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March Madness On Demand Mobile App Helps 47% Increase in Visits

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Turner Sports, CBS Sports and the NCAA announced that NCAA March Madness on Demand (MMOD) has delivered a 47% increase in total visits across the broadband and mobile products for the first three rounds of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

In total, there were 26.7 million visits for the five days spanning the first three rounds of the tournament. Here are some interesting stats for the mobile app:

  • There are over 702,000 average daily users on MMOD.
  • MMOD was the #1 free app for both iPhone and iPad on Thursday, March 17 and Friday, March 18 in the App store.
  • 36% of all streams for MMOD on Saturday, March 19 and Sunday, March 20 were from the iPad and iPhone apps.
  • An average of 20.4 minutes per daily unique visitor was spent streaming MMOD on mobile apps Thursday, March 17 – Sunday, March 20.

Have you been following the tournament online? Learn more about how Mobile and Social are Changing the Game.

March Madness: How Mobile and Social are Changing the Game

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It’s that time of the year again. The opening rounds of the NCAA Men’s D1 Basketball Tournament are responsible for interoffice gambling, gut-wrenching defeats and a massive drop-off in work productivity. But March Madness also offers valuable insight into how major sports events are consumed by fans, particularly in regards to the effects of mobile and social on the game viewing experience.

The proliferation of mobile devices and social media usage has dramatically affected the way fans interact with and watch their favorite teams and athletes perform. This year’s NCAA tournament will find fans group-messaging by phone and reviewing their brackets on their laptop, all while watching the game at a sports bar. They will “check in” to the Final Four on Foursquare to unlock a badge, “Like” their favorite team’s Facebook page to show pride and even “trash tweet” some of the tournament’s players on Twitter. As social feeds and text messages continuously interrupt fans, networks and sponsors must fight and offer incremental value to keep the attention of their fickle viewers.

This can be a troublesome and confusing time for those looking to protect multi-year / multi-billion dollar broadcasting deals, who may be fearful to extend live streaming beyond broadcast television. However, CBS Sports and the NCAA have proven that making live broadcasts of major sporting events widely available via mobile devices and social media channels will not cannibalize your audience. In fact, it will likely drive more views, more engagement, and ultimately more revenue.

Access for Everyone
CBS is committed to making the NCAA Tournament available to anyone, anywhere for free. Rather than restrict live games to only appear on broadcast TV, March Madness on Demand (MMOD) allows fans to view every game on the web, iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. As a result, no other live sporting event comes close in terms of audience reach or time spent viewing online.

This open approach has led to tremendous success with both viewers and advertisers. In 2009, MMOD garnered 8.6 million total hours of live streaming video and audio, while pocketing an additional $30 million in online ad revenue. Last year saw a 36% growth in total viewing hours with 11.7 million and generated $37 million in online ad sales. All the while, broadcast figures have continued to grow steadily.

Credit CBS with realizing its online audience does not detract from its broadcast audience. Online and mobile viewers have proven additive as they tune in primarily during work hours and times when they are not able to get to a TV. During primetime hours, broadcast numbers dominate.

By making games available via web and mobile, it has only increased viewership. The constant access allows fans to stay connected and engaged with the action, which in turn motivates the socially-inclined to share emotional experiences related to March Madness with friends via text messages, status updates, tweets, or good old-fashioned word of mouth. So when your co-worker catches the latest buzzer beater live, he’s going to let you know about it at the office water cooler, or the digital equivalent (Facebook or Twitter).

Sports Fans are Social
It’s no surprise that social media will play a prominent role in March Madness, as was the case last year and is with any major sporting event these days. Research shows nearly one in four (23%) online Americans will use social media to follow the NCAA Tournament this year, according to a survey from IMRE Sports.

Brands are not so much interested in the fact that fans will use social media this March, but more so in which platforms and exactly how they plan to use it. These are the insights that will help shape marketing and advertising budgets over the next few years.

Of the 23% of online Americans who plan to use social media to follow March Madness, the research study revealed the following:

  • 50% will use social networking sites
  • 31% will specifically utilize YouTube
  • 27% will utilize a mobile application

Among those planning to use social media to follow the tournament, 62% will use it specifically to check the scores and 44% will use it to watch the games.

The survey also revealed that Facebook is the most popular social media channel for men’s college basketball fans to follow and interact with their favorite teams and players during the regular season. The Kansas Basketball Facebook page currently has over 80,000 “Likes” or fans, more than eight NBA teams. Additionally, the NCAA March Madness Facebook page has accumulated over 125,000 “Likes” and continues to grow rapidly.

These numbers indicate Facebook is becoming the “de facto” online destination for fan activity and conversation related to the NCAA Tournament and it should come as no surprise that brands have taken notice. K-Swiss partnered with Yahoo! Sports for its March Madness “Tournageddon” Brackett Challenge this year. The social media promotion spans across several platforms and is hosted by the larger-than-life HBO character, Kenny Powers, who has amassed over 200k Twitter followers and almost 1 million Facebook “Likes”.
This is just one example. Look for dozens of other corporate brands to “fish where the fish are” and try to catch a few new customers by tapping into the passion that March Madness evokes from its viewers.

What Does All This Mean?
When it comes to watching sports nothing replaces the live “in-stadium” experience, and fans will choose a 50-inch HD Plasma with surround sound any day of the week over an iPhone or laptop. Content owners understand that sports fans look to supplement their viewing experience, and not replace it, with mobile phones, laptops and tablets.

Advances in technology and social media have allowed networks and sponsors to engage fans far beyond the game itself. For example, MMOD offers fans countless hours of highlights, pre-game analysis, special camera replays and other unique content that simply cannot be broadcast on mainstream channels. This in turn feeds the digital fan’s desire for content and access that he/she can share via email, social media, text messaging and other activities inherent to these devices they use to compliment the viewing experience.

But all aside, it’s important not to forget the most important part of a major sporting event like March Madness, the Olympics or the World Cup is the live action itself. The cool behind-the-scenes footage and exclusive Twitter updates pale in comparison. So when and where fans cannot access the action on TV, they should be able to access it on the devices they carry with them 90% of the day. And more importantly, content and rights owners should understand this will only increase total viewership.

The NCAA Tournament and MMOD have proven that free content, available to anyone will not detract from the broadcast, but rather add value and views. Look to see more availability of major sports events as leagues, networks and advertisers grow more confident that this won’t eat into the primetime broadcast that pays the bills.

Steve Cobb and the social marketing agency he co-founded, Activ8Social, are at the forefront of sports marketing and social media. Steve led the planning and execution of several groundbreaking sponsor activations, featuring athletes such as Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics and Reggie Bush of the New Orleans Saints, that leveraged social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Stickybits to create real world fan experiences. His work has been featured on ESPN.com, Mashable, and InsideFacebook. Follow him on Twitter @Steve_Cobb

Effectively Interacting With Fans Through Social Media

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The use of social networking by professional sports teams has exploded over the last two years, and the topic has received an overwhelming amount of media attention. With an ever-increasing number of teams and athletes using social networking platforms as a tool to communicate with fans, it’s probably easier to count the number of teams NOT using social media than the ones that are.

There are a number of teams across the country and throughout professional sports doing amazing things to interact with fans through social media. Here are a few concepts that have worked well for the Sacramento Kings:

  • Consistent Two-Way Dialogue: Unfortunately, many sports teams and brands in general are still using social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and blogs as one-way broadcast tools. The philosophy of the Kings new media team is to respond to every fan question on Twitter, engage in the dialogue under wall posts on Facebook and actively participate in the comments under blogs. This gives the team a great platform for listening to and addressing fan feedback and it gives the fans a chance to get to know the people in the organization on a more personal level.
  • Making Fans the Stars: The Kings try to showcase fans who interact with the team online as much as possible. There are some simple tactics such as consistently listing loyal Kings fans in Follow Friday posts, re-tweeting comments and showcasing photos and videos posted by Kings fans on a regular basis or giving a shout out to Kings fans who are active in the comments on the Facebook wall or under the blog. Then there are some bigger initiatives that have been received well, like using a loyal and interactive Kings Twitter follower in an online video promotion for a ticket special along with a Kings player, using raw video footage a Kings fan shot and posted online in an actual TV spot promoting ticket sales or having a local blogger participate in an in-arena interview with the Kings PA announcer before a game.
  • Making Fans the Reporters: Before nearly every media availability session, the Kings ask their Twitter followers if they have any questions for the team and always try to get a handful of those questions asked and then post the answers online. The team’s new media reporter also shoots special video segments with players consisting of all questions from fans on Twitter, where the fans who asked are always named along with the question. The team has also used some loyal fans as guest bloggers on its site on occasion.
  • Trivia and Other Contests: Everyone likes free stuff, especially sports fans. The Kings new media team has discovered a great way to engage loyal fans is through regularly posting trivia questions or incentive-based offers that come with a simple prize like a jersey, a hat or even an autographed ball. Foursquare has also proven to be an effective social media tool to increase awareness of Kings events by offering those who check-in at a Kings location a chance for a special prize.
  • Exclusive Offers: In order to show Kings fans who follow the team online the benefits of doing so, the team consistently creates exclusive offers on tickets and merchandise which are promoted only online using a special promotional code for redemption. Word spreads when a good deal exists, and it generally leads to the team picking up new fans in the digital space.
  • Offline Events: The Kings new media team believes it’s important to foster relationships with the team’s fans both online and offline, and always looks for ways to create a stronger bond from fans to fans and from fans to the team. Events such as Social Media Night at a Kings game give the team’s loyal online followers a chance to meet each other, meet representatives of the organization and even hear from players who are active in the online space.
  • Real-Time Interaction: In an ongoing quest to bring the fans closer to the team, the Kings have found live chats with players and team personnel using the Cover It Live platform or streaming video with UStream with a chat function for fans to ask players and staff questions they can answer in real-time are effective ways to increase the team’s online fan base and brand loyalty.

These are just a few concepts that have been effective for the Kings over the last few years. There are numerous other examples of teams throughout professional sports doing very creative and impactful things online to interact with their fans, and we look forward to many more fun things to come as technology continues to evolve.

Mitch Germann is in his fourth season with the Sacramento Kings and his first as Vice President, Marketing and Communications. He had served the previous three seasons as the vice president of business communications. In his new role, Germann oversees the Kings marketing, new media, business public relations and community service teams.

An Open Letter To All From Blogs With Balls and HHR Media

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To the illustrious attendees of Blogs With Balls 2.0:

We at HHR Media felt that by Tuesday, your BwB 2.0 hangover and double-vision would be mostly gone, and those of you (of which there were a few) who missed plane flights as a result of your excessive “conventioneering” shall we say, are home safe and sound.   We owe you a lot of thanking.  We tried to do it as much as possible in person, but there were a few of you who we missed and we want to make sure you are all aware at how grateful we were to have you in Vegas.  Each of you being there mattered to everyone else who attended, and that’s what makes things like BwB great.  That and free drinks of course.  Those never hurt.

We only have two requests of you to ensure that BwB remains a great experience for future attendees and sponsors:

  • We ask that you publicly thank our sponsorsPlease include in your BwB coverage a line and link to say thanks for making it possible. If you would like to send them an email as well, that goes a long way, so let us know and we will furnish you the right contact (though some of you already have Captain Morgan’s address). They want to know they were seen and heard, which in return makes them likely to get more involved as well as make the next event possible.   We are not asking you to schill for them or their point of view, but it can’t be said enough that our sponsors – FoxSports.com, Yardbarker.com, ESPN.com, SB Nation, Sports Illustrated, Diageo Liquors and CarbonPoker all clearly demonstrated that they felt you all being in the same place was good for sports media, and that they want to be associated with you and your work.

(A special thanks as well to Dan Levy for all his work on the Shootout;  our videographers and photographers, Ben from Berylium Pictures and Rob from Kabimba Media;  and the guys at Wondershot for their work on the intro video;  and, of course, our panelists.  Each of these individuals contributed their time and talent to make the event a success, and deserve our thanks.  Further, please keep them in mind if you are ever in need of said talents).

  • We also ask you to tell US about your experience.  Either via blog post or email, but please do not hold back.  We want to make the next one better (without going to the moon, Josh), but it will only be as good as your feedback.  So tell us what worked, what didn’t, and most importantly WHY. While this was a wildly different set-up than the first BwB, that doesn’t mean we can’t keep the best parts of it.  Also please consider sending along a one or two sentence wrap-up that we could use for future Blogs With Balls promotion.  Something that you would not mind being publicly attributed to you and your site.  Maybe why BwB is important to you as a blogger, or what it is that you get from the experience, or why you have come to two in a row.  We will let you know when/how we plan to use it, but it is much easier getting it now while it is still fresh than asking you for it in the lead up to the next one.

For your convenience, you can use this form for feedback: http://blogswithballs.com/2/feedback/

Finally, lots of our videos and pictures will be trickling out this week, and in full force next week.  We will send those out to all of you and point you to where they are hosted so you can use and share as you like – so definitely send us your pictures.  Thanks to those of you who already have pics and vids up!

-Don, Kyle, and Chris.
HHR Media | Blogs With Balls

2009 Blogs With Balls Program At BlogWorld Expo Announced

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If you didn’t know already, we are partnering with the folks at HHR Media this year to bring the most amazing sports blogging track ever to BlogWorld & New Media Expo.  The sports blogging conference is aptly named Blogs With Balls and drew more than 300 attendees to their first event a couple of months ago in NYC.

Without further adieu here is the preliminary schedule:

PANEL 1:  CONNECTING DIRECTLY

A discussion about what athletes being able to speak directly to their fanbase via blogs & Twitter means to sports media, bloggers, and fans.


PANEL 2:
THE FUTURE OF SPORTS MEDIA

A discussion between traditional journalists and bloggers about the rise in prominence of sports blogs as members of the media and how the two parties can work together to compliment one another instead of taking an adversarial tone.

  • Bethlehem Shoals  (FreeDarko, Bloomsbury USA, The Sporting News’ The Baseline)
  • Matt Ufford (WithLeather/Kissing Suzy Kolber)
  • Kevin Blackistone (Around the Horn/FanHouse/Dallas Morning News)
  • Amy K. Nelson (ESPN.com)


PANEL 3:
ACCESS
Certain teams and leagues have embraced bloggers and recognized their value in promoting their respective brands.  Several have allotted bloggers many of the same privileges they do member of the traditional media.   Many, however, are still guarded and protective of their product in this regard.  We discuss the pros and cons of the various (policies and how to deal with them).

  • Moderator:  Dan Levy


PRESENTATION 1:  BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT:  BUILDING YOUR BRAND & GROWING YOUR BOTTOM LINE

A presentation from the Sports Illustrated Group on strategies you can use to leverage your voice and your audience to reach marketers, advertisers and editors.

  • Jeff Griffing, VP of Ad Sales for the Sports Illustrated Group
  • Paul Fichtenbaum, Managing Editor SI.com
  • Ken Fuchs, VP SI Digital


PRESENTATION/Q & A:  STATE OF THE UNION

3 of the top sports bloggers on the web talk about the direction the genre has taken, the direction it’s headed, and answer questions from attendees.

Believe me when I say this is just the begging. The HHR guys have some amazing surprise guests lined up that we will be announcing soon.

Stay tuned to the blog over the next several days for more announcements for Blogs With Balls and the rest of the BlogWorld & New Media Expo conference sessions.

Does Your Blog Have Balls? Join Us In New York City!

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bwb_logo_block I am headed to New York City on Friday, June 12, 2009 to participate in a very cool blogging conference in New York City at Stout New York.  The event is scheduled all day on June 13, 2009.  The have lots of panelists and cool topics. Of most interest to me is the “Why We Hate You” topic which will discuss why the old media is not so fond of the new media folks. I think this will be a topic of discussion coming up in our own conference in Las Vegas.

They have lunch sponsored by Guiness, and have a great lineup of speakers, including a past keynote speaker of Blog World Expo, Gary Vaynerchuk (perhaps he will finally make that announcement that he has purchasedthe New York Jets?), and a post game party sponsored by men’s magazine GQ. I think they describe it best:

Blogs With Balls is the world’s largest sports blogger and new media gathering. Sports fans, writers, sites, teams, athletes and companies, don’t miss your chance to talk with industry leaders about the future of sports media. Scheduled speakers include: Jim Bankoff (SB Nation), A.J. Daulerio (Deadspin), Spencer Hall (EDSBS), Dan Levy (On the DL Podcast) Dan Shanoff, Bethlehem Shoals (FreeDarko.com), Dan Steinberg (The Washington Post’s D.C. Sports Bog), Michael Tunison (KissingSuzyKolber.com) Matt Ufford (WithLeather.com) and Pete Vlastelica (CEO, Yardbarker.com)

This is my first trip to New York City and I can’t wait to attend.  If you want to attend the event as well, they are taking registrations through 7:00 p.m. on June 11, which is tomorrow.  Get over and get a pass for this great event.  What else are you going to do on Saturday?

Shaq Tweets At Halftime

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Shaq In a word:  Wow.  We’ve been talking a lot lately about just how big social networking is getting, how huge Facebook and Twitter have become over the last few months and how they are more than likely going to continue to do so.  In case you were still a non-believer (didn’t the simple fact that the QUEEN of ENGLAND has an account convince you?!) I think the events that transpired on Shaquille O’Neal’s Twitter account Saturday should have convinced you.

Just how big has the service gotten?  Try this on for size:  Leading up to his game on Saturday, Shaq was promising his Twitter followers that he would, in fact, Tweet DURING the game or during halftime.  Did he hold to his word?  Yes, Yes he did.  At halftime of his game against Washington, Shaq simply tweeted:  “Shhhhhhh.”

Here’s the even crazier thing, Shaq wasn’t the first one to Tweet during a big event, like a professional sporting event.  Last Sunday, Charlie Villanueva of Milwaukee actually got in trouble with his coach for sending out a Tweet during the game.  Did Shaq suffer the same consequences for his “Shhhhhhh?”  Nope.  Here is what his coach, Alvin Gentry, had to say:

“As long as he gets 25 [points] and 11 [rebounds], he can do whatever he wants. He can Twitter, Facebook, MySpace…”

That, coming from a coach that also has a Twitter account.  All this leads to the question:  What’s next?  Are we going to see Tweets coming in between rounds at boxing matches or MMA fights?  Are we going to to have the President sending out updates during Oval Office meetings?  Pitchers updating their Status while their team is batting during the World Series?

The short answer…Probably.

Sports Imitating Life

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At least one Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Buzz Bissinger is imitating many of his MSM brethren in his opinion of sports bloggers. Check out this video from the Bob Costas Now program where Bissinger begins a 10 minute segment personally attacking super sports blogger (and BlogWorld 2007 speaker) Will Leitch from Deadspin.

Costas starts off the segment with a short pre-produced piece touting the benefits the Internet offers sports fans:

instant scores, constant updates, any stat that’s ever been computed highlights, breakdowns and analysis of every game from thousands of writers in hundreds of cities. What sports fan could complain about that?

Then the darkside:

but there’s also this, the wild west of the Internet. The Blogsophere. A virtual bulletin board where anyone can post anything. Opinions photos, videos; all bluring the lines between news and gossip, truth and rumor, commentary and insult.

And other than Bob confusing message boards with blogs what exactly is wrong with that?

Well as you find out later in the segment it’s that “anyone” part that has Bob all uptight.

While Leitch is trying to answer a question from Costas; Bissinger interupts:

I am just going to interject because I feel very strongly about this. (looking at Leitch) I think you are full of shit. Because I think blogs are dedicated to cruelty, they are dedicated to dishonesty, they are dedicated to speed

Bissinger then goes on to quote a random Deadspin commenter as proof of the poor quality of blog writing and asks Leitch how can he be proud of it.

Huh? Bissinger maybe a talented writer. He does have a Pulitzer and I loved Friday Night Lights (the movie) but he obviously doesn’t have a clue about the Blogosphere which is sad really.

Costas then reads several more comments and calls them “posts”. Bob is also clueless.

Are Bissinger and Costas responsible for every letter to the editor, those printed and un-printed? of course not. Neither is Leitch.

Now I actually agree with their larger point that the level of discourse on the Internet can be offensive and depressing at times but that depends on the blog, message board, or website your reading.

The moderation policy of any particular blog may be a reflection of that publisher’s judgement but not their writing skills.

Personally I prefer blogs that have some reasonable standard of moderation, like not allowing racial slurs, harassing other commenters, excessive foul language, etc. But that’s my personal preference.

A good argument can be made in this age of transparency that allowing anything goes commenting provides a level of transparency that today’s content consumer demands.

Further into the segment Bissinger takes issue with Deadspin’s publishing of a photo of Arizona Cardinals QB Matt Leinart doing a beer bong. He doesn’t say it straight out but he implies that no newspaper would print such a photo. To be blunt that is BS. Every sports outlet covered the story and many printed the photo. So what is Bissinger’s real issue?

That blogs are scooping newspapers and broadcasters?

He’s right blogs are faster and that’s one of the reasons why they are thriving.

In fact every issue Bissenger has with blogs is territory long treaded on by newspapers including bad journalism, poor fact checking, sensationalism, rumor-mongering, and yes juts plain old bad writing. Having a journalism degree does not make you a good writer.

What made me really laugh was Bissenger’s claim that somehow sports writers were impartial and bloggers weren’t. Anyone who has ever read their local sports page knows the beat writer is a total homer and you can tell in many national broadcasts which team the announcer is rooting for.

Bissinger shouldn’t feel bad, and we as bloggers should understand that journalists like Bissinger and Costas still reflect the majority opinion among their peers.

What they and other journalists need to realize is that blogging is just a tool that they could and should be embracing. The most successful bloggers are great writers. Bissinger’s performance in this piece tells me that he would make a great blogger.

Costas shouldn’t be let off the hook either. He leads us to believe that bloggers and commenters sharing their opinions are bad for sports. That is just plain crazy talk. Sports are all about opinions. Who’s the greatest player, greatest team, best hitter, bets golfer, best goalee, shooter, softest hands, most intimidating, who missed the tag, who missed the base, which shot was after the buzzer, who got robbed and on and on.

All sports fans love arguing about sports. Blogs are the best thing to happen to sports since sports talk radio. Which brings me to the biggest reason blogs are thriving in every vertical but particularly in sports.

Every dedicated sports fan has at one time or another read something in the local paper, heard something on sports talk radio, or seen a commentator on ESPN say something that has gotten you all riled up. You called up the station and then the host cut you off. You yelled at the TV and then realized your spouse was looking at you like you were crazy. Maybe you even started to write a letter to the editor until you realized it was going to cost you 75 cents to mail it and it would never get printed anyway.

Now all sports fans have a voice. Most blogs will run your comments with a pretty liberal moderation policy and other fans will argue with you. If you have a lot to say you can start up your own damn blog and spout off about your team all day and night if you like.

If you are good, you can even find an audience of fellow fans to cheer you on and rivals to antagonize you. That is why we love sports! That is why we love sports blogs!

I would love to recommend a handful of great sports blogs for Costas and Bissinger to read over the next few months and then have them come to BlogWorld this September and tell us if their opinions have changed at all.

I would start with MetsBlog, Athletics Nation, and Gaslamp Ball ( go Pads!). Which sports blogs would you recommend?

**update saturday 8 am PST**

watching the segment again and noticed that as Costas is reading more examples of the nasty comments people make at Deadspin directed at former ESPN announcer Sean Salisbury the audience and the guests are laughing. So we hate them but we laugh at them. In truth many of us contribute in the same “locker room talk” depending on the crowd we are hanging with at the time.

Vote for Mark Cuban on Dancing with the Stars

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The show airs tonight. Mark needs our help to win this thing. Check out this excerpt from his Facebook dancing with the stars page:

Mark invited you to “Dancing with the Stars – Vote for Mark and Kym – Again P4 !” today, October 15 at 8:00pm.

Mark says, “Thanks again to all that voted for us ! Its time to rally the troops again. anything you can do, call 1800 VOTE 411, go to abc.com text, get your friends, school and coworkers.

We need every vote we can get !

You can visit his facebook site here.

related. Check out Tyler Bleszinki’s post at Ahteletics Nation. Tyler thinks Mark buying the Cubs would be good for baseball.

Should Olympic Atheletes be allowed to blog?

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Interesting story on Brietbart the other day. Olympic Atheletes may be allowed to Blog:

The International Olympic Committee said Wednesday it is considering whether to let athletes post personal diaries on the Internet _ so long as the Olympic village isn’t turned into a “Big Brother” reality TV show.

Under Olympic rules, athletes, coaches and other team officials are barred from functioning as a “journalist or in any other media capacity” during the games. This is meant to protect the rights of the accredited media.

Of course the people who make the Olympics boring don’t get it. Allowing atheletes to blog would be a huge boost for the Olympics popularity and ratings. Spectators would be able to get insights and connect more with intimate details of sports they only casually watch every four years. Not to mention only getting coverage from announcers who know nothing about the sports they are covering.

If the IOC allowed atheletes to blog and the traditional media had their announcers and producers monitor them they would get far more interesting story lines and understand a whole lot more about the sports they are reporting on.

The a subgroup of the IOC press commission gets it:

“Athlete blogs bring a more modern perspective to the global appreciation of the games, particularly for a younger audience, and enhance the universality of the games,” the press group said.

This guy doesn’t:

Athletes’ commission member Bob Ctvrtlik, a former U.S. Olympic volleyball gold medalist, said privacy remained a major concern.

“We don’t want the village turned into a reality TV show during the Olympics,” he said. “We also want to protect rights that have been sold to sponsors. As of yet we don’t have a clear consensus on it.”  

I understand the need to protect sponsors dollars and exposure but protect old school media? That is silly and short sighted. Hopefully the IOC makes the right decision for their own good.

In other news this BlogWorld team member may have won his recent Tae Kwan Do tournament but is a long way from qualifying for the olympics.

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