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.