The Dallas Morning News is killing ESPN Dallas

The World Wide Leader in Sports is without question minor league when it comes to ESPN Dallas.

I only care about the coverage of the Dallas Mavericks.  From ESPN Dallas, its non existent.  Its hard to offer any coverage when you dont actually have anyone at the games.  Last two Mavs games. No local reporter.  Maybe the ESPN Dallas standard of coverage is to have their reporters watch the game on TV. IN which case I guess I should be happy since most of the preseason games  are on HDNet.

The Dallas Morning News on the other hand has the ever reliable Eddie Sefko and apparently is adding more coverage to the Mavs.

Maybe this newspaper vs internet thing is changing.  The newspaper is adding people who will actually attend games. The world wide leader in sports thinks its acceptable to not send reporters to the game and instead have them report from what they watch on HDNet.

The impact of this approach isnt just about the coverage Mavs fans get.  It also impacts the business decisions the Mavs make. We have already beefed up significantly the behind the scenes, interviews and game highlights video and reporting we offer on, and via a wide assortment of twitter options from our broadcast crew and others.   And we will continue to add more.

Behind the scenes it impacts who gets the “scoops”.  If we have just done something, trade, signing, whatever. Guess who gets the heads up email first ? The website with no one at our games, or the Newspaper/website with more than one reporter at our games ?

I hope ESPN Dallas decides to make a commitment to the Mavs, the more Mavs coverage the better. But until they do..

If you are a Mavs fan, diehard or casual, make your first stop and your next stop The Dallas Morning News, or just open up your morning newspaper.

26 thoughts on “The Dallas Morning News is killing ESPN Dallas

  1. didn’t you ban eddie sefko from the locker room last year or am i high?

    Comment by jaykali -

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  4. As an NBA basketball related website owner one of the things I have to do is try to find good, relevant content for the users to take a look at. I go out and get information from various sources and aggregate it, comment on it, etc. But guess what I’m providing… the same stuff as those other guys. I know that and my users know that.

    My users want to find information that is accurate and that is DEEP. They are huge fans of the game. In addition, they use whatever information they get from whatever source they get it from to gain a competitive edge. This makes it essential that I provide better and better ways of following the game.

    My users want that inside local information – not what ESPN feels that the masses want to know or that ESPN wants to blow up into the story of the week. Those are important too, but nothing satisfies people like having real, useful information. They want access to the local “gossip” mixed with the local fact and they want to be able to put that together for themselves. They want information that can only be obtained by either having been present at an event or by getting a first hand report from someone who was there, because, well, that’s the most reliable information there is. This is what the local guys bring and I hope they continue to get special treatment as long as they are doing the job.

    That all being said, Mark, thanks for including the two URLs. I’m adding a section to every team page at that includes only LOCAL sources of information about the NBA team. I want to have 5 to 10 of these links per team. I think it will be a great value for the users to be able to get the local lowdown on their favorite teams (or teams of interest) and have somewhere to get it all in one spot. If you (any of you) have any more local Dallas Mavericks websites that you think are informative send me a message – the email is at the end of this post – or post it back here. I’ll see about getting it added. If you have links for OTHER NBA teams you can certainly send them to the email I provided. Please don’t place those other teams links on blogmaverick though – just doesn’t seem right. You can email me at if you have suggestions.

    Comment by sirahlst -

  5. I looked at the ESPNDallas site when it was launched but most of the links were to local reporter stories from Dallas Morning News or Ft. Worth Star telegram (outside of the ESPN stories written directly from their employees).

    I grew up reading the Star Telegram and Dallas Morning News and have followed DMN website since it’s launch. I prefer that to the national sites because it covers all the teams in the metroplex area really well. I don’t think I’m going to stop just because ESPN launched another site. By the way, are they up to ESPN Ocho yet on the tube! Maybe Mark could pitch that for HDNet! Ha!

    Comment by shammons1 -

  6. It’s not surprising to me that a big network like ESPN would not send an actual person a Maverick game. Everything with the networks these days is all about style over substance. Every time I hear an “analyst” (absolutely need the quotes here) make a prediction about an upcoming game, it’s all based on high level surface stuff like “they were looking ahead” or “they will have a letdown” – or the infamous “I just have a feeling”. You rarely hear predictions based the mechanics of the game – i.e. “their left tackle will have a hard time with the pass rush” or “their safeties are excellent at run support”.

    So the theory that they glance at a game on TV instead of actually giving it serious coverage fits right in with this type of approach to sports.

    Just watch ESPN Gameday (the Berman crew) for a few minutes and look at all the fluff analysis they produce.

    Comment by steveinmemphis -

  7. Why don’t sports teams run their own media? Have their own editor and reporters? They would have the most access and the fastest scoops and exclusive information. Content could be “officially endorsed” by the team. Is it unethical? Not profitable?

    Comment by loucons -

  8. hi Mark, i’d be interested in how local newspapers (print) can compete these days – I’m sure you’ll have some great ideas! What would you do if you owned the NY Times? What would you do if you owned the Dayton Daily News? What would you do if you owned the Yellow Springs News? (giving you 3 very different papers to compare).

    mike c

    Comment by mojomikey -

  9. Most of the comments above about why the local ESPNs won’t be successful aren’t based on the facts. The fact is the first local ESPN launched was ESPN Chicago and within three months that site became the top website in the area- beating out The Chicago Tribune in just three months! ESPN Chicago regularly breaks news and yes, they did hire local talent away to blog/write/report on local teams. Only a portion of their content was redistributed from the main ESPN website. As far as I’ve read/heard, that is the plan for all of the local ESPNs- to hire the top talent in the area and have them report on the local teams. My guess is the last minute decision to launch ESPN Boston screwed up ESPN’s launch of ESPN Dallas but I am guessing they will begin making their presence felt soon or else like some of the other commenters stated ‘why bother?’

    Also, there is a rumor that ESPN is planning to go regional to compete with Fox Sports and Comcast Sports. You can read more about the ESPN’s local ambitions here:

    Comment by tanyallyon -

  10. or New York, or Boston are all going to fail most likely. I’m a Mavs fan and I’ve seen all of the advertising espn has been doing but have still had no desire to go to espn’s site to get my news about the mavs, cowboys, rangers…whatever.

    Good for you for not including them in the emails/early press releases, if they’re not going to do anything to earn that information then they don’t deserve it. DFWbrett is right in that content is king and without local reporters to catch the inside scoops those sites are sure to fail.

    Espn seems all about making up their own drama and stories lately anyways. I don’t even think they care anymore if what they report is factual and actually about the game. They’ve seemed to of gotten this idea that I actually want to hear about who Tony Romo is dating…what player ran over some pedestrian while drinking and driving..etc. It’s gotten old.

    Probably for the best they don’t have a reporter here actually.

    Comment by shamefulyarousd -

  11. Mark,
    I’m a student at Texas Tech in the Lubbock area. I had a question concerning HDNet and haven’t been able to find any clear answers, so I thought I’d give this a try.
    I’m a huge Mavs fan, unfortunately DirecTV doesn’t offer any local channels (namely Txa 21) out here unless you hook up an antenna as well, but I was hoping to avoid this. I do have HDNet but I’ve only seen one pre-season game on the channel so far, and from what I’ve been able to find it doesn’t look as if the Mavericks regular season games will be offered in my area (zip code 79416). I know you’re a busy man but I was hoping you could shed some light on this so I know if I should suck it up and hook up an antenna now. Thanks for your time.

    Comment by robstaton -

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  13. I also volunteer to attend every home game and write about the Mavs on my site First rate coverage for a first rate team.

    Comment by Jim -

  14. Or if you’re a die hard fan, buy a Mavs related domain, create a blog and site dedicated to the Mavericks like I did.

    Although I can’t go to regular season games since I now live in Austin, I try to watch as many as I can on TV and or keep up with them on the internet on game night, since my area doesn’t really broadcast the games and I don’t watch much TV so I don’t pay for cable any longer.

    I frequent Dallas Morning News and other Mav related sites and I rarely visit ESPN.

    Comment by mavsfanforlife -

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  16. Mark-

    It’s not surprising. And it’s also an unsuccessful content model. But the big sites still haven’t learned. While newspapers continue to dwindle, no one’s picking up the slack in terms of quality reporting. I worked for AOL at the turn of the century at AOL Local/ Digital City. We were in a local office uptown and someone got the bright idea to centralize all local content from Chicago. It seemed like a great cost cutting measure to someone way up high in the new merged Time Warner. But they didn’t stop there. AOL dropped most of it’s exclusive content and the rest is history.

    You’d think it would have been a slam dunk to put Time Warner’s content on AOL and make it member exclusive.

    Point#1: content is king.
    Point#2: You have be geographically accessible to provide it.

    Who do you trust? or WFAA for your weather? Some guy from New York or DMN? Even when the guy from NYC covers your team, it still has a geographical bias. I follow the Longhorns and whenever they’re covered, it compares them to the ACC and SEC.

    Just an example. Until they see the purpose behind local affiliates, ESPN local won’t be successful. As expensive as it it might be, there is no substitute for on the ground, locally-based information.

    Comment by dfwbrett -

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  18. MARK



    Comment by rainbowentertainment -

  19. Perhaps one reason is because internet reporters are not given the same access as print reporters. The Mavs Media Guide says Radio stations, magazines and weekly newspapers will be accomodated on a game-by-game, space available basis. Most local PR departments will not accomodate internet reporters. would love the opportunity to cover the Mavs.

    Comment by dfwsportsonline -

  20. in Nashville, TN there were two FM sports talk radio stations. One was the ESPN station, the other was mostly local people (with Jim Rome & Calheard’s show in the midday) …

    ESPN switched to some music programing within the last month or two.

    I wish it had lasted simply because I like the competition, but there local markets, especially “smaller” markets who do have pro sports, want to hear about their local teams.

    There is a place for big national sports shows, but if you are a small market fan, you want talk/stories on that team … and just loving the big market teams and talking/telling about them all the time is not appealing long term.

    Comment by jonathannation -

  21. This is exactly why I wanted you to buy the Texas Rangers, darnit.

    Comment by joesiegler -

  22. Funny about reporters watching the games on TV – last season I found myself at the new Chili’s at the arena, sitting right next to a reporter watching the game there, instead of inside the arena.

    This was right at the start of the 3rd quarter, we’d ducked in there for a bite at halftime. That guy wasn’t going anywhere – had all his notebooks, programs, etc spread out across the bar.

    I thought to myself at the time what a good gig that was, then wondered ‘why even bother’ unless he has to hang around to do post game interviews.

    Not sure who the guy worked for.

    Comment by rich graham -

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  24. Mark, tell them to hire me… I’ll be at every freakin’ Mavs game I possibly can 🙂

    I’ll do in game updates, interviews, etc. Whatever it takes. There’s no excuse for them not to be at the American Airlines Center.

    Comment by okbuckeye -

  25. the only problem is that espn has for years hired the top talent from the dmn…nothing against sefko, i think he’s great, but with espn’s penchant for poaching and their bottomless well of Disney dollars, dmn sports could be in a heap of trouble

    Comment by adamburris -

  26. Ten bucks says they add a reporter to the mavs beat to attend games, etc after seeing this post=)

    Comment by tanyallyon -

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