Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Opposing Views and JSM

Despite what you read on this blog, I am not into social media. I don't Facebook, Twitter or text; I don't even have a cell phone. I guess that qualifies me as one of those old guys who thinks that nobody cares what I ate for breakfast (BTW, today: nothing).

So I was a bit surprised to get an invitation to list JSM on Opposing Views. I answered affirmatively, so now (or soon) JSM will be listed and I'll be an official "expert." I know this is a good thing, but as something of a social media Luddite I'm not exactly sure what my responsibilities will be. I hope they don't make me buy a phone...

As to more mundane matters...

The Journal of Sport and Social Issues has a special issue coming out on "Transforming Sport: Visions of Social Justice/Strategies for Change." Deadline for paper submission is January 1, 2011. Initial submissions will be reviewed and if judged suitable then sent out for review. For more information you can contact guest editor Ann Travers at

And the newly established International Sport for Development and Peace Association has issued a call for its Power of Sport Summit. The summit will take place June 10-12, 2010 in Boston and the deadline for a presentation proposal is tomorrow, April 1. Contact Eli Wolff for more information at

Monday, March 29, 2010

JSM Update

I want to be very careful about this post because I don't want to send the wrong message.

JSM has received some great research recently, and much of it will eventually be published. In fact, the Fall 2010 issue is now full, as is the Spring 2011 issue. So if you submit to JSM, the earliest your paper could appear is now Fall 2011.

For some authors, especially those in history, this may not be a problem. However, others may find it overly burdensome in that they need their research published more quickly.

I completely understand a desire to get quality research into print in a timely fashion. If that is your situation, you might want to consider the growing number of other sports journals. Again, I do NOT want to discourage anyone from submitting to JSM. But I want everyone to be aware of our publishing situation, especially because we publish only twice a year. It may be at some point we want to consider quarterly publication, but until such time we will do our best to accommodate all sports media research in the best possible manner.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Who Runs the Game? --Television

The golden goose that is the NFL faces some very serious problems in the near future. The league's collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association expires in less than a year, and there is growing acrimony on both sides. There is the very real threat of a lockout or work stoppage after the 2010 season.

As you might guess, television is right in the middle of the argument. The players are upset that the networks have essentially guaranteed payments to the NFL (in the form of a loan), even if there are no games to show. So if there is a work stoppage, NFL teams will make their customary $100 million per team in TV rights fees, while the players get nothing.

The players have reacted angrily and threatened not to take part in the interviews and production meetings with network announcers before games. "Is is possible that a number of players will not do business as usual with the networks?" said NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith. "Absolutely." The players argument is that they give their time to the networks to do these pre-game interviews and get nothing in return for it.

Paid to do interviews? That's a very dangerous road to take. It's hard enough to justify paying millionaires more money, but checkbook journalism in any form sends a very bad signal. What's next? Paying for post-game interviews? Press conferences?

The underlying issue here is "Who runs the game?," the players or the owners. The owners would argue that they write the checks that build the stadiums and pay the players; the players would say that without them, there is no product to put on the field. Network TV money has traditionally tipped the balance of power in the owners' favor. Now the players want some of the action. The tug-of-war over network money may go a long way in determining what happens to the golden goose in 2011.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Controlling the Message

It got kind of lost among the NCAA basketball games this weekend (was that the plan all along or just a coincidence?), but Tiger Woods gave his first interview since he announced his return to golf.

Tiger received some criticism for that announcement; many said he was trying to control events by simply making a statement and not taking any questions. In the same way, Woods is still trying to control the media messages: on Sunday, he picked the interviewers and put a 5-minute limit on the questions (although, there was no limit on what the interviewers could ask).

In this day and age of Facebook, Twitter and personal web pages (which Tiger used almost exclusively during his hiatus), it's interesting that Woods feels the need to go through the mainstream media to repair his image. It's a telling signal that our 'old' media (television, radio, newspapers, etc.) are still very powerful in terms of influencing public opinion.

Believe me, if Tiger could have fixed all this simply by Tweeting or texting, he would have. Even as they face questions about their own possible demise, the traditional media still have cultural significance, including the power to make or break sports careers. How the traditional media cover Tiger's unfiltered and uncensored appearance at the Masters could go a long way in determining if he can resurrect his public image.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Back to Work

Well, spring break has ended, it's Monday, and the weather is rotten here in Oxford. (It actually snowed quite hard yesterday, leading to some great apocalyptic discussions in Sunday School). But to be honest, my mood is nothing like the poor guy at the left. It's actually good to get back in the office after some time off.

Some housecleaning from the recent Sports Summit in Cleveland... attendees voted on the new Summit Executive Council, and named Michael Butterworth of Bowling Green as Executive Director. Other committee members include Amy Crawford of Youngstown State, Paul Gullifor of Bradley, Karen Hartman of Ashland, and Lindsey Mean of Arizona State. The 2012 Summit takes place at Bradley University.

We also have a call to pass along. Leisure Studies, published by Routledge, intends to produce a set of Olympics themed special issues of several of their journals. It is intended that most, if not all, of the special issues will be launched together at the International Convention on Science, Education and Medicine in Sport (ICSEMIS) to be held in July 2012, shortly before the start of the London Olympic and Paralympic Games. The deadline is May 2011; please consult the website on format and submission guidelines. With all submissions include a note that the paper or research note is for consideration for the inclusion in the Olympic Games special issue. The issue will be published in July 2012 (Volume 31, Issue 3).

Friday, March 19, 2010

One Big Happy Family

The Fourth Summit on Sport Communication has not disappointed in terms of excellent research presentations and networking opportunities. The hosts at Kent State and Youngstown State are to be commended for their work in putting the conference together (Bradley University will host in 2012).

Although most of the scholars here are from Sports Comm (as opposed to Sports Media or Sports Mass Comm/Journalism), I really enjoy the new perspectives and approaches. This morning, JSM Board member Michael Butterworth of Bowling Green gave an interesting presentation on media representations of Tim Tebow as a quasi-religious figure.

We'll hear even different perspectives next month at the BEA Conference in Las Vegas. The new sports division there continues to move forward and has several panels and papers on the schedule, including one hosted by JSM.

Sometimes it seems as if all these sports scholars move in vastly different worlds. (For example, here the main convention for the scholars is either NCA or NASSM; for me, it's AEJMC). And with the economy down, scholars are usually limited in how many conventions they can attend.

But there is a decided "one for all" feeling here in Cleveland; the idea that no matter what area of sports research we practice, the important thing is the increased vitality of all sports-related scholarship. I respect all the contributors here, and although I probably won't be able to see them at BEA or AEJMC, we continue to build bridges, share ideas and promote research.

It's been a great time in Cleveland and I'm sorry it will be another two years until Bradley.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Erin Go Cleveland*

What better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day than ... going to Cleveland?

That's where dozen's of sports scholars are heading for the Fourth Summit on Sport Communication, which opens tomorrow. If you are in the area, here's a rundown of the program. Even if you're not able to attend, you might get some good ideas for sharing research ideas.

Thanks to our hosts Kent State and Youngstown State; I'll be back in the office on Monday with more about the conference.

*Gaelic translation: "Cleveland Forever!"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Paying for Free Speech

Very nice to see the stalker of ESPN reporter Erin Andrews receive the maximum sentence. On Monday, a federal judge in Los Angeles gave Michael David Barrett 2-1/2 years for illegally videotaping Andrews in her hotel room, and then distributing the nude images over the Internet.

While vindicated, Andrews was not happy, believing the sentence should have been harsher. "You are a sexual predator, a sexual deviant," she told a remorseful Barrett. "They should lock you up and throw away the key." Andrews also said she lives in a state of fear and needs security at work and home, and thus is continually victimized by the incident, which took place at a Nashville hotel last year.

And that's a key point. It would be one thing if the video of Andrews had already passed from the public domain, allowing her to get on with her life. But the video is still out there, circulating, and probably will be forever. (I won't post the links, but they aren't too hard to find).

The permanency and freedom of the Internet make this a more tragic case. If the pictures had appeared in print or on television, they could be locked away and forgotten. But that Internet video will probably be around to haunt Andrews the rest of her life. Maybe it's time to talk seriously about some sort of restrictions on the Internet for cases such as this. The Internet carries with it the protection of freedom of speech, but the First Amendment does have restrictions and it certainly doesn't allow Internet profiteers to make money off of illegally-obtained content. But even if the government could heavily fine companies for posting the video there remains a huge problem--once the genie is out of the bottle how do you get him back in?

Oh, and to make matters worse ... Internet hackers have used the Andrews video to lure in viewers and spread computer viruses and malware. Nice.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Our break begins after classes today at Ole Miss, so the posting here will be sporadic for awhile.

But before we go, a final tidbit to pass your way ...

Applications are invited for a full-time postgraduate scholarship at Durham University, to be hosted jointly by the School of Applied Social Sciences and Durham Business School in England.

As part of its Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Scholarship, the school is offering "Iconic Institutions and Audience Ownership: a comparative study of the sport and corporate sectors." The scholarship will fund postgraduate research which investigates the contemporary relationships of audiences and markets to particular iconic institutions. The project will center upon a comparative study of one popular sporting institution (a football club) and one non-sporting organization. Supervisors are Prof. Richard Giulianotti (Sport/Sociology), and Prof. Timothy Clark (Organizational Behavior/University Dean of Graduate School).

Applicants should have, or expect to receive, at least an upper-second class degree (or equivalent qualification) in a relevant social science. Preference may be given to candidates who are undertaking, or who have completed, postgraduate training in social research methods.

Applicants wishing to be considered for the awards starting in October 2010 should make an on-line application to the University on or before 30th April 201

For informal enquiries, please contact: Richard Giulianotti ( or Timothy Clark ( You can also get more application information here and here.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The College Sports (TV) Landscape

We have seen and heard a lot of talk about possible conference realignment in college athletics. Depending on what you believe, Missouri could be headed to the Big 10, Colorado could go to the Pac-10 and it appears both conferences would love to get Texas to leave the Big XII. Once one team jumps it could set off a ripple effect that could completely reshuffle the college athletic landscape as we now know it.

The key to where all these dominoes fall, as usual, is television.

Television has been a major factor in these conference decisions since 1984, when the Supreme Court ruled that the networks could not limit the number of football appearances by individual schools; a ruling that essentially opened college football on television to free competition. With more channels came more games, leading to very lucrative television contracts for the major conferences.

What has now changed the status quo is the surprising success of the Big 10 Network. Once considered just a sideshow, the BTN is now making millions of dollars for members schools, and that has other conferences taking serious notice. Partly to keep Texas from leaving, and partly to jump on the television money train, the Big XII is now seriously considering its own network. (This is at the same time that Texas, with its high visibility and well-funded athletic department, is talking about starting its own network). Eventually, we could see could lead to what some have described as a giant super-conference, because the rich schools are getting richer and the poor schools are getting poorer.

From a media standpoint, when you look at the growing influence of television and new media on college sports you see:

*Growing 'nationalization' of coverage at the expense of local coverage
*The declining influence of newspapers
*Continuing increases in audience participation

As these trends continue, it's going to be harder for local and print outlets to keep up. National outlets now cover the sports as well as the local outlets do, and they have more money and reach. Audiences are now taking over some of the reporting responsibilities through blogging and citizen journalism. And why wait for the next day's newspaper to come out when you can find everything you need to know now?

Television, and to a growing extent the Internet, continues to dominate college athletics. What becomes of the older print media is anybody's guess, but the outlook is not rosy.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

CFP: Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change

A special issue of the Journal of Tourism and Cultural Change will focus on the Olympics. According to the call, "The editorial team of JTCC invites researchers to contribute to a special issue on 'Tourism at the Olympics,' to examine the Olympic Games as sites of touristic practice, representation and experience, and to critically reflect on the social, cultural and political dimensions of Olympic tourism. We are interested in cases which deal with specific Games, comparisons between Games and the Olympic ideal as it extends into cultural and social life."

For more information you can go to the journal submission page or contact Prof. Mike Robinson (, or Josef Ploner (

Friday, March 05, 2010

The Next Big Thing

Back in January, we talked on this blog about 3-D and its potential impact on television sports. At that point, it was still something of an untested fad, which to a large degree it still is. However, just two months later the promise of 3-D seems much farther along.

Much of it has been driven by consumer interest. After running some test broadcasts (including the 2010 Rose Bowl), ESPN convened some focus groups who absolutely loved the picture. Apparently, the difference in picture quality is even more pronounced than going from standard definition to HD.

Yes, consumers will have to buy those funky 3-D glasses, and the technology will also require new 3-D capable receivers, currently priced upwards of $3,000. But remember, HD sets were just as pricey when they debuted; undoubtedly, the cost of the 3-D receivers will decline as the technology becomes more accepted and available.

But the biggest thing is the picture quality, which according to focus group respondents who watched a Harlem Globetrotters game in 3-D, made them feel like they were standing on the court. With that kind of enthusiasm, there's almost no price too high for sports television consumers.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Job Opening: University of Alabama

This job is not specifically listed as a sports position, but rather as broadcast and electronic news. However, the listing does say that "interest/experience in areas of sports or entertainment news will strengthen a candidate's application (and) preference will be given to applicants who have had professional electronic news/sports experience."

You can find more about the position and how to apply here.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Dancing Away your Credibility

Less than a week after the Tony Kornheiser-Hannah Storm incident made us refocus our attention to the role of women in the sports media, ESPN's Erin Andrews has resurfaced ... this time as a contestant on the hit ABC show Dancing with the Stars. Andrews was announced as a contestant Monday night, along with (among others) Pamela Anderson, Kate Gosselin and astronaut Buzz Aldrin. (Try to think of anything else those three might possibly have in common).

As with the Storm incident, female sportscasters and sports writers complain that they aren't taken seriously, and that they are often sexually objectified at the expense of their professional abilities (just ask Andrews about that). So faced with these issues Andrews joins the cast of Dancing for the upcoming season. Does anyone else think this is a setback for the serious female sports journalist? Think of it this way... would Bob Costas sign up for a season of Survivor or would Al Michaels become the next Batchelor? What exactly does Andrews expect to get from this, except more derision as a sports beauty queen?

You can't have it both ways, Erin. You can't complain because no one takes you seriously then join a show famous for its overt sexuality and skimpy costumes. Score this one a step backwards for the credibility of women sports journalists.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Olympique Denouement

A bit of French in honor of the recently concluded Canadian Olympics. The U.S. won the medal count ... Canada won its hockey gold medal (2 actually) ... and NBC saw television ratings increase 20% over the 2006 games. Who says you can't make everyone happy?


Back in the non-Olympic world, a couple of deadlines to note:

1) The deadline is June 1, 2010 for contributions to the Encyclopedia of Sports Management and Marketing, a new 4-volume, 4-color reference to be published in 2011 by SAGE Publications. Articles range from 500 to 3,500 words. For more information you can contact--

Susan Moskowitz
Director of Author Management
Golson Media

2) And I know this is very late, but TODAY is the deadline for submissions to the European College of Sport Sciences. The event will be held June 23-26 in Antalya, Turkey. You can find more information, including submission information, here.