Local Sports Broadcast Cutbacks An Alarming Trend…Or A new Opprtunity For The Aggressive

With budget cuts continuing in local news, the alarming trend of newscasts eliminating sports, or namely the sports personalities on air seems to be growing. In Friday's New York Daily News, Richard Huff took a look at some New York area cuts and raised the questions many news groups are asking…why do you need local sports when you have so many sports specific channels in most marketsFor those casual fans who rely on the news for their inoput of sports, and more importantly, for the local sports teams (and the brands that support them) the trend is an alarming one, but is also one that can reward the creative with the build up of other platforms and inhouse vehicles to communicate both to the core and casual fan.relationships to tell stories are also developed on the local news side as well as the sports side. The justification out forth is actually one that existed at the birth of the local news show over thirty years ago. Anyone can read scores into a teleprompter…what is needed is the journalist and the compelling story line that makes “news” out of the games…that delivers the personalities to the viewer in ways they don’t get just by watching a game. Some say that the local sportscaster in major markets is aging, and with it comes a reticence to leave the studio and rely on all the inbound media that can be folded into a broadcast. Part of that lies perhaps with the sports brands themselves, which have limited access and built an us vs them and reactive attitude toward the media in this 24/7 newscycle. So the result could be less eyeballs seeing local stories, which leads to less brand exposure, which leads to diminished brand exposure, which could lead to less awareness, attendance and sales. Now while that may seem to be an alarmist stretch, it should serve as a wakeup call for brands to embrace new technology and ways to deliver news to the fan, or even work with the local news outlets to find cost efficient ways to deliver news for events that may not make it to a satellite or landline. The local sportscaster is where almost all of today's sports broadcasting icons have started…hopefully by working together that next generation of multitaskers who cut their own tape, file online stories, blog additional news, followup leads, recieve solid pitches from publicists and then bring great stories to air will give rise to whomever is next. In the quest for more access and delivering the local story, the fan and the brand should not be denied…even if the platform shifts.

Some other good reads…the New York Times has a fun story on the two Mark Teixiera’s...one the Yankee and one the Red Sox fan/drummer…espn.com has an interesting piece on the possibilities of beach volleyball on the collegiate level with uniforms instead of bikinis… CNET has a good look at 2K sports new dugout manager game..and BBC.com has a look at the issues with soccer in the Persian Gulf.