Oh man. This week kind of got away from me.
The NBA Finals are over and I didn’t really even think about it. Apparently, I’m not alone. Marc Berman, who covers the Knicks for the New York Post blogged about both how boring the finals are AND comments by NBA commissioner David Stern saying the NBA doesn’t need newspapers to sell the sport. I kind of get down on the NHL and how they’re selling and not selling the sport, but lately I’m not sure if it’s less of a hockey problem and more of a sports-in-general problem. There’s just so much going on everywhere all the time, I’m not sure sports have the same weight they’ve had in the past. But Stern is crazy if he thinks people, and I would argue, more importantly, sports radio talk show hosts, don’t take all of their cues from newspapers. If the local paper isn’t covering a finals (NBA or NHL), a huge percentage of people aren’t going to go out of their way to find the games on TV. Not when most people have access to hundreds of channels and movies. It seems like everyone is online, surfing blogs, but I’m not sure how mainstream the activity actually is. If the front page/back page of your local paper is pushing baseball, you’re probably going to go home and think baseball. That’s just human nature.
Of course, the Islanders are trying to push blogging a bit more mainstream, setting up a bloggers-only section of Nassau Coliseum. Eric isn’t a fan of the idea, feeling it segregates the bloggers from the mainstream press, but I see the move as more of a way to engage fans than to stimulate media. The Islanders’ press release talks about letting bloggers cheer and support their team. That’s not what media does (usually). That’s what fans do. And that’s cool. A lot of bloggers are fans and I think it’s a great opportunity to bring more fans into the world of blogging. But I hope the Isles will be open to putting bloggers in the press area, too, should they want it. And it kind of seems like the Isles’ PR team is leaning that way. I have to admit, I’m super, super shocked that the Isles didn’t talk to Eric about this, seeing as how he is a local boy, a long-suffering fan, and the point man on pressbox blogging. It’s also interesting that the Isles are encouraging blogging as the NCAA seems to be trying to shut it down.
Of course, as stadium/arena/dome space becomes more valuable to teams, the idea of a press area is changing. As the press is pushed further and further away from the action, more and more writers are being forced to rely on the TV feed, rather than sightlines. If they start allowing pajamas in the press area, there will truly be no difference between bloggers and the mainstream media.