Monday, April 21, 2008

Strange Bedfellows in New Media

The New York Times runs a story headlined "Tension over sports blogging," but far more of the article is devoted to the tension between the leagues and established, traditional media outlets over the use of pictures and video:

Tension over sports blogging is one of the strains between sports franchises, leagues and reporters to have emerged during the digital age.

The dispute has grown lately between the press and organized sports over issues like how reporters cover teams, who owns the rights to photographs, audio and video that journalists gather at sports events, and whether someone who writes only blogs should be given access to the locker room.
The explosion of new media, especially with regard to advertising income, has made competitors out of two traditional allies — news media and professional sports.
There's a bit of the standard "the trouble with bloggers" stuff at the end, but it's nothing major and nothing new. That's probably understandable because, Mark Cuban's recent hysterics aside, blogger-angst is something experienced by the media far more than it is by the sports leagues. Indeed, as the article points out, many teams have partnered with bloggers or, at the very least, have tried to engage them in a constructive way. For the most part, the anti-blogger hostility has come from the newspapers, which makes the article's attempted dichotomy -- the leagues vs. the media -- something of a false one.

The leagues have their problems with the newspapers, the newspapers have their problems with the blogs, and blogs -- generally a headless amalgamation of suckers like me on the make -- tend to side with whoever is willing to monetize them. Despite the allusions to battle lines being drawn, the whole scenario looks a lot more like Iraqi politics.

Where is this all heading? Hard to say. If anything, I could see the leagues bypassing the newspapers for media partnerships with blogs -- say, allowing a quasi-team-controlled blog to run a zillion game photos to the New York Times' "reasonable number" -- before I could see the newspapers siding with the bloggers against the sports leagues.

Could my view on that change? Sure. And whether it does all depends on whether ESPN or makes the more attractive offer to purchase ShysterBall . . .

(Link via ShysterBall reader Grady Snyder)


tadthebad said...

OK, Shyster, I'll bite: where do we start the bidding?

Craig Calcaterra said...

I dunno. Get me off the billable hour and let me work in jeans and you could probably have me for minimum wage and all of the Tostitos lime chips I can eat.

Alex said...

Wouldn't you be more comfortable in your underwear, maybe somewhere with some pleasantly dim lights, like a basement? You should also keep pounding down those chips and wash them down with some ice cold mountain dew (the chips truly are delicious). No self-respecting blogger is without a healthy gut. And if your supply ever runs short, no doubt your mom could run to the safeway for more. Yes, it does sound quite like the dream job.

Craig Calcaterra said...

It's funny. On occasion I'll have a conversation with my wife about what life would be like if I could figure out a way to do this for a living. Eventually, the talk to turns to the mechanics of it all, and simply can't get past the notion that the only way for me to effectively work without either (a) distrupting the kids' routines; or (b) having them disrupt mine is for me to set up an office in . . . .the basement.

I guess being the one to pay the mortgage on said basement makes it less of a cliche, but only a bit less of one. I mean, in a sense, "mom" would still be calling the shots, even if it is my kids' mom.

tadthebad said...

For some reason, I picture Craig blogging from the comfort of a penthouse home-office suite. Send the kids to the basement and enjoy the view, man!

Pete Toms said...

Not only is ownership & control of broadband content a sore point between big media and leagues it is also a sore point between teams and leagues.

Tom Werner recently made comments critical of the control that BAM has over local online media content. In the NHL, the Rangers ( Cablevision ) are in court with the NHL over who controls the Rangers web site. Earlier this year BAM loosened restrictions on access and use of some local content including ( I think ) VOD, I'd have to root back into the articles for the details.

IP rights, publicity rights, first amendment rights....there are some big, complex issues to be resolved.