Why Pro Sports Need Newspapers

Pro sports, every single league, from the NFL to NBA to MLB to MLS to NHL need newspapers. This need exists because of what internet sports reporting has become, and how LOCAL team fans have evolved to use the net.

There is no shortage of coverage of professional sports on the webs.  There is a long list of sites, large and small that provide the same “sports site essentials”.  Scores, news, columnists/blogs, rumors, stats, video interviews and highlights, standings and discussion forums, with a focus on the “outrage of the day”. Then of course there are the league websites that provide much of the same in a sanctioned and sanitized version.  In essence, the home pages of these   network sites have become exactly what the 6pm CBS Network News was. A compendium of what the editors think are the major stories of the day.  Just as reporters were assigned by CBS to cover “whats important”,  the sites assign columnists to cover “whats important”. Unfortunately ‘whats important’ means we are condemned to T.O., Sean Avery and Stephan Marbury’s contract status all the time.   Of course the net has the advantage of unlimited shelf space for each team, but the reality is that individual team or player coverage is nothing more than aggregation of other sources and stats unless something they consider newsworthy happens.

Bottom line is that despite the huge volume of sports coverage, the local coverage of teams for the most part sucks. There is little depth and certainly not the consistent coverage of a newspaper with a team beatwriter or 2.  Thats a  bad scenario for sports leagues. Teams in every league need as much local coverage as we can get. The more stories that are written by sportswriters and columnists, the more opportunities for fans to connect and stay connected to our teams.

The natural response of course is to write more on the team website and to create and support local bloggers who write about your team. Which is exactly what most teams do. The mavs have mavs.com, mavswiki.com, friends.mavs.com and we support a variety of different blogs. We have internet and mobile editions and are expanding all the above. The reality however,  is that if you count  the entire universe of LOCAL  Mavs fans that go to these sites, they are a fraction of people who read about the Mavs in the Dallas Morning News and the Ft Worth Star Telegram print editions.

More importantly, those fans that go to the national sports sites, the local team website and blogs are our customers and hard core fans. While we  will do everything possible to keep them happy, they are easy to reach.  The newspapers reach our hardest to connect to  customers, the casual fan.

I’m a fan of the Dallas Stars, the Cowboys, Rangers and the Burn. I have never been to the website of any of them. I get my scores and AP summary for my favorite teams on My Yahoo page. Any timely or topical information I get  from the Newspaper.  Its just easier for me to pick up the sports page and see at least something about each team.

The Dallas papers have about 500k unique print readers every day. Figure about 70pct read the sports page on any given day. Those 350k users are more than the daily unique local users of most if not all teams in our market.  More importantly, from a business perspective, because their customer base skews older, they dont use the net as a primary source of data,  they have more disposable income to buy tickets and merchandise for themselves, their businesses and their families. In other words, their customers pay  our bills.

The problem of course is that newspapers are pushing themselves to the point of irrelevancy.  They have cost structures that dont support they business they think they are in.  They don’t have a vision on what a profitable future might look like.  They are getting crushed by disappearing advertising revenues .  They are doing what anyone in their position would do, they are cutting every penny they can and praying for divine intervention.  Professional Sports Leagues and teams, if we want to continue to connect to our local casual sports fan, needs to work with our local papers to try to keep them alive as long as possible.

The question is how ?

In the technology business, when a company wants its retail products to get visibility and sales among shoppers, its not unusual for the vendor to pay for a salesrep to be on the retailers salesfloor exclusively selling and promoting their products. When a vendor wants to get shelf space in other retail environments, it buys endcaps. Often through softmoney which are in the form of rebates to the retailer. Its time for the pro sports leagues to take a page from that playbook and  expand our newspaper shelfspace.

My suggestion to the powers that be in the leagues I have spoken to is to have the leagues work together and create a “beatwriter co-operative” .  We need to create a company that funds, depending on the size of the market and number of teams, 2 or more writers per market, to cover our teams in depth.  The writers would  cover multiple teams and multiple sports. They will report to the newspapers where the articles will be placed, who will have complete editorial control. In exchange, the newspapers will provide a minimum of a full page on a daily basis in season, and some lesser amount out of season. That the coverage will include game reporting that is of far more depth than is currently in place, along with a minimum number of feature articles each week in and out of season.  And most importantly, these articles will be exclusive to print subscribers.  They can do all the ad supported short summaries online and minute by minute blog posts and tweets  they would like.  To make this work,  print editions and subscriber only online sites have to become the defacto destinations for in depth and unique coverage .  They have to become the local version of ESPN.com’s for pay  “ESPN Insider”

Buying anything more than small ads in papers  to promote price promotions for the Mavs has not worked for us. I would far rather subsidize in depth coverage of the Mavs, even without any editorial control then spend more money on advertising. Im a firm believer that there is a foundation of readers who use the sports pages as their primary source of local team information. That number may not be as big as it used to be, nor will it be as big in the future. Thats ok.  The numbers may not make the newspaper shareholders happy, but they are of sufficient numbers to have an impact on the local sports market.

Taking a cooperative approach could create a win win for leagues, teams and newspapers.  Letting the newspapers go belly up and depending on our own websites, blogs, newspaper websites  and national sports websites to communicate with our fans, in particular our casual fans, IMHO, is a recipe for disaster.  The cost to reach those fans in a newspaperless world over the next 5to 7 years will cost us far more than working with newspapers today to try to help them.

The math is pretty simple and straight forward. If there are 32 top markets, with an average of 3 teams, thats 96 teams. If you need an average of 3 writers per market, thats about 100 writers. Pay them 65k per year, plus 10k in benefits, and thats 75k per team per year. Index that by market size and team revenues, and that means the biggest market teams probably pay 150k per year, and the smallest markets pay 50k per team per year.  Thats not far out of line with what you would pay to get an experienced sportswriter for your website, with a lot more payoff. For the newspapers, its a way to get employees off the books, retain good writers that have a history with the papers and teams, and actually improve their publications. For the price of 2 pages of newsprint a day.

I know this is in violation of all previous principles of editorial church and state, but then again, watching papers going out of business and not even being able to give themselves away means its time to start a new branch of that church. Having the world of professional sports realize the value of locally created content, available in an offline format, might just be a proactive step that saves us a lot of money in the long run

At worst, its a starting point for discussion

Let me also add, that with the recession and the downturn in advertising for the online marketplace, while not nearly as bad as the newspaper business, the online sports marketplace is starting to have its challenges as well. Traffic, particularly domestic traffic is not really growing for traditional sports sites. Advertising for all but the biggest sites are falling. The same problems that are trashing newspaper profitability are creeping up on websites. To have any dependency on independent websites for coverage of our leagues and teams, could turn into a big problem for us if the blogs and websites we think help us, disappear.

The leagues and teams depend on quantity and quality of coverage. We need to recognize the weaknesses of those we depend on and start addressing them today

Update: If you are interested in the newspaper publishing business, this is the most interesting article I have found so far.

107 thoughts on “Why Pro Sports Need Newspapers

  1. Thought of this post when I read this morning’s news about John Henry (Red Sox owner) being willing to “take on” the troubled Boston Globe as incentive for the NY Times Co. to sell him their stake in the Sox. Maybe a win-win for Henry and the Sox in the long run, huh? Also thought it was interesting how this story barely rates mention outside of Boston, but probably would have raised eyebrows only a few years ago (a team buying one of the major papers that covers them).

    Comment by John DeRisi -

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  5. Ed Hardy shirts

    Comment by hrewj -

  6. Mark,
    I don’t know if you check back postings, but I just saw this one via Brian Windhorst via Bill Simmons and I absolutely agree. If you’re ever looking to get a guy to do that for you, no joke, I’d gladly drop everything and move to Dallas. You talk to the guys at the Morning News and Star-Telegram about publishing it, and I’ll spend every day of my life at your facility if I need to. I work at a newspaper, I personally know the grim realities of the industry, and I also know the difference great beat writing can have on a fan base. After all, I’m from Portland, and Blazers fans are as diehard as they come. The reason for that is the Oregonian has done a phenomenal job for the entirety of my lifetime of covering the team. I have favorite teams in every major sport, plus college, but the only one who I follow through the local paper is the Blazers, and it’s because of the writers.

    Comment by Josh Lehman -

  7. I live in DC…i learned to read the sports page after the Bullets beat the Bucks 115-114 on the night before Easter in 1982 as a 6 year old…I was wondering how many pts Frank Johnson had scored, and my dad pointed the way…this was a watershed moment in my life. At age 34, i comb the papers on the web every day.

    Learning of the Seattle PI’s demise was very disheartening…and that is why even though your logic is undisputable, in a situation like the PI’s, saving the Sports page would have done little to stop the hemorhagging…yours is a solution for only part of the problems that plague our nations’ papers….and saving one section of the local paper would help your business and that newspaper division’s bottom line, but how would it make their foreign bureaus, out of town bureaus profitable? How would it pay for the movie critics? Or the book critics? Make them profitable…no easy answers.

    There needs to be more regulation on the number of media outlets one conglomerate can own. The NY Times and Trib Co models have been exposed as failures. For everyone. It’s tantamount to Clear Channel driving everyone to pay radio…which is a failure in as much as charging people to get their news on the net would be. The newspapers should have stuck to their guns with the pay per view model. Instead they panicked and gave away the farm.

    There are no easy solutions when everyone fancies himself a writer, and newspapers are a casualty of choice in this country. By casualty of choice, what I mean is that we as a populace are overburdened with an abundance of choices. We can get our news anywhere, we can ask a web browser a very specific question and get an answer uniquely detailed to our needs. Why comb thru a paper? We are already at a computer for work in a lot of cases.

    Also, how are we going to compensate for the fact that people are so rushed in their day to day that they don’t have time to sit and reflect on the news at breakfast, or sit down and read the paper at lunch?

    The most effective era for the newspaper was when they still maintained evening delivery. A man would come home and have his martini and the daily news. He didn’t feel the need to have his news right away, prematurely reported in many cases. Yesterday’s man seemed more patient, able to wait until news was accurate, and well written.

    It’s organic competition that drove newspapers to compete in getting the news out as fast as possible. But you don’t undercook food to serve your customers faster, so there has to be a balance. And for print media, there is no substitute for the time that goes into the process, as far as the recipe for success. Web based media can put what amounts to twitters up in a matter of seconds, but is it really better?

    I love to read the news on the web, and I think that a very simple solution to help save the print divisions of their newspapers would be this:

    Simply charge everyone who gets their news on the net $5.00 a month to their credit card, and bundle in access to every newspaper in heavily populated areas…this is way cheaper than they would pay for a home subscription and it would include access to all the newspapers.

    Money could be distributed after someone derives a program to determine which papers got the most hits, that way merit is still rewarded.

    This would easily lead to 100MM a month or 1.2B a year to be split up…assuming 20MM people out there just go ahead and sign right up with their debit cards.

    Waddya think?

    Comment by Chuck -

  8. As a young sports fan (ex Mavericks Ballkid), I never read any newspapers but go to espn.com every day. That being said, I love reading articles and commentary focusing in detail on my favorite teams. I always get my detailed Mavericks information from The Two Man Game blog (www.thetwomangame.com).

    I think the idea of beat writers is great but needs to avoid newspapers and focus on the new age of media- interactive online newspapers and articles, email, iPhone aps, Facebook aps, etc. It’s safe to say that our generation will log on Facebook more times in a month than they will sit down and read a newspaper in their entire life.

    Comment by Richard -

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  10. Besides salary, the key costs in covering baseball is travel. There are more away games in baseball than any other sport, and baseball plays more pre season games than any other sports. What baseball teams, and other pro sports should do is to allocate 4-6 spots on the team plane for beat reporters and to book a couple of hotel rooms for traveling reporters. The purists will scream, saying that journalists should pay their own way but that premise has long disappeared from journalism. Journalists don’t pay for entry to sporting events, turn down invitations to media parties or the free food spread in most press boxes, so accepting free travel and lodging would not be too much a strech from the freebies the press now receives. The only way Cuban’s plan would work would be owners agreed to forfit ownership of their teams if they prevent critical reporters from traveling with the team.

    Comment by harryo -

  11. I though this was a good post. There still is good market for newspapers. I think this would be a success in certain large local markets if it had the backing and good reporters and a good product.

    Comment by Laura E -

  12. Smartest comments I have seen regarding the future of newspapers yet.

    Comment by Mike -

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  14. Come on Mr Cuban. You really think teams are going to fund these writers and expect absolutely NO editorial control?

    You think they’re going to allow these journalists to write negative stories about their teams?

    It would effectively be propaganda.

    If it weren’t for this reality, it would be a good idea.

    Comment by Greg Tanner -

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  16. I agree that press credentials are a waste of time for many bloggers and probably are for me to since my readership is national in scope it probably doesn’t make sense unless you want a local blog with national reach. Of the 10,220 unique visist we have had from Jan 1 thru Jntoday, less than 500 are local.

    Comment by the sporting muse -

  17. So teams should pay the media for coverage? The media has made money for years covering the teams and quite often have ruined many lives in doing so. What goes around, comes around. Sorry for the bbehind the scenes people, but seeing jerks like Jay Marriotti and Skip Bayless go down in flames would be enjoyable to watch.

    Comment by Seinsmeld -

  18. I think you should give the money to me so I can start A business.
    do more investment, and start to enjoy your money more.
    I know you love your team, no question about that, sometime you must let
    your workers do there job that’s why you pay them the big buxx$$$.
    invest in me, give someone on opportunity.
    time is too hard now for you to dump your money in the garbage.
    am full with idea, but am empty with no money.

    thank you

    Comment by Devon Lewis -

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  22. Mark,

    Very interesting article; my name is Rick Waghorn and for the last two years I’ve been doing exactly what you’re suggesting via http://www.myfootballwriter.com/norwichcity.

    And on the basis if I can do football out of Norwich, why can’t someone do baseball out of Boston, basketball out of Baltimore and hockey out of Philadelphia I also own http://www.mybasketballwriter.com http://www.mybaseballwriter.com http://www.myhockeywriter.com … and have blogged about their Stateside potential here…

    http://outwithabang.rickwaghorn.co.uk/?p=121

    Be nice to chat; given that I’m seriously pondering divesting myself of those three urls to an interested US party…

    All the best, etc

    Rick (Waghorn).

    Comment by Rick Waghorn -

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  24. Mark

    Greetings!

    Great article.

    Check out http://www.WEEI.com.

    It is designed to achieve just what you are talking about.

    -Provide Quality Regional / Local Content and Sports Coverage
    -Pick up where the Newspapers are dropping off
    -In a new, creative and interactive way

    Jim

    Comment by Jim -

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  26. Mr. Cuban:

    It’s a fact that the medium is undergoing monumental and uncharted change these days. There have even been some reports/speculation that the New York Times, even, may not survive as a print newspaper.

    You, obviously, have the technological know-how and passion to succeed that, if given the chance (or sold a marquee-type paper, which was strong in sports coverage, as well, you could show how it could be done. I think if you had the chance to implement some of what you know and you believe, you have as good (actually better) chance as anyone to prove an owner/publisher can make something out of a media outlet such as a paper — with both print and online presence — as opposed to watching over its slow death, as so many media owners/management seem to be doing.

    That being said, I think because of your background and your desire to win and not just compete or exist, you may be the one person around who could A) save my employer, the Chicago Sun-Times and B) make it into something that will be vital in the early 21st Century. We know you love Chicago, what better way to have a business interest in the city so that you can have more excuses (not that you need them) to drop in on the Wrigley Field bleachers?

    Seriously, though, I’m not saying this because the paper needs a buyer and you have money, but because you have demonstrated you have the tech background and vision to make a major media market newspaper into something that means something in the 21st Century. I wouldn’t worry about any conflict of interest — the Tribune doesn’t seem to be worried about it when it comes to baseball coverage. But when I think about, say, a basketball team and a newspaper (and into this I include the paper’s Web site and its wire service, which i work for) share some similarities, in that it’s a tightly woven group of people who are intense and passionate about what they do. You think an NBA playoff game is exciting? You should be in a newsroom when we get a tip that our governor has just been arrested early in the morning or that the Bulls have fired their coach or that a subway train has derailed. There is shouting, there’s swearing, there’s phones ringing, phones slamming, keyboards being pounded, … and the best thing about it is when we check out our competition’s Web site and either they haven’t gotten the story up yet or they’re still running a story with facts that are unconfirmed or minutes older than what we have. It is at these times when we don’t think about our colleagues who have been laid off, our own jobs that are constantly in jeopardy, the slow implosion of the company or the pay cuts that we’re going to have to take, which we all know are just a precursor to the final death knell. This isn’t just a job, or any old workplace. This stuff is in our blood. For it to die would be no different than to watch the death of a real part of any of us working there.

    Just this evening, I found out (by reading a news industry blog, not from my own employer) that the company has proposed to our union cutting another 20 – 30 editorial positions, one-fifth of an already depleted newsroom, and outsourcing some editing to India! Yes, India! Outsourcing newswriting/editing!

    These are pretty desperate times for newspaper companies. But the dark cloud may be covering some unique, once-in-alifetime opportunities. The flagship paper is for sale, and I guess it can be had for a song. You’re a smart guy, you can figure out if it would be worth a shot, to create something amazing. But please, consider it. Thanks for reading this.

    Comment by james -

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  29. Mark,

    Great idea, IMO. Instead of paying for the advertising (which doesn’t work) pay newspapers for the coverage, which acts as better advertising than the actual advertising. Without close ads clogging up the paper, there’s more room for coverage.

    I’m a Sports Editor at a daily paper on a much smaller scale (northwest Iowa), and the problems are obviously similar. Advertising is where we make our money, but it doesn’t make sense for a business to advertise if our paper isn’t reaching enough people. So, on my scale, another idea I’ve had is to lower costs for the consumer. Wouldn’t it make sense for us to lower subscription costs, making it too affordable for a reader not to buy the paper? That would in turn entice more advertisers.

    I do also agree with Bruce (two comments above), however, that having teams pay for the coverage could create a conflict of interest and could cause some issues if the person paying doesn’t like what’s being written. That’s going to happen. Egos are too fragile in today’s day and age for it not to happen. I understand the concept – pay for the coverage instead of the advertising – but eventually someone will say, “Give us more positive coverage or I’m not paying.” I’m not sure how you would get around that right off hand … other than telling somebody to grow a set and quit crying. It’s even more difficult on my scale, because we’re talking about high school sports teams and small colleges. Of course, they want all the positive PR.

    This is one of the best “save the newspaper” ideas I’ve heard, but I’m still not sure they’re savable. In my opinion, a lot of it has to do with the dumbing down of America. Fewer and fewer people have the attention span to read a newspaper anymore, which is unfortunate. Newspapers have been a part of the fabric of this country since it was founded, but the pages are slowly being turned into ashes.

    Jeff

    Comment by Jeff H -

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  31. Bottom line is that despite the huge volume of sports coverage, the local coverage of teams for the most part sucks.

    Totally agreed, but local news isn’t all newspaper driven.

    Online magazines play a role in many markets, like Milwaukee!

    Comment by Sherman -

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  34. Mark,

    I like your sports writers ideas and I follow where you are going with that. But is it possible that the same concept has the ability to roll-out amongst all newspapers and publications that are printed on a daily and weekly basis. Different regions where a group of say twenty-five people cover one city, and there is support for national ad campaigns and other national filler.

    I see it as the North-east, South-east, North-west, and South-west. If there were Regional offices and city offices and then regional distriibution points. I understand that currently stories are pulled from the AP wire and reproduced, however, the death of the daily city newspaper is upon us in the next few years. There is an opportunity there to emerge a company that is all inclusive with a stream-lined operations department and distribution centers. While this already exists to an extenet, there is much room for consolidation and the opportunity lies for the first company to just go start doing this.

    Comment by Craig T -

  35. Mark:

    I am a former basketball columnist and beat writer. I also served as Director of Public Relations for the San Diego Clippers in the early 80’s. I am a non-practicing attorney who is an owner of a mortgage company in the Southeast area. Ugh (to the mortgage business; not Detroit).

    Anyhow, I am so saddened with the current state of the newspaper business. The home delivery of our local paper, The Detroit Free Press, is shortening to three days. I am an avid basketball fan who obsessively reads about 30 sports sections a day mostly over the internet.

    I am infatuated with your idea. However, based on past experience in dealing with professional level players, I can’t tell you the difficulty of playing a delicate balance between player/coach/gm/owner and the newspaper.

    I’m not trying to be Sara Palinish, but you are a maverick. 99% of the other professional owners and their hierarchy of bureaucrats can make life miserable for a beat writer if they don’t like what is being written about their team. This especially goes for the players who have been known to ignore beat writers and columnists and can’t seem to maintain a diplomatic stance.

    I would absolutely love to get back into the sports writing business someday, but am reluctant to for fear that a team executive or player of stature will be abusive or hold a grudge against me merely because I’m stating the facts or my feelings.

    I am friends with a star NBA player as well as an NBA official. Unfortunately, I’ve heard some horror stories.

    Your thesis makes all the sense in the world. What are your feelings on the conflict of interest between beat writer and the team that foots the bill?

    Comment by Bruce -

  36. Interesting post, but there’s a simpler solution. Why don’t sports teams just purchase more advertising in the local sports pages? That money will certainly go towards the salaries of sports writers over the long run.

    Comment by Sujay -

  37. Sports writers cannot work for the team… conflict of interest. You’re not going to get unbiased writing.

    Perhaps beat writers don’t need to be attached to newspapers, but you are right that they will need some other agency to support them.

    Comment by Kris -

  38. Mr. Cuban,

    I have to disagree with the argument against blogger credentials. Sure, there’s an issue with the amount of traffic that smaller blogs receive, but that may be (and I would argue, is) due as much to a lack of access as it is anything else. Maybe added access for bloggers would add something, maybe it wouldn’t. But I’m pretty sure that you wouldn’t know for sure until you try it. Maybe the reason the local beat guys are drawing traffic has less to do with what they are writing, and more to do with the fact that they have the access to know what’s actually going on.

    That being said, I’m also sure that there are plenty of smaller “traditional print media” writers who receive Mavericks credentials despite the fact that their legitimate circulation numbers aren’t noticeably higher than some fan blog traffic numbers. I don’t hear any arguments for pulling their credentials just because they aren’t making enough of an impact.

    Still, thanks for the input.

    Comment by Mike Curry -

  39. Interesting ideas, but are there really that many decent sportswriters in all localities? I ask b/c so much of what I see in every medium seems to me really poor — broadcasters, writers, bloggers, etc. Most local coverage is just plain awful; no wonder no one reads or responds. I’d love to see well written articles — in newspapers, online, ANYWHERE — that don’t just focus on local teams and the rah-rah issues, but take a broader view (not always, but from time to time) and talk about basketball in general. I love the sport, and subscribe to NBA league pass so I can watch whatever team I want. I just love GOOD BASKETBALL, period. Jason Kidd, I could watch him 24/7; the Celtics, ditto. Amazing things happen in basketball games; one of the most entertaining games I ever saw was the NJ Nets playing the Warriors, when Brian Scalabrine (of all people) got into the zone. He was such an unlikely hero that everyone — Nets fans, Warriors fans, players on both teams — just sat back & enjoyed it. I think he was actually kind of embarrassed — everything he touched was golden for that one quarter.

    There are so many interesting facets to the game; the best commentators hint at it, but tv leaves no time to develop themes in any depth. That’s one big advantage newspapers offer — the opportunity is there, if the writer is creative enough to get a good idea and has the go-ahead to write the story. What, exactly, do we mean by intangibles? Do statistics answer the questions we want answered, or do they just count the obvious? What are the best ways to measure not just individuals, but combinations of players (duos, trios) and teams? It’s such a complex and multidimensional sport, it certainly offers the opportunity for coverage in depth, but who can do that? Even just to cover one team adequately…

    And the inherent conflicts of interest could be the kiss of depth. Sports are entertainment, but that’s not all they are. They’re news, and without credibility, they’re nothing whatsoever. That’s why the idea of teams paying for local coverage might not be such a hot idea. NBA sponsorship might work; a bigger issue is finding quality writers, and then figuring out how to judge their success — by whose criteria (fans, owners, NBA officials)? Good writers need to be able to write the truth, so the “editorial control” bit…sheesh, the last thing the world needs is more bullshit PR.

    If it were about basketball, what a great, complex, amazing sport it is, and the ultimate team sport (IMHO), and not just about flogging more jerseys, it might actually be FUN TO READ and ATTRACT MORE PEOPLE!

    Comment by HK Pritchard -

  40. Mr. Mark,

    I will go ahead and admit that I didn’t read all of your post, but I was intrigued in the skimming process alone and wished to comment.

    I thought a slightly different perspective might help you out:

    I am not a sports nut… In fact, I really don’t enjoy sports at all. I’m a very poor musician with a wonderful wife and kind of a dork but no sports interest.

    BUT I got really in to football in 2008 because of the online ability to predict the winning teams and score points, competing with others throughout the country.

    With things like Youtube, Myspace, and the ever-increasing Facebook, people are determined to attach themselves to things that are personal to them; things they can relate to. Many musicians today are achieving success through their ability to make the fans feel as if they are best friends with the artist via blogs, interactive software, etc.

    Aside from internet newspapers, I believe that the Mavericks and other teams can best increase interest in the sport by finding a way to make the fans feel more connected to and more a part of the players and the team itself.

    May God smile at you,
    Page Lynch

    Comment by Page Lynch -

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  42. Hi Mark,

    We are working on the next generation solution for interactive
    Newspapers. This is the only way they can survive. Also user
    generated content is as good or sometimes better than professional
    content, as there is less of an agenda!We are also working with
    sports teams to engage fans and keep them coming back through
    interactive solutions.

    Comment by Michael Luciano -

  43. I don’t agree with the premise of this blog at all. Well, in part,
    I should say because many sports sites have risen up
    and taken to less than stellar coverage. Not everyone can be
    a journalist.
    The main point, it has lready been stted here, serious
    sports people and even average fans for that matter, get
    updated information from ESPN or the local news or even just surfing the internet.
    I’ve worked at a newspaper before as a sports reporter and it was my
    experience that their just not forward-thinking. In addition, they are over-worked
    and short-staffed. They put their noses up to bloggers as well. Credentialled bloggers.
    Sports pages should be looking to find a balance with feature-type
    stories (humn interest) and game coverage.
    There is no need for box scores, it’s a waste of print.

    Let’s make athletes/owners human again. There is a thought, huh?
    in publication…we can get that immediately after a game.

    Comment by mdbirdlover -

  44. link was here: http://genwi.com/follow/mavericks

    Comment by Killian -

  45. Hey Mark,

    Getting past journalism ethics might be impossible here. Plus the offline readership will eventually migrate online. Why not back a startup to do this online for local markets. They can pay 1-2 reporters per major market, maintain distinct blogs and offer newsletter format via e-mail or snail mail (w/ small sub fee) cross promoted at games. Check out what Genwi “The Web’s Newspaper” did for the Mavericks, http://genwi.com/follow/mavericks%5Blink%5D this is another highly targeted, opt-in channel for Mavs only news – so if only some local “sports beat bloggers” could link their content as well.

    Happy New Year,
    Killian

    Comment by Killian -

  46. Well, it the same in Germany, newspapers are still important for proffesional sport Leagues, like the german Soccer Bundesliga. Of course the internet is growing and growing, but at breakfest i don’t want to use my laptop, its much easier and better to have a look in the paper.

    Comment by sportwetten -

  47. During the peak of the NFL season, I average between 400-500 unique visitors at my Tennessee Titans blog. I think the way to go is to give financial support and press credentials to good bloggers and allow them to expand their offerings and perfect their craft.

    Comment by Will -

  48. What about local TV sports, Mark? Not only are stations cutting back in this area, but we also have to deal with the leagues restricting access (to say nothing of video).

    Comment by Terry Heaton -

  49. Mark,

    Thank you for all the great posts in 2008! You are on my “must read” list of blog sites and I read you every day. I look forward to reading your posts in 2009.

    Happy New Year!

    T.J.

    Comment by Terry Johnson -

  50. Newspapers are a dying medium. Internet and mobile media are quickly replacing
    newspapers. Also, the amount of content that you can put in a newspaper is
    finite unlike the web where u can devote millions of pages of content.

    Comment by Mumbai -

  51. Serious fans want the latest news and real time scores. You don’t get that from newspapers. There’s not really much value to the sports page in a day old newspaper. There are plenty of publications on the newsstands about sports, but everyone that I know counts on the internet for current stats and most, if not all, of their info on teams and players.

    but I agree that we don’t need two dozen reporters and another dozen photographers covering the same events. There has to be a better way.

    Comment by Jillian -

  52. I’m all about the newspaper. I’m not your typical reader – I’m a mom blogger at the Orange County Register website and I don’t want to see our papers go away. One of my recent posts addressed this issue.

    I like the idea of keeping it local as far as team coverage is concerned.

    Comment by Jenny Angelici -

  53. It’s kind of funny how print media in some markets are only supporting citizen media that have a commerical base (advertising revenue supported but the bloggers make next to nothing). Unfortunately, those blogging mediums (SB Nation is a good example) have very few quality bloggers and even fewer quality posts.

    I also saw that baseball rumorman Ken Rosenthal credited a blogger with first reporting recently. It was Bucco Blog (http://bucco-blog.com) from your hometown Mark. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a Gammons or Rosenthal heavyweight ever give credit to a blogger scooping them before. Yet isn’t it interesting that I read that same blog’s material at Reuters and the Chicago Sun-Times, evidently through Pluck?

    So citizen media is coming of age. A co-op might kill the incentives local bloggers have of beating the press to the punch.

    Comment by Roy -

  54. I don`t think that this is a good idea.
    Maybe i`m out of fashion but for me the independence of a journalist
    is very important. Not that the american press has much integrety left
    to loose. If i want to read more ideal world canticles there are more
    then enough sources already available like NBA.com .
    I don`t know whether this saying is also used in the US but where i
    come from we say that nobody will bite the hand that is feeding him.
    And please don`t come up with the so called full editorial control.
    By the way i´m also running a small business and the idea of daily
    press coverage for the price of hiring a writer looks great. When i
    compare the price of an ad-page in our local newspapers with the
    yearly sums you are talking about it looks even better. But personally
    i would immediately stop reading a newspaper with hired writers.

    Comment by Christoph -

  55. Why not take that idea and start a Sports Daily newspaper for each
    market, and dispense altogether with the dead weight of the rest of
    the paper.

    Comment by matt schulte -

  56. That Time article from 1954 is very interesting. Thanks for passing it along.

    Comment by Robb Todd -

  57. Mark Cuban, at least, you are always thinking. What is your view of giving press credentials to a local sports bloggers who cover national sports, but are interested in deepening and expanding cover of their local teams. I live in Dallas and follow our local teams as well as following the leagues.

    Comment by the sporting muse -

    • blogger credentials are a waste of time and energy for 90pct or more of sports bloggers. Most dont have readerships that extend beyond their friends and family. What would be of interest to me is if they were willing to pay for traffic audits and promote their actual readership numbers. Then the blogosphere would be interesting. What i want to know is whether the aggregate readership of the “long tail” of local sports bloggers is more than 100 on any given day. I doubt it is

      The sad fact is that newspapers, using traditional reporting methods find these blogs in the email alerts and ongoing searches they do. They assign them far more credence than they have earned. . Thats not to say that anyone who wants to write a sports blog shouldnt do so. The more Mavs sports blogs the better. But we have made them into something they are not. They are labors of love on the long tail.

      Comment by markcuban -

  58. “Promote, then, as an object of primary importance, institutions for the general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of a government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public opinion should be enlightened.”
    Article 29 of George Washington’s Farewell Address, delivered 17 September 1796.

    Comment by Terry Johnson -

  59. Perhaps most of us consider that newspapers are a dying breed
    and their obituaries have all been written. But I must tell you that I still prepfer a to hold a newspaper and read it rather than reading an internet version.

    Comment by myhome-myoffice -

  60. The Social networking websites or Business Social networking blogs are increasingly changing and developing the Presence of the young people into the society and helping chang the face of the Midia, I can see may news papers learning with facebook myspace uoha.com how to serve to Web Community! They will have to do deals Like that if they what to be in Business!

    Comment by Frank -

  61. Pingback: Craig McGill: PR, Writing, Tech and Mass Media » A novel way to save the press - have companies buy reporters

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  65. Mark,

    What I’m reading is how really how sports franchises can sustain interest in themselves to maintain and grow their fan base via the creation of a team and sport centered information pipeline.

    But it is more than just about newspapers that need what you’re suggesting. It’s all local media. Without the various flavors of local media the information about the games, the players, especially in the offseason ebbs to a trickle.

    Without the beat reporter the fans know nothing, and without the talk radio hosts and their “sources” the public starves for information, outside of the “sanctioned” information the masters of the leagues control….

    Blogs and Wiki’s from teams are like the fan club model. The most rabid and die hard fans read that and are part of that “club” but the family (dad) fan, the season ticket buyer, the corporate buyer isn’t part of that group. They get their “news” from the mass media, but it’s the beat reporter and columnist who usually “breaks” the big story.

    Let me digress a bit and provide the outsiders a bit of an inside peek at the business side of sports and then draw upon personal experience.

    One has to first look at how as a franchise owner “you” compete with the local media companies. Cross ownership in sports with media companies is nothing new. But the cross ownership is more prevalent today than in the past (Comcast, MSG, Anschutz, etc.) Look at the number of situations where the franchise, the arenas/stadiums and the sports cable networks are all owned by the same ownership group (this goes back to the late Bill Daniels era and Jerry Buss as well as PRISM/Comcast and MSG.) They take media dollars away from print as well as all local advertising media outlets including outdoor.

    Since the sports team is almost always at the centerpiece of an empire (usually real estate or media based) the franchise and their so called “partners” end up pulling away dollars from the local media market through sponsorship, advertising and promotional programs, all of which put the team at odds with the local newspaper, as the first dollars to be chased by most franchise ad sales departments are those that buy print ads and have been for thirty years. Next came the dissection of radio, then TV dollars by the franchises. Print though has always been the low hanging fruit for all ad sales execs in sports since the 60s and remains so today.

    That in essence of course put local media sales execs at odds with every franchise, and really even the so called “exception” being the media partner, which was almost always radio, cable and over the air TV (Now long gone.) The newspaper was at best over time nothing more than a quasi partner at times, and really only when there was a competitive newspaper market in place via a trade for space deal, sometimes with a bit of cash thrown in. With that now really a thing of the past, the monopoly newspaper market is not really the friend of the franchise, as they are the competitors for share of advertising and marketing dollars every week.

    Back in the 70’s and 80’s when I was part of the Philadelphia Flyers organization,
    we launched a novel concept called Hockey Central, which in reality did one thing. It created new fans to sustain and grow interest in hockey. It did what it did by working with the local media to promote hockey.

    Now 32 years later, I would not have the same media opportunities in the Delaware Valley as there are two less daily newspapers, far less pages and even less writers. But I would have more opportunities to communicate via electronic media and online media forms just as we exploited the opportunities with radio and TV back in the 70’s and 80s. By working with the multiple media mediums then, we were able to grow Hockey Central into a 25 deep program of activities and the participant base from 300 to over 1000 teams who took advantage of the set of 25 programs activities and services for the amateur/youth hockey community under the Flyers aegis. That in turn grew the fan base, and insured sell out years that have never stopped.

    The idea of the “sponsored” scribe is as right today as was in the many ways back then, as we supplied news as an “apolitical” information bureau. But the dead tree society of newspapers today is only one of the mediums that needs to be the beneficiary of what you are suggesting. It’s all the media that needs the help, because terrestrial radio is next on the list media to suffer loss of audience and revenue as new forms of media consumption erode their base of “fans.”

    To be supporting only be one of the outlets is a start, but the team supported information pipeline is really at the core of what’s needed across the board.

    Comment by Andy Abramson -

  66. Pingback: Cuban’s Plan to Save the Sports Page : Sports Media Journal

  67. Pingback: The Ball Burglars Show - Dec 27,2008 | Superbowl Winners

  68. Your idea is dubious at best. I live in the Philadelphia market. Do you have any idea on what it is like to cover an Andy Reid press conference? Do you know how often Andry Reid’s play calling and time management skills have cost the Eagles games? And it has been going on for as long as Reid(aka Big Red) has been coaching the Eagles(10 seasons). Doesn’t that tell you something when the coach has been making the same mistakes for 10 seasons? Do you know how often the sportswritersa call him out on it? Rarely. They all prefer to kiss his butt. Look at the newspaper business and the TradMed in general, Mark. They are dying because they keep insulting the intelligence of the public they serve. They’ll continue to die until they wisen up.

    Comment by Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle -

  69. Pingback: Some final random thoughts for 2008 | The LoHud Yankees Blog

  70. Back in the day, didn’t beat writers travel with the teams on the buses and planes and trains like they were members? Wasn’t it just mini-versions of Air Force One type situations?

    Why can’t teams go back to these situations, especially now that times are tight. Bringing in the beatwriters and making the newspaper budgets stretch longer could do wonders for the industry. If there is a reason why this can’t be done anymore, I’d love to hear it.

    Comment by david -

  71. Pingback: TheScore.com Blog - The Score

  72. It’s a cute idea but there’s one huge problem – there is no way any group of players/managers/owners are going to accept ‘criticism’ from an in-house employee.

    Also, readers are going to be suspect of what is written as they will be aware that it is coming from an in-house person.

    Lastly, what happens when the reporter comes across a great scoop – a transfer move, injury or something else negative – that is a great story? Is he going to run that?

    It’s a nice idea but doesn’t work as planned. It’s nice to see someone thinking a bit out of the box though. I’m going to post a little about this on my site, but in reply to Alex Mather about going hyper-local and selling content: Alex, that doesn’t work because in most areas now the media has shrunk and the avenues for broadcast/publication are limited so while you can have 10 reporters all covering hyperlocal, the odds are that they would be competing for the same space – the local sport news space – and that’s before you consider that the budgets are constantly being cut to pay for stringer news.

    Comment by Craig McGill -

    • NO newspaper is going to make this deal unless they have complete editorial control. The players really wont know the difference. Nor will they care. They see the falling numbers of reporters covering games. They arent stupid.

      Comment by markcuban -

  73. Having worked at a paper as a web developer I can you that just the sports section of the website website got thousands of times more impressions than the sports section of the paper ever would.

    So while a newspapers company’s importance and influence can’t be denied, it’s not necessarily the paper that is so important for sports coverage. Obviously the web allows a lot things we might not ever be able to do in a print or even e-paper type medium. The user community that develops around the blogs is incredible. For game day posts there are at least a couple hundred comments. The most community you’d get out of a paper is asking your co-worker if they read one of the articles.

    Until a print paper can provide the same content, community and timeliness, (good) websites are where it’s at for sports coverage.

    Comment by Josh -

  74. I would be curious to hear how Mark would propose newspapers survive in the digital age, or make a successful move over to a digital platform, given digital advertising has not yet proven profitable.

    Comment by Angela -

  75. I’ve stopped reading my local paper’s sports section altogether. I can see the points being made here, but the general publishing cycle for the local papers are frankly just too slow. I usually only end up at the LA Times site by accident when reading the local sports news online. The great question being asked here is what happens when revenues fall? Well, they fell back in 2001 for a lot of the big online properties and they survived. Will it be any different this time?

    Comment by Ken -

  76. Hey Mark. They also need newspapers because your average joe cant roll up his laptop and take it into work or pull it out in a traffic jam, or any other unpleasent place. A lot of these guys buy Jerseys for themselfs, the wife and kids too. They get other info in a flash for 40 cents that takes a little more effort to get on the web. As far as the church and state thing. You were right the first time. Think of something else. When the teams start paying for the reporters it will eventually be impossible to get an objective opinion. A good example is some networks and how they are owned by companies that are very close friends to the folks on Pennslyvania ave. I doubt very much if Mr. Murdoch is concerned with an objective neutral news story. It will happen in sports too. Except for the new owner of the Cubbies. :) Thanks for the thoughts.

    Comment by Frankie from Lawnside -

  77. I’ve posted on this at my site:

    http://www.themediamanager.com/3/post/2008/12/mark-cuban-sports-teams-should-pay-for-journalism.html

    Comment by Kirk LaPointe -

  78. Mark,

    Still not sure how, under your scenario, true sports journalism would continue to take place. Would a reporter paid by the Mavs be left to hammer the locals if it were justified? It is not unusal to hear stoires about announcers employed by clubs being ousted for unfavorable remarks about the home team. I think the idea is, as you stated, a great way to start the discussion. Anything that can be done to save the printed word, is well worth doing. GM

    Comment by Gary -

  79. “I’m a fan of the Dallas Stars, the Cowboys, Rangers and the Burn.”

    Clearly a huge fan, considering the Burn changed their name to FC Dallas in 2005

    Comment by Ryan -

  80. …following up to earlier post & response…

    Yes, someone is paying for the papers. The question is ‘why are they paying for newspapers?’

    For years, I subscribed to DMN on a daily basis b/c daily was only slightly more expensive than weekend and I wanted the Thursday sports section during football season because the major HS preview and other features were carried on Thursdays and NOT in the weekend sections (smart move on DMN’s part). So, I used to read the Thursday and Friday sports sections during football season. …but I paid for Sunday->Saturday. (So, is your 70% ‘read the sports page’ figure * my 28% (2 days out of 7) reduced to a new sports page readership figure to ~20% ? I don’t know.)

    Today, I buy a paper when I want one – usually just Fridays (now 20% goes to 10% since its only one day, not two as above ?) and only during football season (so 6 months out of 12 reduces the figure to 5% ?) . Am I ahead of the purchasing-model curve, or behind it? I dont know.

    I follow football with a passion – pro, college, & HS [Allen Eagles 5A Div I Champions] – with baseball a close second for my attention. I wait for the playoffs for NBA and NHL seasons before investing my time. Am I typical or atypical? Dont know. Certainly, it impacts my reading and buying habits.

    Aside from a large-scale focus group, I don’t know how to confirm if the sports section readership really is as large as you suspect. And, I don’t know if that interest is held across a full 12-month period.

    I have one sport that drives my purchase of a paper. That’s it.

    Another comment to this post made an interesting point about writers and the number of channels they are using to reach us. If their content really were all that compelling (e.g. would translate to newspaper sales), wouldn’t the newspapers be leveraging it to their advantage? Why let a columnist go on local radio with opinions? Why not tie them up contractually and allow the paper to be the only conduit between the columnist and the public? Although, I will concede the possibility of a complementary effect: hearing a columnist on the radio might make someone purchase a paper, or two. However, I’ve never bought a Star Telegram and I’ve heard their columnists on the radio for the last few years.

    In the end, I’m unwilling to grant your original 70% number too much weight until I can verify it. And that seems to be the figure driving the concern. I think it needs to be verified somehow. It doesnt pass the sniff test in my book (would you invest in someone’s idea that hinged on that figure as presented in this blog entry?). I don’t know.

    Comment by Cary -

  81. Pingback: Long live newspapers « The Trick … Is To Keep Going

  82. Sports aside, the problem with the fall of the local newspaper is
    going to be political corruption. If you remove the newspapers from
    their watchdog status, all that’s left are the local, state and
    federal authorities. So while we may sneer at the apparent
    cluelessness of the people running these big city Dailies, we’re also
    ignoring another symptom of the decline of United States.

    I agree with Mark that the newspapers MUST somehow survive. Otherwise,
    we’re all in trouble long term.

    Comment by scotbo -

  83. I may be somewhat old fashioned, but I don’t understand why newspapers try to copy the internet. I miss the language. If we keep this up everything will be only be on the internet, without any competition. A dying breed? No way! I may be the last one to purchase a newspaper, but I will still buy it.

    Comment by Lillian Renfro -

  84. This would be a lot easier to push in a city like New York if we didn’t have newspapers that actually made the teams play WORSE. Just ask Alex Rodriguez if the overbearing and unnecessary coverage of his personal life hasn’t affected his ability to lead that team to any playoff success, and if he thinks the Yankees should be paying any money to those idiots.

    Comment by Nathan Weinberg -

  85. fully agreed with the previous commentator, so he is always doing

    Comment by акувн -

  86. What someone should do:

    -Start a company in Philadelphia (or any other big sport town)
    -Hire the top 10 or so sports writers away from the newspapers.
    -Develop young, local talent.
    -Focus on super-local coverage.
    -Sell stories to newspapers (local, national) – Exclusive content for newspapers should almost pay for the writers entirely.
    -Develop a website to syndicate content.

    Comment by Alex Mather -

  87. mark, this is very true. i am that casual fan that you speak of. i still enjoy getting the newspaper at my office. my firts sections i read are sports and business. i like the layout and its easier to follow than looking all over the net

    Comment by vipdallas -

  88. Pingback: Top Posts « WordPress.com

  89. Good point – but what about quality of reporters?

    Maybe newspapers are failing because beat writers keep telling
    the same stories year after year – refusing to instill any creativity
    in their writing.

    It’s easy (and silly) to do a game recap or a typical feature (XXX
    athlete emerging” – blah blah) but a lot harder to challenge the
    players – ask them about their lives, political affiliations, social
    interests etc.

    So maybe the beat reporters aren’t part of the solution but part of
    the problem?

    Comment by pt -

  90. Newspapers are gonna have to start charging more per copy, and convince readers/subscribers to pay it. To do so they need to get A LOT better. Still, it’s gonna be tough.

    Comment by resimleri -

  91. Perhaps you haven’t got the news yet but newspapers are a dying breed

    The combo of mainly off-line sports coverage and limited on-line,
    will be of more value to the sometime sports fan than anything
    else.

    Comment by resimleri -

  92. I believe technology will decide this for us. Once mobile devices which are comfortable to use allow people who commute to work to obtain information, the newspaper is history. These devices will deliver content in two forms: a print form that is easy to read, and in audio format. The audio format will be created using text-to-speech engines which are getting more and more sophisticated. Today’s really good text-to-speech engines require a full PC to run well and the portable wireless market does not yet have devices which make this comfortable to use. You can use it, but not comfortably. Once wireless portable devices pack a lot more power than they now do, paper based newspapers will be a thing of the past. Another factor is the environment. How many trees are we killing to produce all these newspapers? I think the most likely thing that will happen is that a lot of newspaper companies will merge with larger and larger online companies or simply die out. In a way this will be a shame because local news will suffer as a result. I think professional sports teams need to focus on how to get the local in depth coverage you describe either online or accessible through wireless portable devices. While I believe your suggestion has merit, I also believe the forces which will cause people to want newspapers less and less, will overwhelm the good will generated by your suggestion.

    Comment by Marc Breault -

  93. Mark:

    I agree with you. As a 42 yr old huge sports fan I get the majority of my info via by BlackBerry Storm (surfing my Google Reader acct.) and by listening to my local all sports radio station, but this is where your point turns 100% correct – my sports radio station have on all the local team’s beat writers (who in your concept would primarily be funded outside the usual parameters). Without them there would not be as much discussion of the local teams. Their 24/7 coverage for the “dead trees” edition fuels the discussions on radio and the web. I enjoy your blog, always lots of good food for thought. Happy Holidays to you.
    RG

    Comment by Robert Gray -

  94. Merry Christmas Mark.

    Comment by Matt -

  95. “Was it over when the Burn bombed Pearl Harbor?! Hell no!”
    “The Burn?”
    “Forget it. He’s rolling.”

    Comment by Boon -

  96. wow! this is a good article.I got newspaper every morning.So I think
    that is quite neccesary to everyone.

    Comment by ทีเด็ด ฟุตบอล -

  97. Dont you think you’re over-estimating the number of people who actually READ the sports page?

    You’ve got much better data for web pages / articles viewed than you do for newspaper pages/articles. You can track the article click on the web (although you still cant tell if someone makes it past the headline).

    You cant track the eyeball scan on the newpaper.

    I think “read” the paper is too generous. Perhaps “come in contact with the paper” is about as good as it gets. Why? Because all you can really guarantee is that the paper was delivered to the front door.

    Neighbors, Community, DMN ad junk mail, goes straight from my yard to my recycling bin. I cant figure out how to make it stop showing up.

    I wouldn’t be too envious of the newspaper penetration rate; I don’t think its anywhere near what you’ve estimated. Besides, if BELO thought (or told their advertisers) that 70% of their readers read the sports page, wouldnt there be more high-value advertising in the sports section?

    Comment by Cary -

    • from MC>
      except that people who get major daily newspapers pay for them. In this day and age, if they arent reading them, they arent subscribing. So its quite possible that the numbers of people who actually read the sports pages in their paper are more meaningful than people who go to a sports webpage, scan it, get the scores, then leave

      Comment by markcuban -

  98. Dear Mark:
    Perhaps you haven’t got the news yet but newspapers are a dying breed
    and their obituaries have all been written. So the question is,
    where does this leave professional sports? Also what about amateur
    sports? Does noone care about them getting coverage.

    Ah well let us say a fond farewell to the newspaper and softly wipe
    the teardrop from our eye.

    Comment by Small Business Marketing -

  99. Hey Mark, I like the idea of local based sports writers who focus
    on the big teams for the major papers and don’t write what every
    other sports writer is writing on.

    The combo of mainly off-line sports coverage and limited on-line,
    will be of more value to the sometime sports fan than anything
    else.

    Thanks,

    Mark

    Comment by mark -

  100. I agree 100% on this idea. I personally get the paper every morning to be able to read articles at any time. I dont have the time to stop and read the internet while at work and I have a real hard time doing things like eating without having something to read. It is difficult to carry the laptop everywhere I go to run in eat a hamburger somewhere than it is to go buy a paper and read the articles more in depth.

    Comment by Brian Lee -

  101. “Unfortunately ‘whats important’ means we are condemned to T.O., Sean Avery and Stephan Marbury’s contract status all the time.”

    Mark –

    Have you been to Bleacher Report?

    http://www.bleacherreport.com

    Comment by Dave Nemetz -

  102. Happy Silly Season to you!

    Mark,

    Sports franchises and newspapers have always seemed to me to be old school monoliths. I guess necessity is the mother of invention. I’d of course love to get these articles in RSS feed, but the way you are setting this up… I’d read the paper.

    Darin

    Comment by Darin -

  103. This is a good idea, and would help newspapers cut costs a little.

    But still, it’s like telling a man who’s falling 140 mph to earth to flap his arms.

    Newspapers are gonna have to start charging more per copy, and convince readers/subscribers to pay it. To do so they need to get A LOT better. Still, it’s gonna be tough.

    Comment by OSweet -

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