Thursday, September 27, 2012

How Tweet It Is For The NFL

The impact of social media on the sports world had not been as evident as it has become over the past few days. Especially for NFL fans.

Obviously, the biggest sports story of the week (and perhaps the entire season) was Monday night's referee fiasco at the conclusion of the Green Bay vs. Seattle game. ESPN did a tremendous job of covering the reaction and providing analysis of the play that changed the season. Not just because they televised the game and had access to resources at the stadium and with the NFL.

It was social media that added even more to the thorough ESPN coverage that extended into the following day on their SportsCenter and other shows. Wisely, ESPN showed numerous Twitter comments, including from players on both the Packers and Seahawks as well as players from around the NFL. Their providing this brought fans additional input about how players and team personnel were feeling and dealing with the situation. In the 'old days', when reporters would pick up the phone and attempt to get players and team personnel to comment for use on the air, many players would either say "no comment", or ask that their comments not be used on the air. They would not want to be linked to anything controversial and/or something they would have to defend later.

But with Twitter and Facebook, reporters are able to find direct quotes from the players (and team and league personnel) which are public and use them to contribute to their news stories and coverage. I give ESPN a ton of credit for having a system in place that enabled them to gather and present comments from players and others from around the country within a short period of time.

Even though the SportsCenter format of moving from sport to sport to sport and not having a flow for viewers especially interested in one sport or league can be annoying, the fact that the SportsCenter which followed the Packers vs. Seahawks game attracted record numbers for SportsCenter shows that fans are thinking ESPN for breaking sports news.

The NFL has had its share of other social media dealings this month. There was the recent situation where a fan of the K.C. Chiefs went on Twitter and in a moment of frustration blasted the team's ownership and its unwillingness to spend the big bucks. It seems that someone in the front office of the Chiefs saw this Tweet, and sent out a Twitter reply via the team's offical feed which questioned this fan's knowledge and told him it was "your choice to be a fan". It seems the team also went ahead and blocked this fan from the team's Twitter account.

Then it turns out that the team official apologized. However, since the fan was blocked from future tweets, the fan was not aware of any apology and had already spread the word about getting such a negative response from the team.

(For those not aware of all of this, the specifics are at )

As a result, there was more embarrassment caused to the Chiefs than to this fan based on this story getting out into the media. Obviously, without this form of social media, we don't have this story. But because of it, millions of NFL fans are aware of how a team official berated one of its fans publicly.

Then, on Sunday (9/23), those DirecTV viewers with Sunday Ticket who were watching the overtime of the Detroit vs. Tennessee game saw an accidental and very ill-timed start to a commercial during the game's most important play. As the game-tying "hail Mary" pass was completed to Titus Young, commercial started and played for a few seconds. Viewers missed anywhere from part of the actual play to the immediate reaction, depending on the timing of their local system. And how do we know this? Because, obviously, fans who spend hundreds of dollars to have Sunday Ticket went to Twitter and Facebook to express their frustration with DirecTV, regardless of their feeling about the outcome of one of the most exciting games we'll have all season.

Tie it all together, and it shows how many facts, opinions, and incidents we wouldn't otherwise know about if it wasn't for social media.

Not all of the social media use is good, but at least social media gives us the ability to move ahead to the next post and/or delete and move on.

Take the case of Comcast SportsNet Chicago earlier this week. Their news feed, usually consisting of local sports news, interviews, and features, included sending out the video of a brand new commerical featuring Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls. Asking fans to watch a commercial just because it features a local star seems a bit much for what is otherwise presented as a news organization.

Meanwhile, CBS Sports Radio Network is adding the Jim Rome Show to its national network lineup to start on January 2nd. What this does is helps to make CBS Sports Radio a formidable option for stations, and perhaps listeners in smaller markets, instead of Fox Sports Radio programming.

TBS has put together its announcing teams for its upcoming MLB post-season coverage. The number one team will be Ernie Johnson along with John Smoltz and Ron Darling. Look for them to call the Yankees games (if and as they make the post-season and win the first round) for both its ALDS and ALCS coverage. Brian Anderson will call a division series along with Joe Simpson. In addition, the other two division series will have announcing teams of Dick Stockton and Bob Brenly, as well as Don Orsillo and Buck Martinez, who have (with the exception of Brenly) worked multiple seasons on the TBS post-season coverage. Although Smoltz and Darling each do solid jobs as analysts, it does not make sense to have two pitchers and no position players in analyst roles at the game.

ATLANTA: The Game 92.9 Sports Radio will now make its debut in mid-October, and should be announcing its lineup within the next few days. I suppose that since this is a CBS station they want to get somewhat established before the first of the year and the new national network. Yet, the timing of this is strange. The start of this station could come more than a week after the Braves play their last game, although they could be in the NLCS at the time. The football season is well underway, obviously, meaning that the pro and college football fans most likely already have the football based shows they listen to already established.

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