(The Fly. Not singlehandedly responsible for TSN’s near-demise, but some might argue otherwise)
Noting that the internet explosion rendered The Sporting News’ longtime saving grace (stats aplenty!) redundant, David Scott of Scott’s Shots surveys TSN’s recent online initiatives. If “The Sporting Blog” doesn’t sound like a catchy title to you, rest assured, they would’ve had copyright problems with “The Fanhaus”.
TSN forged on, despite frequent rumors that it was expiring. Former TSN owner (currently toying with the Seahawks and Trailblazers) Paul Allen built out TSN™s radio network, propped the title up a bit and found a willing buyer in 2006. It appears that buyer, American City Business Journals, is willing to invest in the web (and other platforms) and now “ despite some peculiar lay out, linkage and a dearth of visitors thus far at œThe Sporting Blog “ ACBJ appears to be embracing some of the just-off-main street bloggers who have already built loyal audiences and convinced skeptical advertisers.
It™s not a new trend by any means (see: ESPN with the Henry Abbotts of the world), but it is very new for the dinosaurian TSN. TSN now appears to be finding its life support from the strangest of places: Sports Blogger Land. Dan Shanoff, Leitch (for the Super Bowl anyway), and Awful Announcing are only a few of the names TSN is luring with regular paying gigs. Yahoo!, you™ll recall, started down a similar path with Jamie Mottram and will likely continue that type of expansion.
. . . Looks like Darren Rovell and Shots are thinking along the same lines. It is a fairly remarkable turn around (on the surface) for TSN.
Indeed, some of TSN’s new cronies have indeed proven they have their own established voices and audiences. While there’s a few others who might even have trouble cracking the MVN roster.
5 thoughts on “The Sporting News : Slouching Towards Relevency”
If Warren Sapp riding a bicycle is this site’s most popular JPEG ever, is it fair to say that the Caught on the Fly thing is the most popular GIF animation?
Are you suggesting that because we have started a blog at Sporting News it means we’re somehow copying Fanhouse? I mean, I guess they’re both sports blogs. In which case we’re ALL copying someone, somehow.
not quite. I’m suggesting that TSN — which has been falling off the radar of serious sports fans for some time now — is following in the footsteps of the Fanhouse’s business model. TSN hasn’t merely started a blog — there’s a ton of newspapers and magazines that have done the same — but they’ve begun to assemble as Mr. Scott put it, “bloggers who have already built loyal audiences and convinced skeptical advertisers.” Certainly persons like yourself, Will, Dan, Brian from A.A., Mike Florio, Spencer Hall, Large from No Mas, etc., fall into one or both of those categories.
Perhaps “copying” would be a harsh word to use. I’m certain that all of the writers mentioned above have their own voices and have no need to copy anyone. But in terms of a biz strategy — and I’m implying nothing sinister here — The Sporting Blog certainly recalls AOL’s prior (successful) effort to assemble an all-start roster of previously independent sports bloggers.
On the surface, I could see why you’d think it looks similar to FanHouse, but in terms of the business model for TSB, it’s actually quite different (I won’t go into details here). Also, our content philosophy is — and I’m hoping this shows — vastly different than FanHouse’s. Also, Florio has nothing to do w/ TSB — he’s a columnist only — and Will is only blogging for us during Super Bowl week. Really, it’s just five of us blogging for TSB — only two “full time” — which is also in contrast to the FanHouse model.
I was there for and part of the building of FanHouse, and have only begun to build TSB. Trust me, the two are very different once you get past the fact that they’re both corporately backed sports blogs.
thank you for clarifying. I mean no serious criticism of TSB (aside from wishing Kevin Sullivan would take a long vacation) — which admittedly, has me looking at TSN.com more often than anytime in the past decade — and can certainly take your word that TSB and The Fanhouse are very different animals. But there are general conceptual similarities that are hard to ignore. I apologize for the error regarding Mr. Florio, but his work as a columnist for TSN would be an example of the latter recognizing the sports blogosphere as well, exactly what David Scott called it — a universe full of recognizable brand names “who have already built loyal audiences and convinced skeptical advertisers.”
and again, I think Dan Shanoff, yourself, Spencer, Brian and Large also fall into said category to one extent or another. As far as your “content philosophy” goes, I’ve stated previously that “all of the writers mentioned… have their own voices and have no need to copy anyone”. That you’re one of the architects of both the Fanhouse and TSB is again, a somewhat relevant factoid.
I wish you all the best in this more recent endeavor, especially because it gave me another excuse to bust out The Fly.