Harvey Levin Confirms TMZ Sports Site To Launch

Brian Stelter of the the NEW YORK TIMES reports Harvey Levin confirming that TMZ Sports is a go:

AOL’s exit is expected to make it easier for Mr. Levin to introduce another idea, TMZ Sports, and brings a new phase for TMZ’s advertising sales, which have not kept up with the site’s popularity. … Warner Brothers says the site will begin early next year.

Joba Chamberlain's Mom

(Joba’s mom could stand an Ambien before the ribbon-cutting)

In my introduction of TMZSports.com to you last week, I illuminated the incestuous business relationships that created an opening for such an entity. Levin noted the same to Stelter in the Times:

Levin sees a lot of what he calls agenda reporting in sports, he also sees an opening for coverage by an outsider, free of potential conflicts of interest, like league licensing deals.

Levin also observed the century-old coddling of sports celebs by the sports media:

“I don’t really see a difference between a sports star and a celebrity.”

There is no difference except that unlike entertainment celebs, sports celebs have long enjoyed the trappings of fame and fortune along with obligatory breakage of societal rules scot-free thanks to passive sports media.

Not convinced it’ll work? You aren’t alone. From high profile ESPNers to the lowliest blogger, the sentiment I experienced first hand is near universal: TMZ Sports will not attract the sports fan. At least not consistently.

That despite the fact that TMZ.com has already succeeded in the most hyper-competitive area of the electronic press: showbiz scandal.

As someone who covered pro and college athletes for 16 years in the main media, I can confirm that sports has every bit the shameful behavior percolating beneath the surface as a celebutard-populated cesspool. Behavior that, if reported, could often materially affect the outcome of games, teams, leagues and *gasp* Vegas betting lines.

Best part: there’s no competition in the existing sports media for making that information public!

I’m not going to pretend that TMZ Sports is going to crank out award-winning journalism that will shake the foundation of organized sports as we know it. But I will guarantee that TMZ Sports will cause outlets like ESPN to soon create similar news-gathering methods. Not to mention shows or dedicated segments. (I’m not talking about the failed ESPN Hollywood fluff, either.)

It’s either that or be left behind.

For those who think that TMZ Sports won’t succeed in consistently drawing sports fans, all the site has to do is break a couple-three stories that blow up betting lines during an NFL season and I’ll wager you’ll have it bookmarked quicker than a Mark Sanchez pick-six.

As for the comparison between TMZ Sports and Deadspin, it’s apples and oranges. The majority of TMZ Sports content, if its anything like TMZ.com, will probably be original. The majority of Deadspin content is repackaged material taken from other outlets.

My guess is that TMZ Sports content will be of three types:

a) Goof video sightings of athletes.

b) Investigative follows on stories like Charlie Weis‘ accusation of Pete Carroll’s lifestyle, Ron Artest’s “fall” and Shaq’s alleged dalliance with Gilbert Arenas‘ fiancee. Along with an occasional original newsbreaker.

c) Repackaged content.

If we get enough of “b”, “a” and “c” will be more than tolerable enough for me to visit daily.