Thursday, June 14, 2007

About bats, balls and blogs

On Sunday, June 10, Louisville Courier-Journal reporter Brian Bennett was kicked out of the press box at the NCAA Baseball Super Regional for live-blogging during the University of Louisville's 20-2 win over Oklahoma State en route to the College World Series. What led to Bennett's ouster?

Here's how Josh Centor from the Double A Zone – the "official blog" of the NCAA - explains it:

Due to the NCAA's broadcasting agreement with ESPN, bloggers are not permitted to update their sites with in-game coverage from the baseball press box. In-game updates include providing readers with the score, inning of the game, roster moves, etc. The policy was enacted at a baseball game, but applies to all NCAA championship events.

Thus, if you want to sit in the press box, you'd better not think about telling your readers what's happened until the fat lady has sung. There's been much chatter in the blogosphere about this. Here are a few of the postings I particularly liked:

Deadspin

Dan Shanoff

Earthling

Eric McErlain

These guys have all argued great points – from the NCAA being totally out touch with how people receive information to the idea that any Joe or Jane with a TV and an internet connection (or attendee with a cell phone) could do the same thing Brian was doing.

When I was at the University of Georgia, we published the scores for the gymnastics meets (including the NCAAs) as they were announced. Since these meets were never broadcast live it was an invaluable resource for fans that weren't there to still follow along. That fact may be what separates what we were doing from what happened Sunday, as ESPN was broadcasting the game Bennett was blogging.

And when I was working at the boxing venue during the 1996 Olympics, we were constantly coming across men calling the action on their cell phones to be broadcast over the radio back home (which was usually somewhere in Brazil). If those guys had stepped outside the press area, they would have been beyond our jurisdiction.

But Sandi, how does this topic relate to Marketing Clutter? I am glad you asked.

To not grasp the fact that live-blogging is THE most effective and most efficient form of reporting and analysis of all kinds of events - sports or otherwise – demonstrates the NCAA's ignorance. There are so many ways for people to get information these days, that the NCAA cut off its nose to spite its face with its ban on live-blogging. Apparently they thought people would chose to read Bennett's blog over watching the game on TV, which is exactly what happens during the workday when more people turn to the internet than the TV for information.

Even though this didn't happen during the week, the NCAA's tone-deafness to the realities of how people get their information is appalling. This is counterintuitive to how people communicate.

Given that this is the same organization that also banned text messages between coaches and recruits, the ban on live-blogging doesn't surprise me. Way to stay in the 1980's, NCAA!

If this were a Bud Lite commercial, I'd salute you, Mr. I Regulate Information Like it's 1972. You're a real man of genius!

Here's hoping fans of the Louisville Cardinals who have to work during tomorrow's first-round game (which begins at 1 p.m. CST) can follow the action to their liking.

2 comments:

Dave C. said...

I wonder if Louisville fans or sports reporters did anything today in response -- have you seen anything?

Sandi K. Solow said...

Thanks Dave for asking. I found another blog on the Louisville C-J site with posts from another reporter: http://www.courier-journal.com/blogs/bozich/blog.html

Looks like he posted something after the first pitch but not much since.