes of ESPN.com, FoxSports.com and anythingyoucanthinkofthatiscoolinsports.com and it really was a who’s-who of the next wave of sports journalism. I feel comfortable not overstating that point.
PODCAST: Blogs with Balls, JSF on ESPN, and Stupid MLB Television Enhancements (Joe Sports Fan)
In fact, I was so enthralled with Blogs with Balls, we invited two notable personalities from the event to join us during our digital jamboree we like to call “Wiffle Ball”.
The Las Vegas experience is limited only by one’s budget and imagination, and what started as a humorous aside in a conversation between friends slowly gained momentum as a viable entertainment option. Wouldn’t it be funny if we got drunk with a clown? Why yes. Yes it would.
I have to admit, I was impressed with the majority of the discussions both in and around the conference, not only about sports writing, (I hate the term “blogging” since I’m in the camp that believes blogging is just another platform for delivering content and not a style of writing), about where media was going to go.
What’s next for sports blogging: a call to action (Alana G)
Unless we work together, I’m not sure that we’ll be able to achieve mass distribution, prove our level of influence to advertisers, or gain legitimacy with teams/leagues and mainstream media outlets. These things may not be important to someone who blogs for fun, but they are important for those trying to make a living in the space.
This past week, the guys at Hugging Harold Reynolds and a multitude of corporate sponsors (FoxSports.com, Yardbarker.com, ESPN.com, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, Diageo Liquors, and Carbon Poker) all combined efforts in the epicenter of awesome, Las Vegas. It was a seamlessly put together series of events, discussions, and parties that allowed people from all over the blogosphere to put a face with a twitter feed and a by line.
I was treated to solid discussion and insight from a terrific blend of media people, from bloggers to journalists to a variety of other professional people that use media in any conceivable way. The HHR Media Group and its partners put on a terrific event. It was beautifully paced and well-attended, with the outstanding panels were the foundation for that event…
Of course, the only issue with this is that Blogs With Balls 3.0 will almost certainly be a disappointment, unless they have it on the moon. Yeah, that’s the big obstacle that new media faces: too much gravity.
This was my first trip to Blogs With Balls, and if you’re a blogger or internet writer or whomever, whether you’re a vet like myself or someone who’s just starting out, I can’t recommend getting to the next Blogs With Balls (probably in early 2010) highly enough. Pretty much everyone who is anyone in the internet sports world was out there, and it was cool to finally get a chance to hang out with people I’ve been reading and emailing and tweeting with for years, from Jamie Mottram to Skeets to A.J. Daulerio.
…I think every blogger who wants access, and can demonstrate that his or her audience will be better served with access, should have the chance to gain it. That goes for burgeoning journalists or fan bloggers.”
“HHR Media and Friends put on a hell of a show, again. Don, Chris, and assorted friends have pulled off another fabulous event, and left everyone in awe of their ability to pull shit together. First rate communication via the website, Facebook, e-mails, and even the printed program once we arrived at the event made it easy for attendees and panelists. From the professionally produced intro video and the folks documenting the entire event on film and video, all details were taken care of in an expert manner.”
Top Sports Bloggers and Poker Celebrities Join Annie Duke for Blogs With Balls Charity Shootout Benefiting Ante Up for Africa (GreasieWheels Blog)
“On Friday, October 16th, professional poker players and top sports bloggers representing ESPN, Fox Sports, Yahoo, AOL, Sports Illustrated, Gawker Media, Yardbarker, SB Nation, and many more came together for Blogs with Balls, a charity poker shootout at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Poker Lounge. The fundraiser was held in conjunction with the BlogWorld & New Media 2009 Expo in Las Vegas…
The event raised awareness and $10,000 for Ante Up for Africa, a charity founded by Duke and award-winning actor Don Cheadle to aid relief and support human rights efforts in Darfur.“
Jalen, Vegas, and why it matters to you (Red’s Army)
“So while I loved the excuse to get out to Vegas, this trip really was about you… the readers. In the coming months, we hope some of these meetings manifest themselves in cool new features and guests. We have some things in the works now and we’re hoping to bring them to you either by the beginning of the Celtics season… or shortly after they begin.”
“There are too many people in the blog world who focus on trying to replace the mainstream media, and too many mainstream journalists who are worried about being replaced by blogs and Tweets.”
Blogs With Balls 2.0 Shuffles Up and Deals (HHR’s Quick Poker Recap)
“We made a giant request of you all: that you trust us to make it worth whatever you sacrificed to make it here; be it vacation days, a plane flight, hotel, or part of the Phillies-Dodgers game, everyone put life on hold to meet up, share a lot of useful information, and to take on Vegas.”
Tollin’s resume also includes sports classics Ready to Rumble (executive producer), Varsity Blues (producer) and Lucas favorite, Summer Catch (producer).
We talk about the one-man firestorm Mike caused in Trump Towers recently, as well as his distinction as the USFL’s equivalent to NFL Films, the ongoing relationships he has with primary figures and players associated with the league and other aspects of his distinguished career.
On Thursday, Tollin will be co-hosting the Blogs With Balls/BlogWorld Expo “ESPN Zone 30 For 30 VIP After Party” with ESPN.com editor-in-chief Rob King. That event will feature a sneak peak of “Small Potatoes” and will include dinner and an open bar courtesy of Diageo Liquors. If you are going to BwB/BWE and haven’t already RSVP’d, do so soon as space is quickly filling.
“Whenever you have a conversation with Nathaniel Friedman, aka ‘round the internet as Bethlehem Shoals, you have to factor in two things. First, whatever questions you ask will be answered honestly, candidly and thoughtfully. Second, hold on for dear life.”
Once again, we get into an in-depth conversation with our guest and have to cut the beginning of the show short.
We have a phenomenal conversation and go “Skyped Up” with ESPN.com Editor-in-Chief Rob King, who talks about his role, True Hoop, NFL Blog Network, ESPN Local, “What does Bill Simmons have to do to get fired,” and more.
Tickets are still only $100 for the whole shebang.
If you’re out there and are interested in joining us at an exclusive, space-limited ESPN after-party featuring free booze, food and game cards courtesy of the WWL, drop us a line. The party will be co-hosted by Rob and Who Killed the USFL? director Mike Tollin.
Chris joins Keith Thibault and Ken Fang to talk about the conference, as well as in a discussion of TBS’ coverage of postseason baseball, who will have the inside track to the American television coverage of the Rio Olympics, ESPN’s hot ratings for Monday Night Football and the debut of the 30 for 30 documentary series.
Top Sports Bloggers and Poker Celebrities, Including Annie Duke, to Join Up For Charity
BLOGS WITH BALLS CHARITY POKER SHOOTOUT SET FOR OCTOBER 16TH IN LAS VEGAS
Las Vegas, Nevada (September 28, 2009) – On October 16th, many of the top sports bloggers and poker players in the world will get together for the Blogs with Balls Charity Poker Shootout, held in conjunction with BlogWorld & New Media Expo in Las Vegas.
Each table in the 100-person Shootout, generously underwritten by Carbon Poker, will feature sports writers from the leading sports media companies, including ESPN, Fox Sports, Yahoo, AOL, Sports Illustrated, Gawker Media, Yardbarker, SB Nation and more. In addition, each table will feature one of the best professional poker players in the world, including Annie Duke – a WSOP bracelet winner and runner up on Donald Trump’s Celebrity Apprentice on NBC.
The Shootout has been organized to raise money and awareness for Ante Up for Africa, a charity founded by Duke and award-winning actor Don Cheadle to aid relief efforts in Darfur through poker events. In the last three years, Ante Up for Africa has raised more than $5 million dollars to help support human rights work in Darfur.
In addition to raising money for charity, the event will have both cash and prizes for the top finishers, as well as knockout bonuses and other fun and valuable giveaways from sponsors. An announcement with additional sponsors and full list of professional players signed on to play will be forthcoming.
The event, taking place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s new poker lounge, begins at 8pm. For more information on the Shootout, including sponsorship opportunities and media/interview requests or to get a seat in the tournament visit http://blogswithballs.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Blogs with Balls
Blogs with Balls is a series of social sports blogger and new media gatherings featuring speakers and panelists specifically focused on sports fans, writers, sites, teams, athletes and companies; and their ability to maximize new media outlets for promotion and advancement.
In addition to writers and executives from the largest online sports outlets on the web, speakers at BwB 2.0 at the BlogWorld & New Media Expo include former NBA star Jalen Rose, television, web and print personality Kevin Blackistone, representatives from ESPN and The Sports Illustrated Group, Sacramento Kings VP of Communications Mitch Germann, and many more.
This week’s Blog With Balls is DudePerfect.com, a trick basketball shot site recently featured on BwB 2.0 Panelist JE Skeet’s Ball Don’t Lie blog at Yahoo! Among the interest in the site is the proprietor’s unique way of using it to raise charitable funds.
Our guest this week is the new Senior Editor of BwB 1.0 sponsor SB Nation, Chris Mottram – renowned athlete stalker, one half of Mister Irrelevant’s Brothers Mottram and formerly of Fanhouse and The Sporting Blog. Chris discusses his journey from student to blogger to his staring role with some of the web’s foremost sports news and opinion outlets, as well as the revamped SB Nation and its position among blog networks. He also takes a crack at naming that DC sports figure/personality in this week’s edition of “Skyped Up.” This week’s links of interest:
Big news out of Blogs with Balls land this week. The Worldwide Leader has gotten involved and provided a ball subsidy: From now through 9/28, if you visit blogswithballs.com/2/espn you can request a free discount code that brings the price of BwB 2.0 in Las Vegas down to $100.
Blogs with Balls is proud to collaborate with ESPN to offer a special discounted rate for Blogs with Balls 2.0 in Las Vegas. Simply provide your name and email address via the link below, and you will receive in the mail a discount code to receive $100 tickets to BwB at Blog World Expo.
With the ticket, in addition to the panels and speakers listed below, you will also receive an invite to a VIP after party at the ESPN Zone. Other great events will be announced soon, but don’t miss out on this limited-time ticket special.
Special Featured Speaker: Jalen Rose
PANEL 1: CONNECTING DIRECTLY
A discussion about what athletes being able to speak directly to their fanbase via blogs & Twitter means to sports media, bloggers, and fans.
A discussion between traditional journalists and bloggers about the rise in prominence of sports blogs as members of the media and how the two parties can work together to compliment one another instead of taking an adversarial tone.
Certain teams and leagues have embraced bloggers and recognized their value in promoting their respective brands. Several have allotted bloggers many of the same privileges they do member of the traditional media. Many, however, are still guarded and protective of their product in this regard. We discuss the pros and cons of the various policies.
This week we have a big announcement (that we can’t really announce). But the important detail we can share is that later this week, we will announce that a very prominent partner has come on board who will sponsor registration for a limited time that will result in $100 tickets for Blogs With Balls-only attendees at Blog World Expo. This price will not only include the formal program, but also an invite-only party sponsored by the partner, as well as the rest of the goodies/watch parties/fun-and-games we have lined up for our sports-bloggin’ brethren. Plus, you know, it’s Vegas.
Our Blog With Balls of the Week is “Going Pro” – a triathlon blog. Didn’t know they existed did you? An interesting pick indeed, but Chris justifies its nomination well – not only does the author have a unique audience, but he’s a damn good writer. These two things, if focused properly, could position the site favorably in an under-served market.
Our guest this week is the incomparable Gary Vaynerchuk. Before the event, Gary was considered by many a somewhat odd choice as our featured speaker at Blogs With Balls 1.0, but gave the audience a talk they’ll remember and certainly should have learned from. VaynerMedia, a social media firm he and his brother AJ started and run, represents BwB2.0 featured speaker Jalen Rose, among other sports figures and entities. His first book, as part of a 7-figure deal he signed with Harper Studio is due out in October and is currently available for presale.
Of course, no guest appearance would be complete without challenging them to a game of “Skyped Up.” We mix two of Gary’s favorite things – wine and sports.
We highlight our Blog with Balls of the week, Radovich’s Revenge, a blog authored by a lawyer who has the stones to break down the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement in layman’s terms (and with humor).
Today our guest is Mitch Germann (@MCG5), Vice President of Business Communications with Maloof Sports & Entertainment (Sacramento Kings and Monarchs), and panelist on the “Access” panel at Blogs With Balls.
With Mitch we preview some of the topics that the Access panel will address, including, among other things, dealing with players using social media as representatives of the teams/company and the receptiveness of the Kings and NBA to embrace members of the new media.
The team has worked hard to engage local blogs and went so far as to invite them to preseason work outs and intend to invite them to media day and training camp with the ultimate goal of credentialing them for games.
“We have just recognized through observing this space that there’s some blogs in Sacramento that work hard and that cover the team…There’s a lot of interaction, there’s a lot of comments, a lot of fans are loyal to those sites and really as an organization our philosophy is that we want to be where our fans are We don’t expect to hold everyone hostage and make everyone come to Kings.com for what they want.”
Of course, no guest appearance would be complete without challenging them to a game of “Skyped Up.” We see how well Mitch knows his “kings.”
A member the University of Michigan’s famed “Fab Five,” former NBA standout and current ESPN analyst Jalen Rose will be a part of the Blogs with Balls sports track at Blog World Expo, joining an already loaded and diverse schedule of speakers.
Rose’s multifaceted, on- and offline approach to business, branding and communications in his post playing-career makes him a perfect fit for the event and eneables him to relate to the athlete, media and fan, and speak on numerous sports and social media-related topics.
Check back soon for more about Jalen’s participation at BwB.
Today we tease our flubbed conversation with John McEnroe. Don’t worry – we will salvage it.
He spoke with us about a number of things including his guitar playing, Wilmbledon dream matches, the future of the sport and more. But mainly he was on to promote prostate cancer awareness as an ambassador for “Stand Up 2 Cancer.”
Admittedly we ramble on for a bit in the beginning, but an early point we are trying to make is that credibility is among the most important qualities to have online. We hope the reason we were able to bring so many top online sports influencers together for both BwB 1 &2 is due to the fact that we have taken the time to build and cultivate relationships, are genuinely sincere and honest, and have created a track record.
As such, we tried to make this a recurring theme appears throughout the program.
We had a ton of fun talking about this week’s Ballsy Blog of the Week – our good friends at WhoDeyRevolution.com.
“An estimated 6,500 fans showed up for the annual scrimmage. Soon after it started, a small plane flew overhead towing a banner that read: “101-187-1 … HIRE A GM!” That’s the Bengals’ record since 1991, when Mike Brown took control of the team after his father’s death.
Brown functions as the team’s de facto general manager. He was sitting on a patio next to the press box, watching the scrimmage, when the banner flew overhead. The Bengals have had only one winning season during Brown’s 18 years of running the team.”
Also, ProFootballTalk gave Project Mayhem Task #9 a in their AFC North One-Liners.
Our guest this week is author, entrepreneur and former college standout/Arena League player Lewis Howes.
Howes literally wrote the book on online networking (LinkedWorking) and has used its techniques to establish an unmatched network of sports executives across the country.
Lewis talks about the importance of building relationships, trust and a brand identity online and offline.
Of course, we couldn’t let him go without testing his familiarity with “relationship experts” on this week’s “Skyped Up” segment.
Overall, if you look at the list it is pretty predictable – successful teams (and those in bigger markets) tend to have more followers, unsuccessful ones (and those in smaller markets) less followers. For example, after LA and Orlando, the next three are Cleveland, Chicago, and Boston (all in the 17,000 to 20,000 range) – Lebron, big market, last year’s champ / big market. But the next team is the first one that sticks out a bit – the Phoenix Suns. They didn’t make the playoffs, the market isn’t THAT big, and they have the 6th most followers.
I think it’s fair to say that the Phoenix stat isn’t as complexing as Hancock indicates. Simply put – they had the biggest hoops star in Twitterverse on a team who encouraged the usage and dedciated staff and resources to using it as a viable, interactive communications tool.
The process by which two teams are chosen to compete for the BCS National Championship is both convoluted and secretive by design. There’s one part computer score…
Then there’s the Harris Poll…
Last comes the USA Today Coaches poll, which year after year is where most of the shadiness lies. In the past few seasons, coaches only had to make their final vote public, enabling coaches to finagle with the rankings throughout the season. Starting in 2010, the rule to provide the final ballot from each coach will be repealed by the AFCA, allowing for even more cloak and/or dagger with the poll.
Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples has seen enough. Well, I guess in this case, he hasn’t seen enough. Staples wrote a column yesterday indicating SI will be sending Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests to every public university with a football coach who is a voter — 59 in all. And what looked like a ‘hey guess what we’re going to do’ threat and nothing more in his column, Staples was true to his word, sending out 51 of the 59 requests yesterday, with the rest coming today.
Welcome to the premier of Blogs With Balls Radio on the Joe Sports Fan Radio Network.
Over the past few weeks on our regular installment of the “JoeSportsFan Show”, we teased the fact that big news was coming down the podcasting pipeline here on JoeSportsFan.com. Yesterday, you saw the initiation of this news as our own Patrick Imig and Jason Major debuted their first weekly show entitled, “The Steel Cage”.
Today, we’re happy to announce a partnership of sorts with respected cohorts that will deliver complementary content to our own internal lineup. Without further ado, we’re pleased to unveil the “JoeSportsFan Radio Network“.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the team.
Poulter’s site is no small reflection of the confidence he has in his game and his style.
We also have our first guest of the show, NCAA All-American from West Virginia, former 2nd round draft pick of the Tennessee Titans, former Cincinnati Bengals captain, and Founder & Co-CEO of JockBiz.com, John Thornton (@JohnThornton).
In his post-playing career, John blogs at AllProBlogger.com and offers full-service consulting for players in everything from nutrition and dieting to social media development at Jock Biz.
We are also honored to have John join Mike Germano (President, Carrot Creative), Pete Vlastelica (CEO, Yardbarker.com), Ron Wechsler (VP Series Production and Development, ESPN) on the “Connecting Directly” Panel at BwB2, where the group will look at what athletes being able to speak directly to their fanbase via blogs & Twitter means to sports media, bloggers, and fans.
John offers a preview of the discussion on today’s show.
Regarding how the media, namely those covering the Bengals, see their roles changing as guys like Chad Ochocinco circumvent the traditional athletes and take their message directly to fans:
“The media people that we talked to they were all sort of afraid for their jobs because they feel like they’re going to get cut out. Chad was actually on that panel and he said he wants to cut the middle man out because he’s been portrayed in a certain way…
I think the role of the media initially was to cover the game. Whether you’re supposed to tell what happened, but I think over time the media got so much power and they start to give their own opinions, their personal opinions. Now…the media has to reinvent themselves. You got to use social media…
You can’t be afraid of the athletes Tweeting or using their blogs or Facebook, you know whatever. You just gotta use it. You got to find a way to reinvent yourselves because it’s not just the newspapers anymore. Everybody’s online. Everybody’s on their cell phones. You just got to use that and incorporate it into your own story.”
Regarding how players interact, specifically those John consults with or is familiar with:
“We really try to let the guys know hey it’s cool to have fun, it’s cool to put yourself out there, but – you know – it’s public…
But then there’s guys that don’t care. There’s guys that I played with that I follow on Twitter that I’m like, ‘Why are you saying that? Why are you talking like that?’ But its really, its how they are…”
This is your public image…”
Finally, we put John on the spot for a game we dubbed “Skyped Up” where we see just how familiar he is with the sports personalities his clients potentially have to interact with.
Look for more great things to come both with our show (which will be available each Wednesday), as well as the other personalities that will be announced on the JSF Radio Network in days and weeks to come.
As more and more fan-based, school-specific blogs are being granted similar access and credentialling as members of the traditional media, they are radically changing the role fan-publishers are taking in the college recruiting process, and, in turn, creating headaches for NCAA and school compliance officers.
NCAA rules explicitly state that fans of teams cannot be involved in recruiting, but those regulations blur when the fan wears a media credential. Such credentials, which are issued by whatever entity is running a particular event, designate the bearers as media members, giving them access to prospects that even college coaches don’t have during the all-important summer evaluation period. College coaches are not permitted to interact with prospects during the period.
NCAA officials and prominent figures on the summer basketball circuit are alarmed at an increasing number of fans who are creating Web sites, obtaining media credentials and becoming amateur recruiters. Rachel Newman-Baker, the NCAA’s agent, gambling and amateurism director, said one of the organization’s biggest concerns this summer was who was obtaining media credentials and for what purpose.
From SportsNetworker.com’s Sam Taggert: “Shaq gets a lot of love for being the pioneer athlete in this space, but people fail to acknowledge the one who came before him and all other athletes: Gilbert Arenas.”
One Great Season is a brand new Web site by a college football fanatic and former sportswriter, John P. Wise. Throughout the season, he’ll travel across the country to cover a game in a different city every weekend. The short-term project will offer daily updates — words, still pictures, short video clips and more — to the Web site, and the longer-term project will delve more deeply into the traditions and cultural and regional differences between each state, region or conference as they relate to America’s most exciting sport, all leading up to the BCS Championship game in January.
This is an incredibly ambitious task. While others have attempted it in the past, John’s vision is one that will thrive on interaction from fans both locally and across the sports-loving nation.
As such, John needs your help.
Go to his site and check out the section called 30 Thousand Helpers — That is where you can make a donation of any amount, but all he is asking is for just a $1 contribution. Even if you’re unable to donate, please take a look around the site for a minute. Hopefully you’ll see something you like.
Last week, author, entrepreneur and former college standout/Arena League player Lewis Howes hosted his Sports Networker Launch Party in NYC that featured ESPN founder Bill Rassmussen, and was attended by “Sports Lawyers, sports social networking platforms, professionals athletes, NBA,MLB, NHL, NFL league and team employees, AFL, agencies, marketing firms, CBS, Madison Square Garden, minor league teams, and a number of other quality professionals.”
Notably missing from this well-represented list are the online influences and bloggers like those featured and in attendance at Blogs With Balls.
This week, Lewis and I met for lunch and talked about ways in which we can bridge the divide and collaborate to facilitate meetings and conversations between these respective groups.
For those of you in the Central NJ area, HHR will be heading to the Princeton Professionals TweetUp at Salt Creek Grille in Forrestal Village. Joining us will be friend of HHR, phillyBurbs.com‘s Chris Illuminati. If you’re in the area and interested in meeting up, drop us a tweet @hhrmediagroup. 30 or so area professionals have RSVPed already, and it should be a great event.
Note: Our hosts at Blog World Expo have given us the liberty to include events and parties specific to Blogs With Balls that will be included for BwB sports track attendees only, in addition to and separate from what’s being offered by BWE.
Over the next couple of weeks we will be announcing these events, which will feature other prominent figures from the sports blogosphere.
Proposed Blogs With Balls 2.0/Blog World Expo Panels and Speakers
PANEL 1: CONNECTING DIRECTLY
A discussion about what athletes being able to speak directly to their fanbase via blogs & Twitter means to sports media, bloggers, and fans.
A discussion between traditional journalists and bloggers about the rise in prominence of sports blogs as members of the media and how the two parties can work together to compliment one another instead of taking an adversarial tone.
Certain teams and leagues have embraced bloggers and recognized their value in promoting their respective brands. Several have allotted bloggers many of the same privileges they do member of the traditional media. Many, however, are still guarded and protective of their product in this regard. We discuss the pros and cons of the various policies.
Fresh off the success of Blogs With Balls 1.0 on June 13 in New York City, HHR Media Group and Modern Hombre are proud to announce BwB’s role as the organizer of the sports track at this year’s BlogWorld & New Media Expo, October 15-17 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Once again, Blogs With Balls will feature an all-star lineup of speakers and presenters representing not only the top names in the sports blogosphere, but also ESPN, Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, and cutting edge new media agencies. Individuals such as television, web and print personality Kevin Blackistone, former NFL & NCAA star John Thornton, Deadspin.com editor-in-chief AJ Daulerio and Sacramento Kings VP of Communications Mitch Germann will highlight a series of discussions specific to both sports blogging and sports media in general. A full and current list of panels and speakers can be found at http://blogswithballs.com/panels-20/.
“At BwB 1.0 in June we saw up close how hungry the next generation of online sports media is to start rewriting the rulebook,” said HHR Media’s Chris Lucas. “When we get the influencers of today and tomorrow in the same room together, we begin changing the way sports media is defined and consumed at all levels.”
In partnering with BlogWorld Expo, the ante for Blogs With Balls 2.0 is decidedly raised, promising an even fuller experience for attendees. BlogWorld Expo is the largest new media conference in the world, featuring 3 Days of learning, 150+ Presenters, more than 50 seminars, panel discussions and keynotes from iconic personalities on the leading-edge of online technology and internet-savvy business in tech, sports, entertainment, politics and more.
“Where else can a local sports blogger get a receptive and willing audience with ESPN or Sports Illustrated execs, social media savvy athletes, and their colleagues from across the web? Blogs with Balls is utterly unique in that aspect, and we intend to make this event in Las Vegas one that won’t be soon forgotten,” said Blogs With Balls’ Kyle Bunch.
Blogs With Balls will be an all-day gathering and take place at the Las Vegas Convention Center on October 15. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online at blogswithballs.com/tickets.
For more information, please visit www.blogswithballs.com.