The power of social media to provide voice and perspective to an individual or a movement is a phenomenon unlike any other. Whether its an oppressed group looking to share their story or a celebrity providing a glimpse of their personal life – the ability to go viral commands attention. In our business you hear time and time again that content is king – now more than ever you can move the needle with simply a disruptive tweet, a humorous YouTube video, or an impactful Instagram image. The professional athletes that can create a voice on these outlets are often the most followed, most influential, and have the strongest endorsement potential. And because this strong business interest exists companies are innovating left and right to profit in one way or another. The next big wave in this social sphere is self-publishing.
Last Friday, we were invited to SportsBlog.com’s Hanging with the Pro’s which featured current Dallas Maverick and former member of the 2004 UConn Huskie National Championship team, Charlie Villanueva. There was no guided direction for the conversation as many topics were reached, such as the state of the NCAA and Big East, Villanueva’s UConn days, his marriage proposal and his opinion on Adam Silver. It was an inside and uncut look at how an NBA player views a variety of topics, without a swarm of media surrounding him.
When it comes to our professional athlete bloggers here at SportsBlog, they raise the bar each month with their fun, brilliant and brave blog posts. They share their personal stories with us; they put themselves out there; they tell it like they see it. And with so many awesome pro athletes blogging with us, you can bet that it’s going to be a tough race to see which ones score the most pageviews in our Pro Leaderboard competition. This month it was closer than ever — and we even had a newcomer reach the coveted top three!
Derek Jeter was one of the most guarded athletes around the press, and his post-playing career now seems devoted to pushing the press away even further. Last week he announced a new site, The Players’ Tribune, a website where pro athletes can share their thoughts, feelings, and stories directly with readers, rather than through a reporter’s lens.
The Players’ Tribune launch raised big questions for established media–most notably, what does sports journalism look like if athletes decide that reporters are dispensable? But this isn’t the first time those questions are being asked. A company called SportsBlog has been doing roughly the same thing for two years, providing a platform for NBA, NFL, and other leagues’ players to communicate directly to fans. It is currently the 21st-biggest sports site, according to comScore. And its success–and limitations–say a lot about what the future of sports journalism holds.