Sports journalism, TV metrics, and American Crime Story: While We’re Waiting…

Cleveland Sports

Hey everyone, I’m back in my monthly While We’re Waiting slot. Thanks, as always, go to Kyle Welch (every two weeks) and Jessica Forrester (monthly, like me) for handling all of the other Thursdays on the WFNY agenda. It’s always fun to manage rotations of WWW schedules. Brings me back to my olden days of scheduling weekends with Denny Mayo and Brendan Porath … ah.

But let’s get onto some news and links, shall we? First of all, in case you missed it, I changed my Twitter handle to @JacobLRosen in the last few weeks. This is nothing against WFNY. Not at all. WFNY is my online home. I’ve been writing here for nearly seven years now. It’s just that as I approach MBA graduation (four months away!), I wanted a versatile online name that could be useful for when I hopefully have a job in the sports world somewhere.

My online brand was never going to be WFNY forever. I’ll hopefully be representing a full-time employer in the sports industry soon. So I’ve also changed my email signature, LinkedIn URL, Contently URL, Tumblr URL, and other items to match. It’s an exhaustive process, for sure. And my close friends know that I was contemplating this move for a long time. Just felt I should update the WFNY readers, too.

Thoughts on sports journalism:

  • This article from The Big Lead about CBSSports.com was all over Twitter on Thursday. It’s a sexy headline and a fascinating thesis: Popular online sports media company eschews traditional reporting model in favor of young, untrained “aggregators” of sports content. Unfortunately, the article was incredibly unnuanced. Nothing gets my gears going more than an article with a clear agenda and something that you can totally sniff through if you have any second thoughts going in. No mention of CBS literally just hiring beloved former Grantland writer Jonah Keri? I thought that Craig Calcaterra, per usual, had an excellent reply to the big hubbub. Life lesson du jour: There are always two sides to any media story. Always be skeptical.
  • Meanwhile, in other big media news, Adrian Wojnarowski’s new basketball-focused vertical, aptly named The Vertical, launched at Yahoo! Sports last week. Woj is a superstar in the NBA world. Want a perfect example of his incredible brand? The website’s URL is legitimately sports.yahoo.com/woj! Yes, Woj has his critics. Kevin Draper did a fantastic job covering the usual Woj about a year ago. But over at Deadspin, Draper covered the details of the launch of this new site. Woj is reportedly getting a $2 million salary! But oh, Yahoo also is in serious deep waters financially. Via this BuzzFeed report: The company’s actually Internet business is valued at only $2 billion. The vast majority of its valuation is from its stake in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan. Uh oh.

Thoughts on TV metrics and sports TV:

  • Ready for an even worse article about the sports media industry? Look no further than this gem from Sporting News about the new Thursday Night Football TV deal. The premise of the article: Poor, poor CBS got hosed by the NFL. The reality: CBS had a two-year deal with the NFL. That deal ended with the end of the 2015 NFL season. Negotiations for a new TV deal have been going on all fall! If you literally just take a look at Sports Business Journal, you can see related reports on Sept. 7, Nov. 24, Dec. 16, and Jan. 11! Nobody at CBS could have been shocked by the new dual arrangement with NBC or the new price tag: $450 million combined for 10 games, up from $300 million for eight games. There is no reason to feel bad for CBS at all in this arrangement.
  • But speaking of sports and TV … Nielsen is a fascinating company. The idea of TV measurement was a constant topic during my mid-January MBA networking trip out to New York City. On the Internet, everything is measured. You can see analytics for every consumer, every second, every IP address, everything. On traditional linear TV? Measurement is antiquated, at best.  Read this New York Times article and tell me that you feel comfortable with the advertising industry’s $70 billion — yes, billion — being spent on TV feels safe in the hands of Nielsen’s current measurement processes. The company must evolve, and evolve quickly. And a recent report, via the New York Post, that a new rating was inflating ESPN numbers and not giving proper context to how old numbers compared? That’s not a very good start.

Random other thoughts:

  • As someone born in 1990, the O.J. Simpson case fascinates me. I didn’t live through all of the details of the car chase and the court case, so all of these facts and details are pretty new to me. I know how it ends, of course. But yes, I watched the first episode of American Crime Story this week. I’m totally hooked (even though I rarely ever watch TV). I loved reading all of these behind-the-scenes secrets from Glamour.
  • In a much better Sporting News link, Mike DeCourcy reported some news on possible Big 12 expansion coming soon. Will the league look to add Cincinnati and Connecticut? Or maybe South Florida and Central Florida? Or maybe not add any university at all since it is now allowed to hold a football championship game with only 10 members? Power Five changes ain’t done just yet.
  • It’s hilarious and awe-inspiring at the same time that the awesome minds behind the Harvard Sports Analytics Collective did a serious breakdown of Super Bowl prop bets for Covers.com. This is so very detailed.
  • Many congratulations go out to my friends at TeamWork Online for moving into their new HQ in downtown Cleveland right net to Progressive FIeld and Quicken Loans Arena. For anyone interested in the sports industry at all, TeamWork Online is a massive brand to know. And they’re now right in the center of Cleveland.
  • Finally, our dear friends at Fear The Sword are looking to hire two new writers. I love the folks over at FTS. You should go reach out to David Zavac if you might be interested in that opportunity.

  • mgbode

    The BigXII should add Houston and Memphis. They are the obvious additions to the conference. But, Texas (and a lesser extent Baylor/TCU/OU) don’t want a BigXII team in Houston “stealing” their recruits.

  • maxfnmloans

    Been waiting for the OJ show for a few momths. I was 16 when the chase happened. I was at a campground at Pymatuning Lake, and my buddy and I walked over to his extended family’s fire for the evening. One of his Aunts (or cousins, I dont remember) had a 5 inch portable black and white TV and they had the chase on. Even in the middle of nowhere, before technology was ubiquitous, we saw it. In my lifetime the 5 events I remember watching happen live (or as live as things could be) are

    Desert storm, Day 1
    Shock and Awe, 2003

  • I love how Yahoo is spending $2 mil annually on Woj, but they can’t even bother to pay someone a little money to make a site design for him that isn’t complete garbage.

  • maxfnmloans

    maybe they told Woj, “Heres 2 million bucks…find someone to design th e site, and you get to keep the rest” So he hired some kid fresh out of an html class to do it for a couple cases of beer and some whip-its

  • A kid high on whip-its would totally make a better site than Yahoo’s!.

  • maxfnmloans

    not that I have any first hand knowledge (or any Reddi Whip in the fridge) but I think my 4 year old could finger paint a better site than Yahoo

  • mgbode

    Well, hey. It’s not like their horrific platform is affecting the overall views and therefore valuation of the property. Oh, it is? Well…

  • WFNYJacob

    I thought Matt Moore had an excellent reply to my critique of the Yahoo layout: The mobile site looks great. Things are 50/50 these days, maybe even leaning more toward mobile. And although the desktop layout looks antiquated, at least it loads quickly and doesn’t freeze like ESPN and SI do regularly.

  • Mobile is important, but not at the expense of desktop. The most important thing you learn when you learn web design even today is the importance of making sure your site looks good and works on ALL platforms. So many people do jobs where desktop computers are required and thus desktop traffic will always be around. And we know all too well that most traffic comes when people are at work, not at home where they are more likely to be mobile. You have to have a strong desktop approach still.

    I would also argue with your assertion that the mobile site looks great. The mobile site is a slightly more confined version of their “spewed garbage” approach, but it just took me 42 seconds to load the Vertical on my phone with the company’s fiber connection.

    The mobile app looks decent, but you shouldn’t design for making people use an app. That’s the whole point of responsive design. All things in one place.

  • RGB

    Add Rice, then. lol

  • CB Everett
  • CB Everett

    “Life lesson du jour: There are always two sides to any media story. Always be skeptical.”

    Well said, Jacob. You’d think we’d all know this by now, but we get caught up–always a good reminder to be leery of story-peddlers.

  • JNeids
  • mgbode

    Honestly, you add Rice to the BigXII and they’d be TCU/Baylor in 5-10 years. Houston is teeming with high-level prospects that schools worry would want to stay home.

  • RGB

    Hmmm…who can we add that would allow them to qualify for a conference championship game, but not actually threaten the big money powers?
    Wichita State is looking to get back into football.
    And Dallas Baptist has a good baseball team. I’m sure they’d like to get into football.

  • mgbode

    pretty much.

    Also why BYU gets mentioned despite WVU-to-BYU obv. travel issues. The BigXII power teams cannot get out of their own way, which is why Louisville isn’t a member (they begged in but wound up in better spot for them).

  • RGB

    Mormons and hillbillies in the same stadium?
    What petition do I have to sign to make this happen?

  • nj0

    Which doesn’t make a difference since I stopped going to Yahoo sports on my phone since I get a full page ad for their app EVERY TIME I go there.

  • SteamingPileOfCraphonsoThorpe

    Not that I don’t hate Yahoo (I do) and love WFNY (I do), but you guys do have a flaw on your own site that I brought to your attention more than a year ago. And I just confirmed that it is still the same: your pagination is completely broken! Can’t go to page 2, or any other page, using the numbers or “Next” button, or typing it in the URL.

    Andrew, it was you who emailed me back at the time (December, 2014). I really enjoy the look-and-feel of the site, but apparently that fix never happened. I’m a software engineer/web developer type – throw me $500, some GLBC products, and a plane ticket to come up for the WFNY Draft Party, and I’ll have it fixed for you in a weekend! 🙂

    I assume most visitors to the site are getting around by looking at the current hot stories and clicking through to other stories they’re interested in. But it seems like being able to go back chronologically as needed would be nice.

  • Actually, this is a good reminder. I brought it up with our designer and I forgot to follow through with him. Thanks for the heads up (again).

  • Yes. Seriously, so frustrating.

  • Garry_Owen

    That’s strange. I use the Yahoo sports app exclusively (not because I’m in love with it; just because I’m too lazy to care enough to look for better), but I don’t get any ads.

  • Garry_Owen

    Hmm. I’d like to hear the other side of this.