Saturday, June 26, 2010

CFP: Social Justice; BEA Radio Panel

The Fourth Annual Scholarly Colloquium on Intercollegiate Athletics is taking proposals for "Social Justice in Intercollegiate Sport: A Critical Examination of Racialized, Gendered and Disabled Bodies." To be considered for the refereed paper sessions, authors must submit a 500-600 word abstract of the proposed paper via e-mail to David Wiggins,, and a copy of the abstract submission to Ketra Armstrong, Deadline for proposals is October 10; the colloquium takes place January 12-13, 2011 in San Antonio.

And Paul MacArthur of Utica is looking to put together a sports radio panel for next year's BEA in Las Vegas. If you have a sports radio paper or would be interested in the panel, please contact Paul by July 23. Contact information is:

Paul J. MacArthur
Assistant Professor of Public Relations and Journalism
Chair of Public Relations and Journalism Department
Utica College
1600 Burrstone Road
Utica, NY 13502-4892
(315) 792-3348

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New Media and Sports Reporting

If you had any doubts about the role of new media in today's sports reporting, Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated has an excellent article on how an online fan-based website scooped the big boys in covering college football realignment. Chip Brown's reporting on serves as a model of how fan-based sites can thrive in today's sports media environment--subscriptions to the site increased 7% in just the two weeks Brown covered the story.

On the subject of sports reporting and new media, I'm pleased to announce that ESPN's Woody Paige has confirmed for our AEJMC panel, "Ahead of the Curve: Multimedia and the Future of Sports Journalism." Woody is heavily into new media, including Twitter, and will speak on the panel along with former ESPNer Graham Watson and former NFL player Reggie Rivers. The panel is set for 5pm, August 5 at the Downtown Sheraton in Denver as part of the AEJMC national convention.

Finally, Bradley University is looking for a tenure-track Assistant Professor in Sport Communication. There's more information available here.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Whither Soccer?

The argument pops up roughly every four years around World Cup time, and it has some strong ammunition this time around. Global interest in soccer is peaking, the U.S. television ratings are very high, and millions kids are playing youth soccer all across the country. At some point, the U.S. has to fully embrace soccer into the culture, doesn't it?

Actually, no it doesn't.

The argument here is whether the sports media can change culture or merely reflect it, and I would argue strongly for the latter. The sports media show us who we are and what we like; they do not turn us into something we don't want to be. Some might argue about the power of television to help football supplant baseball as our national pastime, but it's not like football was a cultural outcast at the time.

One argument says that when all those soccer kids grow up they'll become hard-core soccer fans as adults. But I've been hearing that for the past 40 years, ever since I was a kid in Dallas during the days of the North American Soccer League. Pele, Brandi Chastain, indoor soccer ... nothing could help the sport gain a major foothold in the American consciousness.

No matter how much exposure soccer gets in the U.S. during this World Cup, it will never rival football, baseball, car racing and basketball. The U.S. made a dramatic run to an Olympic silver medal this winter, and almost beat Canada in an all-time classic. But hockey is like soccer ... it's more important to people in other countries than it is here.

Think of it this way: right in the middle of the World Cup, the dominant sporting event on the planet, what story dominated the U.S. sports media? NCAA conference realignment.

When does football season start?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pre Weekend Musings

Some things from here and there as we head into the weekend...

1) You still have time (but not much) to submit a paper for the 2010 Sport Marketing Association Conference. The deadline is 11:59pm (not sure which time zone) TODAY, Friday, June 11. You can submit your papers here. The 8th Annual Conference is scheduled for October 26-29, 2010, at the Hilton Riverwalk Hotel in New Orleans, Louisiana. The conference will be hosted by the University of Southern Mississippi Sport Management program. Hotel and registration information can be found on the conference website.

2) Nice to see the NHL bounce back with solid ratings for the Stanley Cup finals, including a high-water mark for the clinching Game 6 win by the Blackhawks. The league still isn't close when it comes to going head-to-head with the NBA Finals (thanks in large part to the Celtics-Lakers storyline), but let's hope this convinces the NHL to put more games on NBC and less on the Versus Network.

3) It now looks like a near certainty that the Big XII Conference will be dissolve, all because of the mad dash to get more TV money. Colorado has already bolted to the Pac-10, and if/when Nebraska goes to the Big-10, at least 5 more Big XII members are expected to leave. It's all about TV, and more specifically, more about TV and football. Kansas, which has a great basketball tradition, may be forced to join a non-BCS conference such as the Mountain West (mountains in Kansas?). Speed kills? No, greed kills.

4) Nothing really new on the attempt by a Michigan lawmaker to voluntarily license reporters with a government board. State Senator Bruce Patterson wants to register reporters to ensure they’re credible and have “good moral character.” First Amendment aside, it would be interesting to see how this would affect the sports media. Patterson said he wants a process that will help him and the general public figure out which reporters to trust. Trusworthy? Good moral character? Exactly who would determine that? If you listen to Buzz Bissinger, you would be forced to shut down almost the entire sports blogosphere. Also on the blacklist would be legitimate investigative sports reporters (such as Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, who exposed the BALCO steroid scandal), and potentially hundreds of other sports reporters with less than sterling reputations. Yes, we have problems related to reporters who are overzealous, sensational and just plain incompetent, but that's the price you pay for living in a media society with a First Amendment and a free marketplace of ideas.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Anti Anti-Trust

A recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court (by a unanimous decision, no less) could signal radical changes in the way the NFL does business, especially in terms of sports merchandising and marketing.

The court voted that an anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL can go forward. The suit was brought by an apparel manufacturer and claims that the NFL's exclusive apparel contract with Reebok constitutes a monopoly. In essence, the court said that the NFL is not one single entity, but rather 32 different businesses. Justice John Paul Stevens said, "Decisions by the NFL teams to license their separately owned trademarks collectively and to only one vendor are decisions that 'deprive the marketplace of independent centers of decision making,' and therefore of actual or potential competition."

Thus, if the suit is successful, NFL teams would be free to cut their own deals with a variety of merchandisers and marketers. It also suggests that the rich, popular teams would get the best deals and become even more richer and more popular ... something Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones figured out more than a decade ago.

This is all very important for those in sports media and marketing, but one important question remains--why is major league baseball the only sport that still retains an antitrust exemption?

Thursday, June 03, 2010


A couple of things to pass along today ...

1) The North American Society for the Sociology of Sport has issued a call for session proposals for its 2010 conference in San Diego November 3-6. NASSS has a firm deadline of June 25 for proposals, which can be emailed to: For more information, you can go here.

2) The Sport Management doctoral program at the University of Tennessee has one opening for the fall semester. This position includes a tuition waiver and a $1,000 per month stipend. The candidate will teach a class in the Sport Management curriculum each semester as well as classes in the Physical Education and Activity Program. Contact Dr. Rob Hardin ( or 865-974-1281) for more information.