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Former Washington Times Reporter Ben Goessling to Join MASN PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 05 January 2010 13:42

MASNLast week, the Washington Times shutdown its entire 25-member sports section. Today, at least one of those has landed elsewhere. MASN, the television home of the Washington Nationals, has announced that Ben Goessling has joined the network as a full-time reporter, blogger and on-air contributor.  Goessling will cover the Nationals for MASNsports.com, beginning on January 11th.

Goessling will continue writing about the team on a daily basis, hosting live chats and video blogs and making frequent appearances during MASN's pre and post game show, Nats Xtra. He will also interact with fans using Twitter, the popular social networking platform.  He joins Phil Wood and Byron Kerr who continue to cover the Nationals for MASNsports.com.

Goessling enters his third year covering the Nationals after two seasons on the beat at the Washington Times, where he was a frequent contributor to Nats Xtra during the "Hot Corner" segment. In addition to covering the Nationals and two World Series, he covered the Washington Capitals, Redskins and Wizards, as well as local college basketball, the AT&T National tournament and the 2009 Frozen Four.  He began his career at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, where he covered everything from sports to local news and business, and has worked for the St. Paul Pioneer Press, where he was honored by the Minnesota Associated Press Sports Association for a 2004 investigation into allegations of coaching impropriety at the University of Minnesota.

During his years at the Washington Times, Goessling embraced the changing face of sports media by contributing to "Chatter," the Times' popular Nationals blog, hosting online chats with fans and developing a robust Twitter account, @washtimesbb.

"Ben is one of the most trusted, informative, and active members of the media covering the Nationals," said MASN spokesman Todd Webster.  "We are excited that Ben is bringing his insights, perspective and work ethic to MASNsports.com, to provide Nationals fans with 24/7 access to the team."

While Goessling has landed, please continue to support the other Washington Times sports writers that were let go. For sports business matters, follow Tim Lemke on his blog http://www.timlemkesports.com/ and on twitter @TimLemkeSports


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Sean Forman of Baseball-Reference Gains Inclusion Into BBWAA PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 09 December 2009 15:54

BBWAAIn a sign that the Baseball Writers Association of America’s landscape is continuing to change, Sean Foreman, the creator of Baseball-Reference.com has gained inclusion into the BBWAA. In making Foreman a member, the definition as to who falls within the parameters for inclusion into the BBWAA further evolves.

Foreman is not specifically known as a writer, although he has recently published work on The New York Times, and blogs on Baseball-Reference. However, his contributions in terms of statistical information has been at the core of countless articles in mainstream and alternative media.

Institutions that also gained inclusion into the BBWAA include AOL Fanhouse, which includes writers such as Ed Price Jeff Fletcher, as well as the St. Louis Globe-Democrat.


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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MLB.com Seeking Stats Stringers For 2010 Season PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 02 December 2009 17:00

MLB.comFor those that are looking to get their foot in the door in baseball, this may be an opportunity.

MLB.com, the Official Site of Major League Baseball, is seeking stats stringers in these markets for the 2010 season:

· Boston
· Cincinnati
· Cleveland
· Detroit
· Miami
· Milwaukee
· Texas

Stats stringers are responsible for digitally scoring games from one of the 30 MLB ballparks, which provides the data used in the live content applications on MLB.com, including Gameday and MLB.TV, real-time highlights and text alerts, and by our business partners. This is a perfect part-time job for a diligent, responsible employee who happens to be a big baseball fan.

Responsibilities include:

  • Arrive at the ballpark no later than one hour prior to the scheduled start time;
  • Double-check and verify all pre-game information: rosters, umpires, weather conditions, etc.;
  • During the game, enter the results of every pitch and game event (plays, substitutions, etc.) using our proprietary software and coding language;
  • Work closely with our game-night support staff (via AOL Instant Messenger) to ensure proper scoring of all game events and accuracy of data;
  • After the game, enter all post-game information: winning and losing pitcher, saves, holds, time and attendance
  • Validate all stats in software box score against the official box score provided by the Official Scorer, and print out a final box score and game text for the club PR staff

Qualifications include:

  • Previous experience (including pressbox exposure) with a professional or college sports team, preferably baseball;
  • Exceptional (and demonstrable) knowledge of baseball and how to score a baseball game;
  • Strong computer proficiency (Windows OS and Windows-based software) and the ability to quickly learn and operate new software;
  • Regular availability to attend games in-person as required by the schedule: weekdays, nights and weekends;
  • A "team player" with a great attitude, including but not limited to a willingness to make and learn from mistakes and the ability to work closely and cooperatively (and take direction from) our game-night staff;
  • Professionalism. It's a fun job and we pay people to watch baseball, but it's also an important job and we want people who will take the responsibility seriously.

(New stringers undergo an 8-10 week correspondence training program, and co-score several practice games in the ballpark with a returning stringer, before scoring any games solo in the ballpark.)

Those interested in applying should send a resume and cover later, addressing the above-listed qualifications, to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

ONLY those who reply to this e-mail address will be considered, and due to volume, we may be unable to respond to all applicants.

Source: MLB.com


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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Dewey Beats Truman? MLB.com Runs Graphic Showing Dodgers Win Game 4 of NLCS PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 19 October 2009 23:37

On par with Dewey Beats Truman? No, but none the less, it shows what happens when getting news out now, collides with a game that’s often times, a case of unpredictablity.

Case in point, this screengrab, courtesy of “DarkNemisis618” on Twitter. Game 4 of the NLCS was a hard fought battle coming right down to the wire. The Dodgers looked like they had it won. The problem was, Jimmy Rollins winds up hitting a two-out, two-run double off Dodger closer Jonathan Broxton to give the Phillies a 5-4 win in dramatic fashion. In case you didn’t already know it, the Phillies are now up, 3-1 in the NLCS with the Dodgers facing elimination on Weds. (8:07 p.m. ET on TBS).


OTHER NEWS FROM THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK

(THE BIZ OF FOOTBALL)

(THE BIZ OF HOCKEY)

(THE BIZ OF BASKETBALL)


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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Review: Postseason.TV Misses The Mark PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 07 October 2009 10:58

Quad View

Postseason.TV gives you a chance to play
director, but doesn't offer the TV feed
you're used to seeing
(Select to see in larger view)

We have to admit, when word of MLB.com’s latest offering, Postseason.TV  arrived late Monday, we were excited. The idea of being able to select custom camera angles, with the option of a “quad view” – four camera views at the same time – sound enticing. After using the product on yesterday’s AL Central tiebreaker, we were left disappointed.

The problem with Postseason.TV is that it’s no replacement for the actual game on television. Whereas MLB.TV and At Bat for iPhone and iPod Touch give you the produced broadcast that you see on television, Postseason.TV is the “dirty” feeds from the various cameras you can select from, with the audio from the produced broadcast. That means no instant replays; for iPhone and iPod Touch, no graphics showing you the score, and; no cutaways when cameras zoom in and out. In a word, you’re always left wanting more and missing something.

At $9.99 for the entire postseason, the price is too steep to recommend as an option for those that can’t get to television to watch on TBS. If you have the extra cash, and have access to a TV to watch at the same time, then you might consider adding Postseason.TV as an extra view of the game. We’re thinking that that audience is exceptionally thin.

Most everything that MLB.com has offered has been gold, but this time, they, and partners Turner Sports and FOX Sports, miss the mark. Unless the produced feed is added into the mix, in baseball parlance, Postseason.TV will be left off our postseason roster.


OTHER NEWS FROM THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK

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(THE BIZ OF HOCKEY)

(THE BIZ OF BASKETBALL)


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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Postseason.TV Gives MLB Fans Customized Camera Angles to Choose From PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 06 October 2009 00:00

Quad View

Select to see in  larger view

The postseason doesn’t officially start until Weds, but starting with today’s AL Central tiebreaker game between the Tigers and Twins (5:07 PM ET, TBS), and continuing through the 2009 MLB postseason, fans can play “director” and decide from several camera selections with the new Postseason.TV offering from MLB.com

The subscription product is being done by MLB.com, in partnership with MLB Postseason national television rightsholders, Turner Sports and FOX Sports, and will be accessible from MLB.com, FoxSports.com on MSN and MLB.com/TBSHotCorner.

Those that subscribe will have the ability to customize their online viewing experience by offering up to 10 different stationary camera angles from tomorrow’s regular season tiebreaker, as well as every MLB Postseason game, blackout free. Postseason.TV delivers a complementary way for viewers to engage with the Division Series and National League Championship Series broadcasts on TBS and the American League Championship Series and World Series on FOX, while, for the first time, offering a complete package of live Postseason games for a one-time fee of $9.95.

Subscribers to PostSeason.TV can choose to watch one of the available camera angles or up to any four different angles simultaneously in the multi-view option. In addition, TBS HotCorner and FOX Feeds will provide access to in-game video highlights, real-time statistics and play-by-play and social media integration through a live Twitter feed.

Pulse Gameday
Select to see in larger view

Adding to the mix, fans will also have the opportunity to make Postseason.TV portable as MLB.com At Bat 2009 for iPhone and iPod touch, will provide mobile access to the same live camera angles as well as the quad mode option.

See http://www.postseason.tv for more details

Tweet From the Peaks and Valleys of Postseason Play

Adding to the social networking environment for the MLB postseason, MLB.com launched a special Twitter integration the Gameday Wrap (see an example from Sunday. Select the “Wrap” tab) this past weekend. You can take a look back at any half-inning, see every related Tweet from that half-inning, watch video highlights and recap every run-scoring play making an interesting look at the pulse of fans for every game as you see the peaks and valleys of Tweets for each game. The new Twitter integration will continue for the postseason in a post-game format, with MLB.com hoping to launch in real-time in 2010.


OTHER NEWS FROM THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK

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(THE BIZ OF HOCKEY)

(THE BIZ OF BASKETBALL)


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

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TBS Studio Team to Post Tweets During MLB Postseason PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 21 September 2009 10:46

MLB on TBSTBS announced that beginning October 7 and continuing throughout the network’s coverage of the MLB Postseason, TBS television announcers will use the Twitter social networking platform to provide additional commentary and analysis of all the Postseason action. The tweets will be featured on the TBS Hot Corner Twitter feed at twitter.com/tbshotcorner.  Among those tweeting will include the TBS studio team of Ernie Johnson, Dennis Eckersley, Cal Ripken Jr. and David Wells along with game announcers Chip Caray, Ron Darling, Buck Martinez, Marc Fein and Craig Sager.

Also returning this season is a redesigned version of TBS Hot Corner on MLB.com (http://www.mlb.com/tbshotcorner). This year, fans will have access to video highlights and interviews from the Division Series and National League Championship Series, as well as exclusive behind the scenes footage from the TBS studio show, Inside the MLB.

Additionally, the TurnerSportsPR Twitter feed at twitter.com/TurnerSportsPR will retweet all TBS Hot Corner Twitter updates.

MLB on TBS will also get fans involved in the game using additional digital platforms allowing them to interact with each other as well as react to the action on the field.

On Friday, Sept. 25, TBS announcers Chip Caray, Buck Martinez and Craig Sager will call one of the most storied rivalries in sports featuring the Boston Red Sox at the New York Yankees.  TBS will have exclusive coverage of all four MLB Division Series and the National League Championship Series beginning Oct. 7.

Name

Twitter Feed

Chip Caray

@MLBonTBSChip

Ron Darling

@MLBonTBSRon

Dennis Eckersley

@MLBonTBSEck

Marc Fein

@tnt_tbsmarc

Ernie Johnson

@TurnerSportsEJ

Buck Martinez

@MLBonTBSBuck

Cal Ripken

@MLBonTBSCal

Craig Sager

@NBAonTNTSager

David Wells

@MLBonTBSBoomer

 

Source: Turner Sports


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Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Review: Roku, MLB.TV Premium Combination a Home Run PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 25 August 2009 03:06
Roku player and MLB.TV Premium
The Roku player coupled with MLB.TV Premium combines near broadcast
quality with a reasonable cost, a simplistic design, and placement flexibility
that make it a great baseball viewing option.

UPDATE: See David Pinto's review of the Roku player on Baseball Musings


For those that follow MLB daily, the mind often drifts into the crossroads of which rich media platform is being considered for purchase, or renewal. Whether it has been MLB Extra Innings, baseball’s out-of-market television package, Gameday audio, XM/Sirius Radio, or MLB.TV for your computer, and now your iPhone or iPod Touch through the At Bat 2009 application, options have been plenty.

For those looking to watch games, it’s been a question of subscribing to MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV – television vs. your computer.

Now, the choice may be MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV not only for the computer, but for your television as a device has come on the scene that moves streaming internet video from small to big screen at the house.

Roku Back Panel

Roku Player Proves Less is More

As home entertainment devices go, the Roku player personifies simplicity. The $99.00 box is small in size, just slightly bigger than your hand, has no controls on the box to speak of, and has nothing but the assorted connection jacks for your television – composite, S-video, and component video outputs, stereo and optical audio outputs and an HDMI integrated audio / video connection – on the back. All navigation occurs with an ultra simple remote control

The device can be connected to the internet via standard ethernet cable or, as we did for this review, using Wi-Fi.

Setup a Snap

Connecting and configuring the Roku player took no more than 10 min. and that was with security settings for our Wi-Fi hub set tight. Booting up the device walks the user through the setup process, beginning with “wired” or “wireless” configurations.

Selecting the wireless setup, the device scans for available wireless clouds in range where the user simply scrolls forward or backward through the available wireless networks to choose from.

Once selected, the device prompts for the wireless hub’s WEP key. If, as we did, have the hub set to only certain MAC addresses, the Roku player automatically detects that the connection to the web is not yet made, and displays the MAC address for the device.

Roku WEP
Security a snap. Enter your wireless hub's WEP key with Roku's remote

MLB.TV Premium via Roku

Once the device is configured and connected to the web, the user can then select the MLB.TV Premium service. Selecting it brings up a code that the user then enters from a special page on MLB.com (see www.mlb.com/roku). Here, MLB.com requests a credit card number for, what they claim is, location purposes for blackouts, which comes across a bit heavy handed in order to lock down the subscriber’s location. Moving past the credit card page, the user enters the code, and within seconds, the Roku player validates the MLB.TV Premium subscription.

Roku remoteSelecting Games

Much as the Roku player is physically designed for simplicity, it’s interface for games is much the same. Using the simple controls of the devices remote, the user is no more than 3 clicks away from a game. Initially, the current day’s games come up, with the user simply scrolling back and forth through the selections. Depending on whether the game is already in progress, the user can select to start at the beginning of the game, or live. You can scroll back through the archive of games from days prior, or see details of the upcoming game schedule in future dates on the calendar.

Quality Near Broadcast

We were skeptical of the picture quality that the Roku device would display with visions of buffering issues and heavy dithering being part of the experience given that we had seen as much when attempting to get to the highest quality picture when testing MLB.TV Premium on our Dell Inspiron laptop. Those fears were calmed from the moment we started viewing conent.

While the picture had some slight dithering on our standard def set, the quality far surpassed expectations. The player detects Internet bandwidth and makes on-the-fly adjustments to provide the highest quality picture and audio possible – up to 720p, so those with more bandwidth such as a dedicated T1 connection should see even better quality than we did using wireless, which was very good.  If one were stuck with making a decision on MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV Premium with a Roku player, consider price: A first time MLB Extra Innings subscription for the entire season was $191.00. The cost of a MLB.TV Premium subscription, plus the Roku player for the entire season is around $200. As you'll see, there are added product perks to the Roku/MLB.TV Premium route that could lure you into possibly passing on MLB Extra Innings.

Wireless + Size = Placement Flexibility

One great selling point from our perspective was the wireless capability coupled with the device’s small size. Have a room that isn’t plumbed for cable or satellite? Using the Roku player gets around the hassle. Want to take in a game down the street with your buddy that doesn’t have MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings? Put the device in your backpack and hook it up at their place. In other words, Roku’s placement options make it a great affordable gadget when a laptop won’t due.

MLB.TV Premium As A Gateway

MLB Advanced Media has been extremely savvy on the vertical product approach with MLB.TV Premium. Before, the product was a “computer only” offering, where now it’s a gateway subscription into several platforms, including the Roku player, Boxee’s player, and At Bat 2009 for iPhone and iPod Touch. Now, the video streaming subscription service has multiple applications making it exceptionally enticing for someone looking to gain access across multiple device platforms as opposed to just television via MLB Extra Innings.

The Future

As MLB.TV Premium continues to penetrate platforms and grow, the streaming service needs to address at least one major shortcoming: dealing with commercial breaks. Now, instead of seeing local commercials, the user gets a splash screens simply saying , “MLB.TV Commercial Break” with no audio.

When viewing on computer, this was annoying, but seemed to come with the online landscape where progress bars for downloads and video buffering have been the norm. On television, the dead air is completely out of place when one is used to broadcast television. MLBAM should see that there is a clear space to place ads, yet another revenue stream to tap.

If You Love Roku, Might You Pass on MLB Extra Innings?

We loved the Roku player given the quality of the picture, ease of setup, and the fact that MLB.TV Premium is the service for its content. Since The Biz of Baseball is bouncing between watching games on laptop and iPhone -- all of which use MLB.TV Premium, the $99.00 price tag for the device will make renewing our MLB Extra Innings subscription a tough decision.

For more information on the Roku player with MLB.TV Premium, see http://www.roku.com/mlb-partner


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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Curt Schilling's 38 Studios Appoints New CEO PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 22 August 2009 09:29

38 StudiosFormer Red Sox, D-Back, and Phillies pitcher Curt Schilling's 38 Studios (www.38studios.com) on Friday announced Jennifer MacLean as the company's new CEO. MacLean was senior vice president of business development.

The announcement comes at the departure of Brett Close as president and CEO. In this role since 2007, Close led the vision and development of the company and its intellectual property, Project Copernicus, and its largest iteration, a massively multiplayer online game.

“I've had the privilege of building 38 Studios to become an established force of IP creation and entertainment,” said Brett Close. “I leave with confidence in the future success of the company and have no doubt its products will excite gamers worldwide.”

Curt Schilling, founder and chairman of 38 Studios stated, “I'm proud to appoint as head of our company such a deserving and extraordinary member of the 38 Studios team. As the new chief executive, Jen will continue the journey in delivering on our vision of creating new entertainment experiences. Brett's leadership over the last three years has well-positioned 38 Studios for the next phase of the company's development. The entire 38 Studios team wishes Brett much success in all his future endeavors.”

Prior to joining 38 Studios in March 2008, MacLean was vice president and general manager of games at Comcast, the largest cable company in the United States. Chairwoman Emeritus of the Independent Game Developers Association, named by Gamasutra as one of the “Top 20 Women in Games,” and listed by Next Generation as one of the game industry’s “100 Most Influential Women,” MacLean has more than fifteen years of extensive experience in online content and interactive entertainment and holds an M.B.A. from Columbia Business School.

“It’s an honor for me to have the opportunity to further contribute to 38 Studios’ future,” stated MacLean. “38 Studios has a high level of responsibility to our consumers and the industry and I will ensure we deliver on that promise. I’m excited about leading the incredible developers here and expanding our strategic vision of allowing customers to interact with our products and stories where, when, and how they want.”

38 Studios, an entertainment and IP creation company, was founded in 2006 by Schilling, and is developing an original fantasy IP driven by the creative and artistic visions of pop-culture icons R. A. Salvatore and Todd McFarlane.

Source: 38 Studios


Maury BrownMaury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is available for hire or freelance. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).

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ESPN Says, Tweet, But Only If It Serves ESPN PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 05 August 2009 02:25

Thoughts after reading the memo:

After reading through ESPN's memo, one can see some value in it. Most of the points are common sense (don't get into a flame war with someone that is baiting you on Twitter or Facebook), but comes back to this: content control.

Twitter has become a news source, which is why those in sports media have been drawn to it like moths to the flame. That undermines going to ESPN, which undermines revenues.

Beyond practicality, the after-effects should be interesting. I imagine some ESPN personalities ratcheting back on tweeting simply for the fact that "better safe than sorry" has now been engrained in them by the memo. It may have been something thrown in by legal, but the end of the memo will have a chilling effect on many:

Any violation of these guidelines could result in a range of consequences, including but not limited to suspension or dismissal.


UPDATE #3: The SportsBusiness Daily has contacted SI to see if they are considering a similar policy to ESPN's. SI VP/Communications Scott Novak said this morning, “We view writer communication with social media platforms as an extension of what they’re already doing with many TV networks. Our mission is to deliver SI’s award-winning journalism to fans through every medium, including social media communications”


UPDATE #2: Mashable has the memo made available to them, which we are republishing below


UPDATE: The New York Times reports that ESPN issued a "12 guidelines to its employees about social networking on Tuesday", confirming Bucher's comments on Twitter.

“We’ve been in the social networking space for a long time, and will continue to be there,” said Chris LaPlaca, an ESPN spokesman. “But we want to be smarter about how we do it.” He said that Bucher’s “interpretation of the policy is mistaken.”

Bucher's comments center on the guideline that reads, “The first and only priority is to serve ESPN-sanctioned efforts, including sports news, information and content.”

The memo adds, that being in violation of the guildlines could be grounds for suspension or dismissal.


A couple of weeks ago, word started to get out that a social networking policy was in the offing for sports broadcasting giant ESPN. It wasn’t clear what form the policy would take, but at the time, it caused more than one at the Worldwide Leader to say that they’d be passing on our Social Networking and Sports Summit, mentioning they’d rather be safe than sorry.

Now, that policy appears to be in place.

ESPN has sent a memo to at least one prominent personality where the instructions may set a precedent as to how the wide-open social networking platform is to be used by other media outlets.

Ric Bucher, the NBA analyst for ESPN, and ESPN.com, who is also a senior writer for ESPN the Magazine, broke the news of the memo on, what else? Twitter.

“The hammer just came down, tweeps: ESPN memo prohibiting tweeting info unless it serves ESPN. Kinda figured this was coming. Not sure what this means but…”

Bucher added, “My guess is I can still tweet about my vacation/car shopping, etc. Which I will do, if I can. But the informal NBA talk is [probably] in jeopardy.”

It’s the latter that should be focused on. The informal communications with fans and fellow columnists such as Bill Simmons have been refreshing. The ability of columnists to communicate openly on Twitter has created a bonding culture with fans, and given personality to some figures that may have otherwise seemed drab.

ESPN, on the other hand, may be looking at the possible PR landmines that come with writers and on-air personalities out from behind the editorial purview. As we’ve seen with Minnesota Timberwolves Forward/Center Kevin Love, you can accidentally break news on Twitter, and create unwanted PR flak.

So, preventing a possibly embarrassing tweet could be ESPN’s goal. On one hand, the behemoth from Bristol didn’t tell all the prominent personalities to shut down their Twitter accounts, something that would have thrown red flags far and wide, but according to the ESPN guidelines, those that do tweet will be relegated to nothing more than PR machines, touting new columns, mentioning when and where they may be on the air. With word of the memo now out in the open, ESPN’s tweets may come across as having nothing more than a slick veneer, something terribly out of place on Twitter.

As to whether all employees at ESPN will be under the policy, at this stage it does not appear to be the case. Several behind-the-scenes employees of ESPN have said they have not been contacted, and at least one prominent writer reports that they have yet to receive the memo Bucher refers to. However, a "memo" implies that more than just Ric Bucher will be contacted about this change in policy. In the meantime, when normally informal tweets break way to PR-speak, you can surmise that another key ESPN personality has probably been hit with the same memo as Bucher.

Select Read More to see the ESPN memo details

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