Question about the Changing Landscape of Sports Journalism

By Wes Williams

Disruptive innovation is a term used by economists to describe how an existing market is disrupted by a new market.

Think about Kodak. One day it was an invincible company since it was the standard of film.  Quickly the film market was disrupted by digital cameras leading to Kodak filing for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2012.

Cable sports channels like ESPN are becoming victims of disruptive innovation due to chord cutters dropping their $200 cable bills for on demand web platforms and bunny ears. ESPN-Red-Logo-large

Hundreds of extremely talented sports journalists at ESPN were laid off this week because viewership is down on television leading to lower than expected profits.

ESPN once feasted on television profits for years as cable companies bundled ESPN into packages. Many consumers had to pay for ESPN in order to watch the channels they wanted, even if they never watched ESPN.  With chord cutters dropping their cable subscriptions for on demand platforms like Netflix and free live TV through bunny ears, ESPN is making less money from cable companies.

Less money equals cost cutting measures like laying off talented sports journalists.

Questions about Current Sports Journalists

So what happens to the sports journalists laid off by ESPN? Do they go to local news?  Do they sign on with a team as a reporter or a play by play announcer? Do they sign at Fox Sports or NBC Sports? Do they try to make it with a blog or podcast? Do they go into a separate industry?

According to the public memo posted online, “Dynamic change demands an increased focus on versatility and value, and as a result, we have been engaged in the challenging process of determining the talent—anchors, analysts, reporters, writers and those who handle play-by-play—necessary to meet those demands.”

Versatility in sports journalism means talent must be able to appear on television, write articles for the website, utilize social media, announce live sporting events, and share opinions on radio.

Will these laid off journalists develop new skills at a different media outlet to make themselves more versatile and valuable?

Questions about potential Sports Journalists

Up until recently, potential sports journalists were evaluated on the quality of their resume tape or examples of newspaper clippings.  Going forward, potential sports journalists will probably be evaluated by their number of Twitter followers, play by play abilities, examples of radio work, web capabilities, and more on top of their traditional resume tape or newspaper clippings.

Imagine two students from a top journalism school entering the workforce after they graduate in a few weeks.

Student one excelled at the school newspaper for four years eventually rising to sports editor. This student does not do much social media because they are focused on putting out the top college newspaper nationwide. This person sends in three examples of quality newspaper work.

Student two wrote a few above average blog posts, has 500 followers on Twitter account, and once anchored a newscast for a class. This person sends in links to all of his content via his own website, which has had 2000 hits in the past few years.

Which student would a local news outlet hire? While the first seems to have the potential to be a high quality investigative journalist for a media outlet, student two might seem to be more versatile.

What is more valuable, numbers of social media followers or quality traditional journalism?

Does a sports journalist need to work for multiple companies or businesses in order to make a salary that supports a spouse and two kids?

For example, should an aspiring sports journalist work for a radio station in the morning doing a two hour show and then do play by play for a local team at night?

Does a sports journalist need to do marketing or sales for their media outlet during the day on top of their main on air position to add value to the company in the eyes of their bosses?

Content Questions

With fewer sports journalists on their payroll, it will most likely be harder for ESPN to cover sports with smaller ratings like baseball and hockey. Live events will most likely be relegated to NBA basketball, NFL football, and college football.

ESPN radio hosts will discuss these sports at length. In studio television shows will most likely have opinionated personalities break down games.

ESPN has already outsourced their nightly baseball shows to the MLB Network except on Sundays preceding the nationally televised Sunday Night Baseball game, which will now probably only feature games involving big market teams like the Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, and Cubs.

Will a fan of a small market team even be able to watch their local team play nightly if a regional sports network cuts back on how many games they cover?

If a fan wants news on their local baseball or hockey team, where will that person turn?

Will the person turn to team reporters on the team’s website, who might be biased since they are on the team’s payroll?

Will Fox Sports or NBC Sports fill in the gaps for fans of baseball, hockey, and college sports? FloSoftball-logo

Will other web companies like FloSports enter the market by charging a fee to watch content from sports cut by ESPN?

Bottom Line

Sports journalism changed this week leaving lots of questions for sports journalists and fans. It will be fascinating how all of this shakes out.

 

Media Square

Reiff Media Blog

Reiff Media Twitter 

Reiff Media Facebook

Reiff Media Channel

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Top Baseball Prospects Compete All Summer in Palm Springs

by Steve Sitter and Wes Williams

Baseball fans in the Coachella Valley do not have to drive ninety minutes to see high quality baseball. Top college prospects from the Pac 12, Big West, SEC, Big Ten, and the Big 12 converge on downtown Palm Springs each summer to play for the Palm Springs Power.

Palm Springs Stadium Flag
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim held spring training at Palm Springs Stadium until 1992.

Fans can enjoy the national pastime each summer evening under the cool misters of historic Palm Springs Stadium, former spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  

Elite college players compete each year in collegiate summer baseball leagues with teams like the Palm Springs Power. The most well known league is the Cape Cod League, with teams like the Chatham Anglers having produced Jeff Bagwell, Thurman Munson, and Evan Longoria in their 54 year history.

In only 13 years, the Palm Springs Power have had 93 players sign professional baseball contracts, 81 of those to Major League organizations.  Notable former players include Brian Shaw (Cleveland Indians) and Tyler Saladino (Chicago White Sox). 

1024px-tyler_saladino_on_april_302c_2016
Tyler Saladino played for the Palm Springs Power and now starts for the Chicago White Sox

The Power play in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League, which includes six teams.  The team has an overall record of 465-130 and has won seven league championships, including five straight from 2011 to 2015.  Last year, the Power finished in second place in the league with a record of 28-11.

Andrew Starke is the founder and president of the Palm Springs Power.  Starke continues to place great importance on community involvement, earning praise not only from the Palm Springs Chamber Of Commerce, but from Mayor Robert Moon as well.

While they are not the first team to play in historic Palm Springs Stadium, they have achieved the greatest level of success there since the Angels in 1961.

According to Starke,  “The lack of success of previous teams was well documented, but there was one glaring mistake that they were all committing; none of those minor league teams were local, and the community couldn’t relate.  I look at the success of Gene Autry’s Angels, and used that as a template for creating a hometown team that the community can really get behind.”

Earlier in the year, Starke named Casey Dill as manager of the Power.  Dill has an extensive background in professional baseball and hopes to add to the already successful Palm Springs baseball franchise.

Casey Starke Jersey
Casey Dill was named Power Manager in September

“This is a team whose success is determined by winning championships and promoting our players into MLB organizations” Dill said. “We aim to stay at the forefront of player development and knowledge of MLB scouting standards to continue to guide and lead our players into professional baseball.”

Dill has nine years of professional and summer collegiate managing experience, earning an overall record of 371-220 with four league championships. He is a graduate of Major League Baseball Scout School and also works as an Associate Scout with the Atlanta Braves.

“The greater Palm Springs community does a great job embracing the Palm Springs Power as the hometown team. Our mascot Rocky the Ram is one of the most recognizable characters in the community. It is an honor and pleasure to manage a team that is loved and supported as well as the Power are in Palm Springs.” said Power Manager Casey Dill.

On top of coming out to the ballpark for top level baseball from elite college players, fans can come out for an entertaining evening in Palm Springs.  Kids can enjoy the bounce house and meet Rocky the Ram down the third baseline. Adults can enjoy dollar beer night throughout the summer on Tuesdays.

Screen Shot 2017-04-25 at 2.23.48 PM
Tuesdays are Dollar Beer Nights at Palm Springs Stadium

“Power games are a blast and they’re affordable for the whole family to come. It is a wonderful social atmosphere and the kids always have fun in the bounce house and the race around the bases” said longtime Palm Springs resident Wendy Patterson.

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question Answer
Is the Palm Springs Power a A, AA, or AAA minor league team? The Power is not a minor league team, it is a summer collegiate team made up of players from universities around the country. Collegiate summer baseball, or, “wood bat leagues,” as they are commonly known, are amateur baseball leagues that operate between the college baseball season in the spring, and the beginning of the fall college semester.

 

About what is the equivalent minor league level? The Palm Springs Power play at a level roughly below AA ball. In other words, fans are seeing prospects 2-4 years away from the MLB.
Does the team play the Rancho Cucamunga Quakes or Inland Empire 66ers? No. They play in the Southern California Collegiate Baseball League, which includes six teams  In 12 years of baseball, the Power have an overall record of 465-130 (win percentage of .782), and have won seven league championships, including five straight from 2011 to 2015. Teams in the league include the San Diego Force and So Cal Bombers
Have Power players made it to the MLB? Since the team’s inception, they have had a total of 93 players sign professional baseball contracts, 81 of those to Major League organizations.  Notable former players include Brian Shaw (Indians) and Tyler Saladino (White Sox).
What is the history of the Palm Springs Power? The Palm Springs Power is the brainchild of Andrew Starke, who remains owner and President.  They aren’t the first team to play in historic Palm Springs Stadium, but they have achieved the greatest level of success there since the Angels in 1961. According to Starke,  “The lack of success of previous teams was well documented, but there was one glaring mistake that they were all committing; none of those minor league teams were local, and the community couldn’t relate.  I look at the success of Gene Autry’s Angels, and used that as a template for creating a hometown team that the community can really get behind.”  Starke continues to place great importance on community involvement, earning praise not only from the Palm Springs Chamber Of Commerce, but from Mayor Robert Moon and Palm Springs Police Chief Brian Reyes as well. Both Mayor Moon and Chief Reyes threw out the first pitch at Power games in 2016

MLB Betting Odds for So Cal Teams

Opening day is only 48 hours away for Southern California Major League Baseball teams so now is your time to get your last second futures bets for the Los Angeles Angels, Los 6153882123_06f4913fc7_bAngeles Dodgers, and San Diego Padres.

Odds to win World Series according to Bovada

Dodgers +900

Angels +4000

Padres + 15000

2000px-Los_Angeles_Angels_of_Anaheim.svg

Odds to win Pennant according to Bovada

Dodgers +500

Angels 30/1 +2200

Padres 250/1 +6600

 

Odds to win division according to Bovada 

San_Diego_Padres_logo.svg

Dodgers -210

Angels + 750

Padres +5000

 

 

 

 

Reiff Media Blog | Reiff Media Twitter | Reiff Media Channel | KESQ Sports | FloSoftball