In my four-part blog series about how new media is changing the world of sports, I interviewed professionals in the field to get their perspective.
In part three I looked at how online branding and sports are on a collision course, even if the major professional leagues don’t want to admit it. To get more perspective on this area of sports and how it will play a role in the future I had an email exchange with Jason Peck, a sports and social media follower, entrepreneur (founder of Highway 24 Media, LLC and North Hills Buzz) project manager (social media/community at eWayDirect), consultant and blogger.
iMedia Confluence: What are your thoughts on the ever-changing world of sports media? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of the profession?
Jason Peck: The notion and role of media in sports is constantly evolving, but one thing hasn’t changed. Fans still want access to news and updates about their favorite players and teams. I think they want more of this now than ever before. New forms of media and technologies have made it easier than ever for people to get sports news in forms they want, when they want it.
It’s an exciting time in sports media, but also a time where traditional roles are changing. In the past, the traditional big media outlets dominated the release of breaking news; now, teams and players are able to bypass these gatekeepers are release news directly to fans online or through mobile channels. I don’t see ESPN disappearing anytime soon, but I would guess that organizations are going to have to approach sports media and news more from an analysis or aggregation angle than just focusing on breaking news.
iMC: What are your feelings on people getting their news from blogs versus traditional news outlets?
JP: Blogs can be a great source of news. One thing that is valuable is that people can inject their personality and humanity into their writing on blogs, while most journalists are forced to be objective when covering a story. This can make for more interesting writing. But it also means people have a responsibility to know that a blog may be biased and may not tell the whole story accurately.
In sports, blogs can be very informative and entertaining sources of news. I enjoy reading stories about my favorite teams where people talk about what actually happened in the game and are able to talk passionately about it, rather than only read a dry version that I might find in traditional news outlets.
iMC: What are your feelings on many professional leagues and even the NCAA putting limits on the use of Twitter by players/coaches/media etc.
JP: I understand it, but I don’t always agree. In an ideal world, I would think that teams and leagues would bring the same concept that Twitter provides (real-time updates) to their websites so they could attract more fans and eyeballs. For some reason, most of them aren’t doing this.
I don’t think that athletes and coaches should be allowed to tweet (or make phone calls or write emails) at ALL times. But banning Twitter (or any new, useful technology) completely is not the answer. Proper education about how to use it to reach more fans, increase engagement and generate more revenue is what people should be focusing on.
iMC: What are your feelings on athletes/teams using Twitter as a marketing tool?
JP: I think it’s great. It’s really easy for teams and athletes to identify passionate fans, connect with them and engage them on Twitter. In the past they would have had to go through TV, magazines, radio or newspapers to get the kind of reach that Twitter can provide. And Twitter is much more valuable for certain initiatives and promotions, because everything is real-time.
iMC: Do you think micro-blogging is just a fad or a communications tool that will be around for a long time?
JP: Micro-blogging and real-time updates are here to stay. The popular tools and platforms may change, but I don’t see this form of communication going away.
iMC: Do you have any predictions on what is next on the horizon as far as sports and social media?
JP: I think social media will play an increasing role in helping people in sports build their brand, engage with fans and monetize. Social media tools and platforms give individual players, teams and coaches more power than they’ve ever had, because they enable these people to connect directly with fans
I expect more teams to figure out how to start and monetize successful communities and link them to what they’re doing offline with events and sponsorships.
I think more athletes, coaches and teams will get involved to protect their brands and take control of their online identities.