February Media Power List
In his new position he will continue to write, as well as shape his new
Asked about the effort ESPN made to keep him, Neyer said, "Let's just say that in the course of our negotiations for a new contract, I found that ESPN's offer simply was not competitive, in a variety of ways, with SB Nation's."
It is an interesting gamble for Neyer and an experiment worth watching on whether a popular sports writer can transfer his or her ESPN-built audience to a smaller destination. How much concern did Neyer have regarding the loss of audience, and specifically, ESPN's ability to expose his work on multiple platforms?
"Frankly, it was a concern," Neyer said. "When you're in our line of work, you're supposed to build your "brand," which sounds a little ridiculous but essentially just means making as many people as possible aware that you exist and can [ideally] produce good work, consistently," Neyer said. "One way to do that is to get on TV, but I was never able to cadge more than one short spot per week on ESPNews' Hot List. I enjoyed that for a few years, but when Brian Kenny left ESPNews it just wasn't the same, and I had a hard time justifying taking a couple of hours out of my writing day to do something that wasn't much fun. Another way is radio, but aside from a late-night weekend slot, with the great Bob Valvano, I should add, I wasn't able to really break through there, either.
"I'm not blaming ESPN. And I've been blessed with dozens of radio hosts around the country who are kind enough to have me on the air regularly. But in terms of ESPN's various platforms, I was either underutilized or under-talented (you choose). I will most especially miss ESPN's promotional opportunities when my next book is published ... Except since I started blogging a few years ago, I've barely had time to think about writing another book. Let alone actually writing one."
TNT is averaging 2.4 million viewers for its NBA coverage (after 40 games), which is up 30 percent from last year. SBD says TNT is on track for its best NBA regular season ever. The network's previous best through the same point of the regular season was 1.885 million viewers during 1995-96 season. Earlier this month
What remains unanswered is how an organization with little sports background handles sport-specific issues that arise within Bristol Land.
The college basketball analyst says his wife, Wendy, convinced him to take the plunge. "I looked at Twitter as being the world's stream of consciousness of thoughts better left unexpressed," Bilas said. " She said it's the way people are communicating, and I need to give it a try. I just think she is tired of having to listen to my rants and wanted others to share in her considerable pain... I am really just putting down some of the things I would say to my friends, without my usual emphasis on the profane. I haven't really thought about a philosophy. I'm not Kant or Descartes, though I feel I was a better weakside rebounder than either."
Bilas spends considerable time on his feed mocking colleagues Digger Phelps and Bill Raftery. Are they following what Bilas is saying about them?
"In matters of technology, Digger and Raftery are just slithering out of the primordial ooze, fascinated by anything shiny," Bilas said. "Neither Raftery nor Digger ever uses a computer or e-mail. Actually, I am getting questions about when Bob Knight will get into Twitter. He probably doesn't need 140 characters to get his points across. I am guessing that four characters at a time will do."
The actor watched
(Obviously, The Dan Patrick Show has a connection with SI and I've met Pabst, Fritz (who books most of the guests for Patrick's show) and O'Connor (the show's director of operations. Longtime SI.com editor Andrew Perloff is also one of Patrick's on-air staffers. I think Patrick's behind-the-scenes people are particularly talented, but you should definitely judge this item knowing it's from someone who shares a masthead with Patrick. )
Pabst declined to answer when asked about putting someone on the air who could potentially be in the middle of a crisis. The subject of whether Sheen is being exploited or enabled by the media is an interesting debate, one that
"We've had major sports stories that have come from our show, but this was different," Pabst said. "Just about every news and entertainment outlet played clips of the interview. I saw the interview mentioned by media in Australia, Germany, Japan and other places."
Sure, I know that most readers don't care about scoops the way the media does, and I agree people in our profession probably make too much of it, but hard work deserves proper and accurate credit.
There are plenty
I also have a fondness for 70something sports broadcaster, be it Cherry, Brent Musburger or Dick Enberg, who have beaten the odds and survived the ageism that we often see in the profession. Perhaps one day we'll see a 70something women working on-air in sports television. That will be a momentous thing indeed.
"Indeed, imagine that Richard Sandomir, the
ESPN does not have a formal policy regarding its talent endorsing commercial products. The network has long said that it evaluates each of the requests on an individual basis and makes a determination on it. It is in the process of asking on-air staffers to declare outside contracts, likely a result of the company not knowing about Chris Fowler's, Kirk Herbstreit's and Lee Corso's
In his piece (which also included Erin Andrews, who has a contract with Reebok to endorse athletic apparel) Johnson asked "what distinctions does the network and other networks draw between "reporters" and "personalities" who appear side-by-side covering the same games, the same events, the teams, all influencing public perceptions? And what would be the rationale for any such differences, if they exist, among its on-air talents?"
That's a good question. Part of problem with the case-by-case endorsement policy is that it sends mixed messages to the viewer (not to mention sets up a star system among employees). ESPN's most-well known entity is Chris Berman, who sells the soap for plenty of places. That's fine, but ESPN also wants us to believe he's a journalist or produces journalism (certainly on its NFL draft coverage).
Same with Andrews. I've previously written and believe it to be true that ESPN executives, especially those on the newsgathering side, hate hearing charges that the network shows favoritism toward athletes. But what should its audience think when one of its well-known talents
Fowler and Herbstreit are two of the most thoughtful voices on college football. But it's disturbing to know that they were sharing the same employer (Nike) as some of the coaches they comment on. As McBride recently told the
I asked spokesman Josh Krulewitz if anything had changed in ESPN's endorsement policy since the news broke involving the College GameDay staffers. "We are in process of reviewing all matters relating to endorsements and our commentators," he said.
That sounds like a wise step and something