Monday, February 11, 2008

Signing Daze

Football signing day has come and gone, and every year it only seems to get bigger. Last Wednesday was the first day high school seniors could sign letters of intent to play at the collegiate level, and the day has become almost another national holiday. In some ways, the interest surrounding signing day has surpassed the Super Bowl.

The reason is simple: new technologies that have made sports discussion a 365/24/7 proposition. Internet sites like and are making millions selling subscriptions to their services, which mainly focus on which high school athletes are going to what schools. Fans spend countless hours discussing and debating the latest recruiting rankings and rumors, which isn't necessarily a good thing. These kids already come to college with huge expectations and the pressue has increased dramatically. Consider what happened last week in one of the most bizarre recruiting stories ever.

But more importantly, signing day is a great example of how these new technologies are giving consumers the power to shape content and take the agenda-setting function away from the traditional media. In years gone by signing day might get a few lines in the paper. Now, newspaper and television have to make it a big deal because it's already so big on Internet sites and fan forums. The same thing is happening with all high school sports ... the Internet is forcing the traditional media to pay more attention. It's a fascinating evolution shaped by the growth of media technology.


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