NBC Sports/Twitter to Partner During Olympics

Following the announcement two weeks ago that NBC Sports would be working with Facebook during the Olympics, comes word today that NBC Sports will partner with Twitter to provide unique social media content during the games.

Twitter will launch a page dedicated to NBC’s coverage of the Olympics at  The page will aggregate content from various NBC Olympic Twitter accounts, including @NBCOlympics, @Olympics, @USOlympic.  The networks of NBCUniversal that are airing Olympic programming will promote the Twitter page, including in primetime on NBC, as well as additional on-air promotion and content integration.

The partnership also calls for the reprising of the NBC Olympic Twitter Tracker, a visually compelling real time heat map depicting the minute-by-minute movements of the Olympic conversation on Twitter.

“With the eyes of the world focused on London, there is no doubt that the conversation on Twitter will rage around the competition, the athletes and the incredible stories from the Games,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics in a press release. “This partnership with Twitter will enable NBC Olympics to make an enormous contribution to this conversation, bringing to the swarm of attention surrounding the London Games our expertise, depth of content from our years of preparation, and the unique access to the Games only NBC Olympics has in London.”

Sports Media Digest- May 15, 2012

Golf Channel Gets High Viewership for Players Championship-  The week-long coverage of The Player’s Championship on the Golf Channel was the highest-rated and most-watched week in the history of the network’s coverage of the event.  Average ratings (.17) and viewers (171,000) for the week both were 15 percent higher than the previously high marks for each category in 2007 and 2010, respectively, and 38 and 44 percent higher than last year.

ESPN/Twitter Announce Collaboration- ESPN announced a strategic collaboration with Twitter that will offer fans and advertisers unique, interactive programs around major sporting events.  Beginning with the NBA Finals the partners hope the collaboration will give marketers a clear and powerful way to link on-air and online social conversations around sports.  For the NBA Finals ESPN and Twitter will promote GameFace, where fans will be encouraged to tweet photographs of their “game face” throughout the finals.  At the conclusion of each game, NBA Tonight analysts will highlight the competition and reveal the best photographs on-air.  The best photos will also be featured in a photo gallery on

Robin Roberts Gets Back into Sports with New Show-  ESPN, espnW, and ABC News are working together to produce In the Game with Robin Roberts.  The Good Morning America anchor and former ESPN’er will host the program which will feature interviews with accomplished female athletes.  The eight episode feature will air every Thursday beginning this week between 9:00am.m and 12:00p.m. ET on SportsCenter.  The segments will also be featured prominently online on and ABC

ESPN Launches New Radio App for IOS-  ESPN has announced the launch of a new app for ESPN Radio for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.  The new app provides personalized sports listening experience both live and on demand and includes a new feature that allows fans to build their own sports stations. Additionally, fans now have the option to rewind live audio streams, including ESPN Deportes Radio.  Versions for Android and Windows 7 smartphones are slated to launch later this summer.

24/7: Road to Pacquiao/Bradley Debuts This Weekend-  HBO Sports continues its 24/7 series this weekend with a preview of the Manny Pacquiao/Timothy Bradley bout.  24/7: Road to Pacquiao/Bradley, the behind-the-scenes look at the fighters preparing for their June fight debuts Saturday at 10:15p.m. ET.

A Call For Respectful Social Media Practitioners This Super Bowl Sunday

I don’t need to tell this audience the impact social media has in our lives.  Although I don’t contribute as much as others, I get more information from Twitter, Google+ and, to a lesser extent, Facebook than anywhere elese.

News breaks on social media every day.  Depending on who I “friend”, “follow” or “circle” the links in my browser bookmarks have become obsolete.  We see stories develop before your eyes by following the people who are on the ground at revolutions (Egypt, Libya), natural disasters (Japanese earthquake), or other major news events where the media has yet to stake a claim.  It’s true “people journalism”.

With all these connections we make there is bound to be a certain amount of noise–tweets or status updates which mean little to us but we put up with to get the information and interaction we value by being a member of these social networks.

The noise problem, however,  is more prevelant during a large sporting or entertainment event viewed by a wide television audience.  Expect the noise to reach historic proportions this Sunday during Super Bowl XLVI.

I, like many of you, will watch the game on television and follow my friends on social media at the same time.  But I must admit, I’ll likely close the laptop before the end of the first quarter if what’s trended during my social media expereince in the past resurfaces.

As an example, let’s go through a scenerio that will likely play out this Sunday in Indianapolis….Tom Brady throws a touchdown pass to Aaron Hernandez.  (I would have gone with Rob Gronkowski but his status for the game is still far from certain).  As soon as that play is over, my social media stream will get flooded with the following, or something similar:

Brady to Hernandez, Pats lead 7-0.
Clutch throw! 
Pats on top!

What’s the value of this?  Why state the obvious? There will be over 100 million people watching the game.  For those providing updates on the score, do you really feel that I’m waiting for YOUR update to find out what’s happening in the Super Bowl?    Dude, you’re not that important.

I love the insightful and amusing comments that come up during the game.  Some of them about the Super Bowl ads will be must-read tweets.   Unfortunately they get drowned out by this drivel.  Now I’m not naive to think that my social media streams will be filled with useful information 24 hours a day.  But at times it’s easier for me to shut down than tune out.  I don’t want to have to do that.

This Super Sunday think about your audience before you tweet.  Be considerate of their expereince.  Show your excitement.  But do so that adds to, not detracts from, most people’s social media expereicne.

What’s Right and What’s Wrong with Sports Media- Online Resources

In the final installment of what I think is good and bad with sports media I’ll take a look at how sports media is using online resources to get out information.

Not much has changed on how traditional media organizations have covered sports online.  The only thing that is new since 2007 is more of them are employing the use of multimedia (video, podcasts, etc) on their sites.  That’s a good thing.

I am disturbed by a trend I’ve seen develop that I feel is bad for sports journalism.  What I’m talking about here is the sensationalizing of sports news.  Those of you who have read SMJ know that I am a traditionalist when it comes to the coverage of sports.  There are more websites available today whose mission it is to find dirt on athletes.  I understand gossip sells.  Those sites have every right to conduct business.  (God Bless America!)  It doesn’t mean I need to embrace it or condone it.

I continue to maintain that everyone is entitled to privacy, whether they are in public or not.  Seeing a sports star in a bar with a beautiful young lady means little as to how that person performs on the field.  Criminal activity and/or league investigations of off-the-field indiscretions do warrant coverage.  Seeing Aaron Rodgers at a bar is meaningless to me.

What troubles me more than the sensational reporting is how traditional news outlets run with these stories for fear of losing its audience.  Even though he has since changed his tune, what Buzz Bissinger said in 2008 on HBO to me holds true today.  Many of these gossip sites cater to the lowest common denominator of our society.  There is no redeeming value in its publication.   My greatest fear is that the younger generations, when asked where they get their “sports news”, will reference one of these gossip websites.  How can this be good?  (Off soapbox)

There is no doubt that the biggest impact in the online coverage of sports is the use of social media.  The 24 hour news cycle is not partitioned into minutes and seconds by the use of social media platforms.  More reporters and the athletes they cover are taking their message to the people in short, consistent spurts.

Facebook has well over 600 million users.  However I don’t use it to get my sports news.  I use it more to get in touch with family and friends.

Twitter, however, is an information junkie’s elixir.  I get more information from Twitter than any other source.  With that said Twitter does have its drawbacks.

First, if you are a reporter and tweet as part of your job…get separate Twitter accounts for personal and professional use.  I must say that when I see a personal tweet from someone I follow professionally,  I cringe.  I have multiple Twitter accounts.  My SMJ account deals with sports media news.  I have a separate account where I tweet my personal thoughts and follow close family and friends.

I understand the usefulness of hashtags in categorizing tweets.  But I think the Twitterverse has evolved into hashtag overload, coming up with tags that are meaningless to the topic.  For example, let’s say I’m following a story on Twitter about the NFL labor negotiations and one of the hashtags is “#isntthisacrazyworldwelivein” (I made that up, but I’m sure it exists). What relevance does that have to to the story?

The last thing that I hate about Twitter, regardless of whether it’s my personal or professional account, is when people feel they’re the sole or most reliable source of information on any issue…including big sporting events.  Few things are as annoying to me as when I read “Jordy Nelson, TD Packers” during the Super Bowl.  Do people really think I’m monitoring your feed to get updates on football’s biggest game of the year?   The best use of Twitter play-by-play are of events that are not being viewed by millions of people.  Don’t be afraid to take a Twitter break every now and then.


That sums up my week-long look at what I think is right and wrong with sports media in 2011.  It’s just one man’s opinion.  Shoot me some ideas as to what you’d like to see covered here at SMJ.  Thanks for listening

Anti-social (media) in the NFL

A day after we read about how the Dolphins don’t want anyone — media or fans — using Twitter at training camp, Twitter was shut down today for hours by some kind of hack attack. You don’t mess with Bill Parcells.

Twitter has been very much in the sports news lately. The Dolphins story comes on the heels of a little brouhaha over ESPN’s directives regarding its employees’ use of social media. (For the record, I agree with our esteemed site host, Keith, on this matter.)

To avoid disturbing golfers with ringing and calls, tournaments make spectators surrender cell phones before entering a course, but this is an entirely different matter. An NFL team making sure you can’t tweet from the stands while it runs through drills is the height of football paranoia. If what happens on the field is that super secret, why are the practices and scrimmages open to the public?

Hope I didn’t risk having this site shut down by expressing that opinion.

ESPN and Social Media Policy- A Case of PYA

There are quite a few people all a-twitter today about ESPN…and Twitter.

The news broke yesterday afternoon that ESPN had instituted a new policy for employees when it comes to their use of social media.  SMJ buddy Ken Fang gives his opinion and has the ESPN memo over at Fang’s Bites…

Those out there who savor every morsel of opinion on Twitter and other social media outlets may be disappointed over the new ESPN directive, but lets look at it from the WWL’s corporate point of view.  ESPN is looking to protect its brand and content.  And it’s entirely appropriate for them to do so.  Their policy is no different from any other a company creates to ensure that employees remain dedicated to the place where they draw a paycheck.

I’m sure companies in other fields have similar social media policies in place to protect against the leak of trade secrets and inter-office policies and procedures.  Even the leaking of such a social media policy could be in violation of it!

Twitter, Facebook, and other forms of social media have added a level of communication that has become an integral part of people’s lives.  I, myself, cannot get through a day without peaking at my TweetDeck account periodically.   I use Twitter to cross promote posts here at SMJ and periodically (sparingly, really) tweet in response to what I read.  I do not want to waste people’s time telling them when I go to the water closet.  (Speaking of which, I love following those of you I do on Twitter, but some of you really need to take a break from time to time.)

ESPN is smart in trying to make sure that the use of social media benefits their mission.   And for those of you still peeved about not hearing from your ESPN Twitterers,  Ken Fang wrote on Twitter early this morning (Get some sleep, Ken);

I’m thinking when this whole ESPN/Twitter thing sorts out, that the Tweets will be allowed, they’ll be posted at ESPN and Twitter together.

Just ESPN protecting its ass.

Added:  Chris Byrne summarizes the argument well over at Eye on Sports Media.

Sounding like a twit on Twitter

Thanks to the Stet Sports blog, I got a chance to kill some time and brain cells by reading Twitter messages from Ravens backup quarterback Troy Smith (warning: coarse language). As Stet points out: “From profanity to drug references to vulgar thanks extended to Cleveland party goers, here’s one instance of when keeping it Twitterrific goes horribly wrong.”

(I suppose, to be fair, we could acknowledge the possibility this isn’t really Smith.)

A few examples (my editing of the obscenities):

  • “I’d buy every different type of bud in the World…lol” (in response to teammate Fabian Washington)
  • Twiggaz, I f—- wit Cle. ya’ll came out and rocked wit us las night, without ya’ll it wouldn’t have been that way, ya’ll the f—– best…”
  • We gone try to get you in Cleveland for that gansta s—, all that other s— weak…”
  • “Party, Party, Party, let’s all get wasted…” (again to Washington)

When is that first random drug test?


Sunday morning Twitter

CNN’s Reliable Sources this morning featured a discussion about Twitter and journalism with the network’s Rick Sanchez and columnist Gregg Doyel. Sanchez makes Twitter an integral part of his daily program; Doyel says Twitter makes us all dumber.

Sanchez said he has learned more about what is going on recently in Iran via Twitter than he has via any traditional media source, including CNN. Doyel, who writes compelling and often-provocative columns for CBSSports, said Twitter is just a lot of “white noise.”

I think part of what Doyel was saying could be extended to the Internet in general — that there is lots of uninformed, stupid junk out there (you know, like the stuff I write).  So, yes, Twitter can descend into “white noise.” However, we don’t all pay attention to everything. So we ignore the tweets from the guy who tells us what he’s eating for lunch, but we click on the link to a well-written piece recommended by someone else whose opinion has proven worthwhile.

What didn’t come up in the discussion, however, was the point about how using Twitter as a source of reporting is fraught with the danger of fraud. That tweet from Tehran? How do we know it’s not really coming from Hoboken? It’s one thing to allow anonymous opinion to flourish but quite another to assume you’re getting the facts on the ground from every mouse click.

(By the way, you add to your white noise by following me on Twitter via @MediumWellGuy.)

Come Tweet with Us

twittersmallMy generational deficiencies are still prohibiting me from fully grasping this social networking. micro-blogging movement. With that said I realize that we at SMJ need to get on the bandwagon. So we have.

For those of you inclined to use Twitter, SMJ now has an account, where all our future posts will be added.

Follow us if you wish.  If not, a visit to the site will do us just fine.  Either way, thanks for checking in!