Sports Leagues Get Carried Away With “The Inside Story”

Every company is a media company. Some more so than others.

According to Washington Post, professional and big-time college teams aren’t just news sources now; they’re in the news business, too, with their own radio, TV and Internet operations.

Typically, I’m all for a brand taking the content reigns, but this particular situation isn’t benign.

Teams and leagues have imposed an increasing array of restrictions on news organizations limiting how and what they can report. The trend has even trickled down to the high school level, with some state athletic associations signing “exclusive” TV and media contracts that prevent independent journalists from certain kinds of reporting.

“We’re definitely being disadvantaged,” says John Cherwa, a deputy sports editor at the Los Angeles Times who serves as chairman of the Associated Press Sports Editors’s legal-affairs committee. “Some of these sports were built on the publicity that we in the media gave them. They need to remember that it’s important to have independent voices covering them.”

I would be more apt to support the sports leagues’ media plays if they we’re also restricting “real journalists” from reporting. When they do that, they’re limiting access to information and employing monopolistic practices.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.