Connect with us
BSM Summit
blank

BSM Writers

ESPN Edge Conference Puts The Future On Display

” The company will look to continue to embrace movements in the digital space and the proclivities of its viewers and sports fans at large as it looks to serve the sports time anytime and anywhere for years to come.”

Derek Futterman

Published

on

blank

Since 1979, ESPN has sought to be the worldwide leader in sports coverage and media innovation, remaining at the forefront of changing consumer habits and emerging technologies. One year ago, the company introduced the ESPN Edge Innovation Center, effectuating a new standard to power sports media innovation through robust partnerships with companies centered around connectivity, technology and consulting. In conjunction with this new branch of the company, the ESPN Edge Conference was created to inform sports media professionals and partners about the work the company is doing to fulfill its mission of serving the sports fan anytime and anywhere.

“We’re on to year two, and I’m here to guarantee no sophomore slump this time,” said Around the Horn and conference host Tony Reali. “I have no doubt you’ll feel the impact when you see the ways we can unleash technology to power content; the way we can partner in cultivating our minds to championing innovation.”

ESPN Head of Sports Business and Innovation Mark L. Walker shared some of the company’s achievements over the last year in the “Powering the Future of Sports Media Innovation” session of the conference. The ESPN Edge Virtual Lab, for example, was created to test new technologies with internal stakeholders and implement them on programming. Around the Horn was the first half-hour program to implement augmented reality.

The company experimented with volumetric video broadcasting technology in a matchup between the Dallas Mavericks and Brooklyn Nets last season, allowing fans to see the game in 3D and from more camera angles than were previously realistic. The network’s broadcast of the NBA Finals also utilized innovative technology and hardware to change the way the game is presented, virtually placing elements and video around venues to be captured by drones and other cameras.

“As innovation across infrastructure, networking and computing enable more immersive digital experiences than previously possible, ESPN is utilizing the breadth of its rights and partnerships… to create future-state experiences that enable the most immersive, connected communities for our fans,” Walker said.

Accenture partnered with ESPN to help transform the fan experience. The company has over 721,000 employees and maintains two schools of thought regarding innovation known as “Big I” and “Little I.” While the latter relates to continuous levels of improvement every day, the former refers to transforming a space and doing something never before seen. In order to do that though, diversity within the company is an essential part to ensure different perspectives and backgrounds are considered relating to company decisions.

“You can’t innovate unless you are diverse,” said Julie Sweet, chair and chief executive officer of Accenture in a panel moderated by Mike Greenberg. “As you look across what’s happening now, there’s so much opportunity with technology, the use of data, AI and there are so many challenges and opportunities so companies are taking much more seriously not just the words, but moving to action. They believe they cannot serve these new markets and take care of these challenges unless they have different thought at the table.”

The ESPN network of platforms spans across traditional and modern approaches to content dissemination and aims to meet the fan where they are. As an example, Formula One Racing, a sport quickly rising in popularity, is being used by the company and its partners as a case study of creating multiplatform content engaging and informative to consumers.

StatusPRO Technology is one of the companies looking to reach consumers, but it also has positioned its product to appeal to those within the National Football League as a training mechanism. Started by former NFL wide receiver Andrew Hawkins and Division I quarterback Troy Jones, the company launched NFL Pro Era, the first ever fully-licensed NFL virtual reality game. Moving from being football players to founders of a technology company, the duo seeks to implement augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality into the game experience for both athletes and fans. Andrew Hawkins, co-founder and president of StatusPRO, found himself interested in the technology after he saw a hologram of Tupac at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival; the challenge was how to apply it.

“I started building a mobile application that will connect anybody with relevant experience with the people who would value it,” Hawkins said in a panel moderated by Molly Qerim. “If you wanted to have a sports media sector of it, people who want to be in Molly’s shoes could subscribe to get feedback [and] mentorship.”

After being approached by two non-athletes about this type of technology potentially being able to shift the sports landscape, Jones analyzed it more thoroughly and came to the conclusion to try to revolutionize the space as well.

“I said, ‘Hey, this can really disrupt sports [and] help athletes get better, but also helps and gives them experiences they’ve never had,’” Jones expressed. “We believe this is the future of computing and how people will interact with the internet and content.”

The Baltimore Ravens were the pilot team for the technology developed by Howard and Jones’ team, and utilized its quarterback, Lamar Jackson, to produce a special experience centered around his versatility and athleticism. Aside from that though, he is indicative of authenticity to the consumer base and gives the platform to market its mission of pioneering gaming and training in ways never before realized. The challenge comes in getting people to realize that what they perceive to be in the future is actually here in the present.

Through its 5G technology, large bandwidth and low latency, Verizon has helped ESPN transform fan experiences around the world in addition to broadcast production. The company figures to accelerate the speed at which changes can be made and presented to consumers and seek to use the technology to immerse fans within the game instead of having them passively observe the action. An example of such integration is the 2022 X Games Aspen mobile application where the company was able to exploit second-screen technology and alternate viewing experiences to transform the viewing experience for fans.

Verizon’s 5G technology allowed for ESPN to place unique types of cameras in locations never before accessible along with those with 180° and 360° degree capabilities. Upon analysis of application data, the average session length was found to be 20 minutes and two-thirds of users returned for a second time. The network surmises experiences like these could alter the direct-to-consumer approach to media innovation for years to come.

“There was so much work that had to be done [and] it just doesn’t happen without a lot of coordination and a lot of teamwork. I think that has been what’s made this partnership, at least from my perspective, really special,” Tim Reed, vice president of programming and acquisitions at ESPN, said. “At the end of the day, we all wanted to work towards creating something really unique for our fans and an experience that we all could be really proud of.”

One way audiences are becoming more engaged in sporting events is by having a stake in the game through betting. As more states move to legalize the activity following the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Murphy v. NCAA (2018) delegating the regulatory power to the states, content providers such as ESPN have observed its proliferation in popularity and subsequently built studios in Las Vegas while implementing betting segments within studio and live game programming.

“ESPN is the number one, most trusted brand in sports,” said Mike Morrison, vice president of sports betting and fantasy at ESPN. “We’re setting records on digital with the ESPN App, on streaming and social media as a sports publisher and [as an] editorial journalism platform. ESPN’s brand and the trust people have in it offers ESPN the opportunity to further lean into sports betting.”

The outcome of games and performance of athletes can change in an instant and, subsequently, the outcome for bets whether they be props, parlays or teasers. Just as it is difficult to accurately predict the outcome of a sporting event, it is also hard to project the growth of certain industry trends – part of the reason why ESPN decided to view the growth of sports betting and be ready to assimilate into the space if they deemed it as a place for future growth. Once the network saw sports fans migrating to betting platforms and the success they were experiencing, it decided to more heavily migrate into the space and now continues to do so as both analysts and storytellers.

“We are the most trusted brand in sports media,” repeated Laura Gentile, executive vice president of commercial marketing at ESPN and Disney Networks. “That is why we’ve taken this patient, methodical approach to sort of vetting the opportunity and being there in a responsible way. Trust for us is always going to be paramount. When we have partners; when we have odds, we need to feel good about that and give it to fans in the proper way.”

Both sports betting and fantasy sports have blurred the lines when it comes to following specific teams; instead, fans are following athletes and/or certain occurrences in games with the prospect of winning or losing money at hand. Part of the value proposition of sports betting to ESPN aside from telling stories that relate to the interests of fans is using its platform to make it more accessible, part of the reason why many sportsbooks have looked to partner with them to sponsor segments, statistics or other parts of their multifaceted broadcasts. ESPN is aiming to emulate how it was able to help grow fantasy sports to sports betting, the latest innovation in a dynamic content landscape.

“We’ve almost doubled the number of fantasy players in the last 10 years,” Gentile said. “We’re breaking records every single year when it comes to sign ups and how people are playing on multiple teams and multiple leagues. Fantasy is much more accessible; it used to be this strange, rotisserie type of thing [but now it is] more mainstream. Now you’re sitting there watching games that you would never watch before because your team hinges on it. It’s very, very similar [to sports betting] and I think we’ve made fantasy football much more understandable and much more successful.”

Coinciding with new technologies and viewer experiences, sports fans crave information and listen to experts decipher statistics and trends that enhance their knowledge and understanding of the game both on the playing surface and in the front office. Dr. André Snellings always had an interest in sports but attended the University of Michigan to receive his PhD in biomedical engineering. The dissertation he crafted and successfully defended in order to earn his PhD related to deep brain stimulation as a form of treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, assisting neurosurgeons to locate the most optimal location for electrode implants and neural recordings to be placed to help eliminate the disease.

Snellings discovered fantasy sports while waiting for a colleague in a laboratory one day and instantly became captivated by the practice after creating a fantasy basketball team. He got into the industry by means of necessity though, as he looked to augment his own knowledge about the practice but did not have the means to do so.

“One day I heard a guy on the radio giving fantasy sports advice and when I went to sign up for his website, I volunteered doing analysis for them to gain access,” he said. “It turns out that the same tools that made me good at bioengineering lent themselves to sports analysis.”

Following a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan, he worked to build his career in sports media which eventually led him to become a senior writer at RotoWire. Once he signed on with ESPN as a senior writer and on-air talent, he began applying his expertise to the world of professional sports. In fact, he suggested trades during the 2017-18 and 2020-21 seasons in columns for the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks, respectively, to make in order to contend for a championship. Whether or not there was any correlation between his suggestions and the team’s strategy, both franchises ended up executing the suggested trades and went on to win league championships.

“I utilized the same analytical toolbox in both careers,” he said. “These days, I apply it to the NBA, the WNBA, the NFL and the tennis tours in addition to the nervous system.”

ESPN Edge has also partnered with Microsoft to help leverage innovations in data and artificial intelligence to transform the sports media landscape. Referencing surfing, the panel discussed how technology can assist in familiarizing fans with sports with which they may not be as familiar while also genuinely eliminating biases to allow for objective scoring.

Akin to the intersection between training and gaming, the technology that gives fans insights about statistics is also desired by sports franchises looking to optimize their performance and prevent injuries to move into the future. It serves a dual purpose which is marketable and usable for those on the field and in the stands.

“It was the athletes, coaches and people involved in the sport [who were] coming to us and asking us to bring this technology to the field,” Kevin Ashley, principal engineer at Microsoft, said. “We have this magic; we have this technology that can tell them how to improve performance and reduce the number of injuries on the field.”

Social media remains vitally important in content strategy and distribution, but part of the expertise of teams comes in identifying which opportunities could help the growth of a brand as compared to hindering it. Vice President of Social Media at ESPN Katiee Daley and her team recognized the growth of TikTok, joining the platform in 2015 and creating specialized, digestible content for consumers. Today, ESPN as a brand is in the top five in terms of following and engagement on the platform following its launch in 2015.

BeReal, a social network centered around authenticity, alerts users once per day of the commencement of a two-minute window to take a photo and post it to the platform. The application has surged in popularity since its inception in 2020 and has been installed over 53 million times globally; however, ESPN has yet to create an account on the platform despite considering joining it.

“We’ve talked about ‘Can we show up as authentically ESPN there or is it going to come across as us trying too hard?,’” Daley said. “I think it’s smart to pick your spots [and] pick the playgrounds that you want to be testing in.”

In appealing to consumers, ESPN has focused on the growth of alternate broadcasts, most notably Monday Night Football with Peyton and Eli – colloquially-referred to as the Manningcast. Featuring former NFL quarterbacks Peyton and Eli Manning, the program presents viewers with an alternate perspective of the action on the gridiron broadcast in quasi-studios built in their respective homes.

According to Ed Placey, who serves as vice president of production at ESPN, Peyton Manning declined the use of a telestrator because it is indicative of a normal broadcast but is engrossed by viewing various different camera angles and videos of plays. As a result, the network recently installed a large LED wall with television screens showing different feeds of the game at his home, giving him the opportunity to analyze plays from multiple angles. Conversely, Eli Manning watches the game and enjoys using the Microsoft tablets provided on the sidelines to look at the special coaches feeds of plays and will sometimes use them as a type of telestrator as well. Nonetheless, the key to the broadcasts is relatability, and despite them having storied careers on the field, have been successful thus far in their pursuit to revolutionize the way football is presented across multiple platforms.

“We’ve found that Peyton and Eli’s broadcast and many other second-screen experiences that we do are for folks that aren’t as avid in that game at that time and want something different,” Placey said. “People who are just casual on that night love tuning in to Peyton and Eli because they’re kind of watching it the same way they are. It’s Monday; it’s fun; it’s not serious all the time with them.”

Whether it be alternate broadcasts, evolutions in augmented reality or fan engagement, the ESPN Edge conference exhibited the network’s innovations and areas of development and future growth. The company will look to continue to embrace movements in the digital space and the proclivities of its viewers and sports fans at large as it looks to serve the sports time anytime and anywhere for years to come.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

BSM Writers

Twitter Blue Debacle Showcases Company’s Ongoing Concerns

“If you start giving away blue badges to everyone, then it has no value. It’s the equivalent of a currency. if you start printing more, it gets devalued. Same for verified badges.”

Avatar photo

Published

on

blank

For years, a blue “verified” check mark on Twitter has long been considered a symbol of status. Anyone — entrepreneurs, journalists, business executives — could potentially end up in the same exclusive space as celebrities like Taylor Swift and Tom Brady. 

Perhaps the one quality that the blue check mark represented that had been overlooked was its authenticity stamp. The badge has been used all across social media platforms to signal an account’s authenticity — a verification that recently has proven to be of significant importance to not only people, but brands as well. 

Shortly after Elon Musk’s $44-billion takeover of Twitter, the billionaire swiftly made his mark which, among many things, included a democratization of the app’s verification system. With a $7.99 monthly subscription to Twitter Blue, which launched last year as the company’s first subscription service, users could now possess what had long evaded them: a blue check mark.

“Theoretically, this would have made it easier for some brands or influencers to get verified than it has been in the past,” Galen Clavio, director of undergraduate studies for the Media School at Indiana University Bloomington, wrote in an email about the possible benefits of Twitter Blue’s verification accessibility. 

“From an algorithmic perspective, that would have made sense to pursue under the Twitter setup that everyone had come to know,” he added. 

While perhaps not a surprise to Musk or Twitter executives, everyday people were paying for the newly revamped Twitter Blue to boast their social media clout. Whether Twitter leadership knew it or not, though, those same subscribers took the opportunity to verify themselves using the alias of actual people. 

Very quickly, Twitter Blue created an abundance of impersonators masquerading as verified celebrities and companies. Misinformation was hard to identify, making it tougher to find information in an era already plagued by discrepancies between fact and fiction.

“If you start giving away blue badges to everyone, then it has no value,” Alessandro Bogliari, CEO of the Influencer Marketing Factory, an influencer marketing agency, wrote in an email. “It’s the equivalent of a currency. if you start printing more, it gets devalued. Same for verified badges.”

blank
A screenshot of a fake account created to appear as pharmaceutical company Eli Lily shows the dangers of allowing anyone to be verified on Twitter.

Shortly after the Twitter Blue re-launch, a tweet was sent from an account using the same logo and name of Eli Lilly, a pharmaceutical company. It read, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” The tweet seemed legit — the branding seemed real, as did the company name. It also boasted a blue-check mark, so it had to be true. 

As just one of many misrepresentations that succeeded it, the Eli Lilly tweet was a fake. Even when Twitter finally removed the tweet, more than six hours later, the fraudulent account had more than 1,500 retweets and 10,000 likes. The pharma company’s stock also plummeted $368 a share to $346 a share, reportedly erasing billions in market cap, according to several economic reports. Eli Lilly’s stock price currently sits at roughly $352 as of Nov. 16th.

“I can only imagine the damage a tweet like that made for the company, its employees, stakeholders, shareholders and anyone really related to their offering,” Bogliari said. “Some were able to tweet from their official accounts and restore it a bit. Others, I imagine, used PR and reputation firms to get to a solution fast. But it’s not that easy for all of them… for others it could be potentially a damage so big they won’t be able to survive, not just in terms of market cap/stock value, but also in terms of reputation and customers love.”

The verification mishap affected not only Eli Lilly’s reputability and profitability, but could also spell trouble for Twitter’s revenue stream.

“It’s making it really easy for advertisers to say: ‘You know what, I don’t need to be here anymore,’ and walk away,” Jenna Golden, who previously ran Twitter’s political and advocacy ad sales team, said in an interview with The Washington Post. “People are not just providing inaccurate information but damaging information, with the ability to look legitimate. That is just not a stable place for a brand to invest.”

Sports personalities were also hurt by the preponderance of fake users across Twitter. Basketball star LeBron James trended on the platform after a tweet from someone with the user handle, @KINGJamez, claimed that the 37-year-old was leaving the Los Angeles Lakers to join his former club, the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

Adam Schefter, a notable football analyst at ESPN, also trended after someone with the user handle, @AdamSchefterNOT, revealed that Las Vegas Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels lost his job. While the user handle clearly indicates that it didn’t come from the actual Adam Schefter, the fact that it was quote tweeted could have led many people to assume it was really Schefter, since many were unlikely to take the time to click and confirm the tweet — and tweeter’s — validity.

These are just a few specific instances where, while a more open verification system could have helped Twitter users, the idea did not lead to a successful implementation.

“Being verified would have given those brands more credibility and be marked as the official brand — impersonation happens also for smaller brands and not just for Fortune 100 companies,” Bogliari said. “So the idea was theoretically good — I would say only for brands and certain individuals and not just for everyone… documents and proof (are still) required but the execution showed us all the flaws.”

Verification issues aside, Twitter faces an uncertain future under Musk’s leadership. As much as 50% of the company’s 7,500 employees predating Musk’s ownership have been laid off under his tenure. The billionaire also revealed that Twitter’s cost-cutting methods are a result of the company losing upwards of $4 million daily. He’s even announced potential bankruptcy if Twitter doesn’t correct its financial woes. 

“I see the Twitter Blue controversy as one of several items that are likely to just make brands and creators look elsewhere in the social media landscape,” Clavio said. “Twitter offers minimal exposure for creators and brands to the public when compared to other networks, and a much higher risk of doing or saying something that can cause a crisis.”

As more people grow skeptical about Twitter, alternatives have started to emerge. More people are visiting platforms like Discord, Reddit, even Tumblr. Others are joining Mastodon, a free and open-source microblogging site that has drawn comparisons to Twitter for its timeline of short updates arranged chronologically rather than algorithmically. 

As recently as Nov. 12th, Mastodon boasted approximately 6.63 million accounts, a 17% increase from the 5.65 million users it had on October 28th. 

From internal struggles to increased competition, Musk inherited a Twitter that, for better or worse, might be on a continual spiral to irrelevancy. 

“It’s clear that the Twitter platform is pretty fractured right now,” Clavio said. “At the end of it all, I think a lot of brands will just opt out of having a presence on Twitter, paid or otherwise. It’s just not big enough of a platform to justify the potential negative exposure.”

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

Christian Arcand Returns To Where It All Started At WEEI

“Going to WEEI was a no-brainer for me. I started there. That’s my radio home.”

Derek Futterman

Published

on

blank

Since the turn of the century alone, Boston has hosted 12 ticker tape parades to celebrate championships. Christian Arcand has had the opportunity to experience that success firsthand, initially as a diehard Boston sports fan and then as a voice of the fan. Now as he begins his second stint at the WEEI — this time as a producer and weekend host — he aims to ensure a seamless transition for both the Merloni, Fauria, & Mego afternoon drive show and his career in sports media.

Returning to a station where his Boston radio career began, Arcand enters the same building where he started his last sports media job with 98.5 The Sports Hub. Once the station moved to Dorchester, Massachusetts, WEEI moved its studios to the location – and it is where its shows are broadcast from today. Arcand’s time at 98.5 The Sports Hub ended in being laid off last month; despite that though, going to work evokes feelings of nostalgia and déjà vu.

“Walking back in there for the first time was pretty wild,” Arcand said, who returned to WEEI earlier this week. “I was laid off from The Sports Hub and it was a big surprise to me and to, I think, everybody that [it] happened.”

After graduating from the University of Colorado, Arcand moved back east to work for WDIS AM 1170 in Norfolk, Massachusetts, which he says isn’t really an option for those entering the business today.

“These little stations are all gone,” Arcand expressed. “Those were pipelines to places like WEEI and WFAN and other places in the area. You’d work in Connecticut or you’d work in Rhode Island or whatever and these places all just disappeared.”

Just over a year later, Arcand made the move to ESPN New Hampshire, initially co-hosting Christian and King with Tom King, a sportswriter for the Nashua Telegraph covering the New England Patriots, Boston Bruins and other college and high school sports. The show was broadcast during the midday time slot from noon to 3 p.m. and sought to entertain the audience while informing them about the day’s action.

After nearly four years on the air, Arcand transitioned to work with Pete Sheppard, a former member of the heralded WEEI program The Big Show hosted by Glenn Ordway, on Arcand and Sheppard. Additionally, Arcand was named as the show’s executive producer, meaning that while the show was going on, he was often focused on many different tasks. Once Christian and King was brought back, he continued working in this dual role before the show ended in January 2017, six months before the format flipped from ESPN-branded sports to oldies.

“It was a lot – cutting up all the audio you want to play, then playing it during the show, then cutting the commercial [and] trying to answer the phone,” Arcand said. “It was this whole thing, but I really loved it; we had a lot of fun up there.”

While Arcand currently works at WEEI, it is his second stint with the station – and this time, he is working in a brand new role. He initially joined the station in 2013 as a sports anchor and co-host of the evening program Planet Mikey featuring Mike Adams. Shortly thereafter, he helped launch WEEI Late Night, airing from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. where he became known in the Boston marketplace going on the air after the conclusion of Boston Red Sox live game broadcasts.

Unlike his time in New Hampshire though, he was solely hosting and not producing – requiring him to adjust to not having as much oversight regarding the inner workings of each program.

“I’m not a control freak, but I remember [thinking], ‘Wow, this is different. I’m not running the board anymore. I’m not playing my own stuff,’” Arcand said. “….That was kind of jarring at first [but] I ended up working with a lot of great producers and I still am today.”

Mike Thomas, who currently serves as the senior vice president and market manager for Audacy Boston, was integral in building 98.5 The Sports Hub from its launch in August 2009. He was responsible for signing Arcand away from WEEI to join the brand as co-host of The Adam Jones Show airing weeknights.

Working alongside show producer Jeremy Conley, he gained an in-depth understanding of what it entails to produce a sports talk radio show in a major market, helping broaden his knowledge of the craft and position him for his current job with WEEI.

“I really had a good opportunity to learn from some of, I think, the best [producers] in the business,” Arcand said. “….It’s cool being a fan of these guys and then getting to work with them and learn from them and all that other stuff…. It’s really a job that requires a lot, and the guys who are really good at it, I think, are just top-notch.”

Over the last several years, 98.5 The Sports Hub has earned massive wins across the Nielsen ratings, recently finishing number one in the summer book across all dayparts in the men 25-54 demographic. Days later though, the station’s parent company Beasley Media Group made budget cuts, resulting in Arcand and Toucher and Rich producer Mike Lockhart’s employment being terminated.

While Lockhart has since been re-hired after Fred Toucher and Rich Shertenlieb lobbied for the decision to be reversed, Arcand was in the job market quickly mulling over his future in the industry. In fact, it was reported that Arcand was on the verge of signing a three-year contract that would have kept him at the station before the termination of his employment.

“I was so shocked that it had happened and it was sort of hard to deal with it,” Arcand expressed. “Then I was angry about it and then I sort of channeled that into, ‘Okay, what am I going to do next here?’ You start thinking, ‘Is this it? Is this the end of the career? Are you going to even continue doing this?,’ and that was a thought I had a couple of times.”

Arcand’s abrupt departure from 98.5 The Sports Hub and Boston sports radio was short-lived though, as there was a substantial market for his services. In the end, he communicated with Thomas and WEEI operations manager Ken Laird, utilizing industry connections and his own versatility to return to the place where he began working professionally in Boston.

“Seeing that WEEI was in the market for someone on-air and to produce [the afternoon] show, I was right there and willing to try out something I hadn’t done in a while,” Arcand said. “It was a no-brainer, really. Going to WEEI was a no-brainer for me. I started there. That’s my radio home.”

As someone once again “new” to the station, Arcand is looking to foster a working chemistry with afternoon hosts Lou Merloni, Christian Fauria and Meghan Ottolini, along with radio producer Ryan Garvin. Arcand enters the role replacing show executive producer Tyler Devitte who left the station to pursue other opportunities and feels that the composition of the show is unique in the sports radio landscape. In short, it gives them an opportunity to further differentiate themselves from other afternoon programs across multiple platforms of dissemination.

“It’s an interesting show because Lou and Christian are both ex-jocks,” Arcand explained. “It’s rare that you sort of see shows where it’s just two guys like that and it was just them for a while but then with [Glenn] Ordway and then they brought in Meghan [Ottolini].”

Arcand had been listening to the afternoon drive program long before the offer to return to WEEI was made to him and now looks to offer his insight and expertise when necessary. He does not want to enter his new role with insolence or by coming off as dogmatic when expressing his opinions about the show.

“I’m sort of taking the approach of observing more than maybe I would in a couple of weeks from now or something,” he said. “I want to sort of make sure I get the rhythm of the show and the clock and everything like that. Those are all things that you have to be more aware of when you’re behind the glass as opposed to on the air.”

Arcand will be hosting a solo radio program on WEEI every Saturday afternoon, reminiscent of Sunday Service, a weekend show he used to host on 98.5 The Sports Hub. He is excited to be able to return to the Boston airwaves and connect with his audience once a week to bring them the latest sports news and entertaining talk – all while bringing his trademarks of sarcasm and congeniality.

“I’m really comfortable just sitting in the room, cracking the mic and talking with the callers or putting out my points and getting to certain things that I want to touch on,” Arcand said. “….I think my style is one that you just sort of tune in and you’re hanging out with me for a couple of hours.”

Ultimately, Christian Arcand has made the move back to what he refers to as his radio home. As he concludes his first week back at WEEI, he is focused on producing the afternoon drive program and complimenting that with his solo show on Saturdays, the first of which will take place tomorrow from noon to 2 p.m. Through all of his endeavors, he will talk about Boston sports with his listeners no matter the season, giving them a platform to engage with the hyperlocal coverage.

“Being back at WEEI is something that I’m really happy about,” Arcand expressed. “I was excited to get started, [and] now that I’m there, I’m excited to see where we can take this show.”

Continue Reading

BSM Writers

What Twitter Alternatives Exist For Sports Media?

Sports Twitter is a major vehicle that has helped establish the platform’s reputation for accurate and authentic up to the minute information.

Avatar photo

Published

on

blank

The reality of Twitter dying as a platform was looked at as a bit hyperbolic when Elon Musk first took over the social media network. Now though, it is slowly coming closer and closer to potential reality.

Musk has been on a quest to salvage Twitter’s economic stability but has done so in an irrational and unplanned fashion. The actions he has taken include publicly criticizing his employees and firing them after pushback and firing essential engineers who literally keep the platform from crashing. Developers have even warned Twitter users with two factor authentication to either remove the feature or to remain logged in because the function that handles that process no longer works.

Sports Twitter is a major vehicle that has helped establish the platform’s reputation for accurate and authentic up to the minute information. It has helped establish the careers of insiders such as Adrian Wojnarowski, Shams Charania and Adam Schefter. In case Twitter does actually come to an end, what should reporters who rely so much on the platform do?

Establish an email list through Substack

With permission from their employers, I would suggest starting a newsletter list that they would be able to carry with them in case they decided to leave their employer at some point (all three of the mentioned journos recently signed extensions). Posting on Substack through a mobile device is just as easy as posting on Twitter and it gives users an almost similar experience to what they had with using Twitter in the sense that they could have their email notifications turned on and they could interact with other basketball lovers through Substack’s comments section.

Create a live blog that always exists on your employer’s page

A running page of information that was sponsored and existed on ESPN or Stadium’s page would make digestible, quick hit commentary monetizable for the networks that employ Shams, Woj and Schefter. It brings people back to their employer’s page and establishes even more of a bond between consumers and apps/websites – a connection that has been taken away from many due to the existence of social media.

Establish a Mastodon server

With over a million users, Mastodon has become the closest thing to a Twitter alternative that’s available. Even though signing up for an account is a little confusing and the ability to search for unique users and takes isn’t fully established in comparison to Twitter – Mastodon has a similar look and feel to Elon’s platform and it gives employers more control over who is and isn’t interacting with their employees and what they are able to see. It would make it easier on ESPN or Stadium’s part to constantly promote links to their pages for viewers and readers to consume.

It’s the closest thing that is available to establishing your own social media network without the startup costs, hiring of engineers and figuring out tech issues. An advertising mechanism hasn’t been established yet but ESPN or Stadium could be in the forefront (because of the credibility they bring to the table) of establishing the revenue side of things alongside Mastodon.

Stick it out with Elon

NBC Universal’s advertising head recently told AdAge that NBC is sticking it out with Twitter. Twitter’s ad program has faced setback since Elon’s takeover but it is still much more established and streamlined that anything else available out there that is similar to Twitter. She also said that Twitter is the biggest host of NBC content on the internet (besides NBC owned platforms of course).

If a major company like NBC is standing with Twitter and if most major advertisers haven’t left yet, maybe sports reporters should also stay put for now. Twitter is not a startup. Despite the disarray we read about everyday, it’s still an established company that is up and running. We are all using Twitter itself to talk smack about its mismanagement but the reality is we are all still using Twitter. Even those who have gone away from the platform still come back more often than not to check in on what is happening directly on Twitter.

Maybe the grass will eventually be greener on the other side and Elon will have Twitter on more established ground. Maybe Elon files for bankruptcy and sells it to bankers who create an environment of stability for the company.

The reality is there is no other platform as good at real time reaction than Twitter so maybe sticking it out and keeping status quo is the best thing for everyone to do. See you later on Twitter (follow me @JMKTVShow).

Continue Reading
Advertisement blank
Advertisement blank

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2022 Barrett Media.