March 15, 2006

Sports + Blogs = Goodness

Where do communities built around strong opinions and discussion make sense? Politics? Check. Religion? Check - mostly. Technology? Check. Sports? Absolutely. While the major sports media is bumbling through the move from article-based journalism and columns to online video, some smaller companies and groups are leading the way in capturing true fan community through the blogosphere, and none are doing it better than SportsBlogs Nation - headed by Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas Zuniga, and propelled through A's blog pioneer Tyler Bleszinski. The group - originally focused on major league baseball communities, is rapidly branching out to the other major sports such as the NFL and NBA and is seeing interest from the college realm - an area of sure growth in the future. Though starting out quietly, SportsBlogs Nation is seeing more than 100,000 individual page views a day, and is gaining the respect of fans and players alike - as site editors have scored interviews with team owners, GMs, players and coaches, once the exclusive realm of the major media.

One of the more annoying trends with all media - not just sports, is the trick of taking short articles or columns and rebranding the pieces as "blogs". Look - it's not really a true blog unless viewers are at the very least given the option to provide comment. It's not just posting content with a timestamp. And the vast majority of sites - including ESPN - don't do that. In dramatic contrast, every single one of SportsBlogs Nation's sites is designed with the users in mind - not only can visitors make comments, but they can create their own diaries, and should a site grow popular, there can be multiple user admins available to produce front-page stories. ESPN, CBS Sportsline, CNNSI and the rest of those sites aren't even close. Meanwhile, SportsBlogs Nation continues to sign up new teams and bloggers to provide real-time fan-generated content.

I've mentioned Athletics Nation here before, but I've also signed up with accounts on other SBNation sites like SacTown Royalty for the Sacramento Kings, Beyond the Boxscore for heavy-duty baseball stats, and Minor League Ball to cover those who haven't yet hit the majors. SBNation is so diverse, it's dramatically limited my need to consume the popular media. Anything relevant is already posted to my favorite sites. I've seen the future of sports. The revolution will not be televised. It will be blogged, on SBNation.

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