PTI’s Underlying Sign Of Online Video Revolution

You may have noticed I’ve been posting a lot more video pieces in the past six months or so. Friday’s PTI highlighted why.


Wednesday afternoon the Paris-based sports outlet L’EQUIPE posted a video account of Tony Parker characterizing the Spurs’ future pursuit of an NBA Title as futile. (With the club’s roster as presently constituted.) The San Antonio guard was seen making the remarks on-camera in french but translated subtitles were not added.

Early Thursday morning international basketball website FIBA.com provided an english translation of some of Parker’s remarks. That post was then picked up by eagle-eyed sports bloggers Jorge Sierra of Hoopshype.com, Tom Ziller @ SBNation, Matt Moore @ CBSSports.com and Kurt Hellin @ NBCSports.com.

Struck by Parker’s remarkably candid comments, I sought out the original report on the L’Equipe.fr site. I then obtained the video of Parker making his comments in french from the post, added translated subtitles to the clip, and re-posted the video so it could be disseminated across the United States and Canada. (With full credit and web link to L’Equipe.)

I posted the translated video around midday Thursday. Soon after, venerable SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS sports reporter Tim Griffin posted a blog entry that linked my Parker post and the subtitled video that originated from L’Equipe.

San Antonio ABC affiliate KSAT-TV then re-posted my translated L’Equipe video on its Facebook page, along with this question to its Facebook friends: “We’re interested in your thoughts on Tony Parker saying the Spurs are no longer championship contenders as presently constructed.

After that social networking entry - based solely on the translated video - received hundreds of responses, KSAT-TV sports anchor Greg Simmons led his evening San Antonio sportscast with the story, which included the airing of my translated version of the L’Equipe video of Parker.

During his report, anchor Simmons pitched to the subtitled clip with this:

“The reaction is strong right back here in San Antonio.

“Appearing before reporters in Paris, T.P. 9 (Parker) said he felt the window of opportunity for another NBA Championship for the Spurs, with the big three and current support group, has closed. You can listen and read for yourself.”

KSAT then aired the subtitled L’Equipe video of Parker.

Coming out of the clip, Simmons then pitched to fan reaction of Parker’s statements, which obviously had already made the rounds within the city:

“Those statements may have been made in France but they are being heard loud and clear right here in San Antonio by Spurs fans.”

Simmons then featured on-camera comments from Spurs fans and responses from the aforementioned KSAT Facebook entry.

If you know anything about television news you understand that without video of Parker’s comments, KSAT would not have played up the story as it did, which included fanning out around town for fan reaction and reaching out to its thousands of followers on Facebook. That’s not to say that Parker’s comments wouldn’t have been mentioned on the same S.A. sportscast, but it would not have been presented in such dramatic fashion.

Without chasing down the french connection to the story - and providing a subsequent translation of the Parker video - what’s the odds it ends up in the living rooms of tens of thousands of San Antonians?

Or is featured the next day on sports TV’s most-watched, and influential daily show: ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption with Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser.

Friday afternoon I was alerted by SbB readers - via my well-trafficked Twitter and Facebook accounts - that I’d gotten a mention from Wilbon on PTI.

The subject of the plug was the translated L’Equipe video of Parker.

[]
Wilbon from the show:

“Tony Parker spending time back home in France and perhaps that’s why he felt comfortable enough to say what he said about the Spurs in a recent interview unearthed by Sports by Brooks.

“Quote, ‘I don’t think this current team will play for the title in the future. We are aging, we must be realistic. It was sort of our last chance this season.’ Close quote.”

After affirming Parker’s dim view of San Antonio’s future, Kornheiser said that the Spurs guard wouldn’t have said such negative things about his NBA team had he not been speaking in his native tongue - while  across the pond:

“What interests me though is I suspect that not only did he say this in France, he said it in French. I suspect that he did not think, because he’s in a foreign country, that it would be unearthed back in the United States.

“I don’t think he’d have told a San Antonio reporter this exact thing.”

That exchange followed SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS reporter Mike Monroe noting that Parker’s indelicate assessment had reached Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford.

“Who knows what the motivation is to say something like that,” Buford said. “I’m not going to get caught up in comments. All I can say is that we’re going to continue to build our team and try to be as good as we can be in the future.”

Buford probably would’ve been asked about Parker’s comments had the translated video of the guard’s remarks not gone viral. But with anglo-enabled video, millions more were made aware of the story.

For too long we’ve heard the people who ultimately control big media web operations, the same suits with no clue how to mine online’s tangible, financial value, tell us about how valuable video will be to the web.

When will that be?

If you’re talking online viewership of major league and major college sports, we’re very close, with ESPN3 leading the way.

If you’re talking online viewership of anything besides the above, welcome to 1983.

If you don’t believe me, checkout the ‘view’ statistics of videos posted to the the official Youtube accounts of all the big sports media players.

Gone organic, most original TV bits are reduced to double-to-triple-digits when consigned to online.

Those paltry numbers tell you that, like the circulation of the monopoly-enabled (and later, addled) newspapers the past century, viewership of original online sports programming is solely based on the venue. If ESPN provides a video top-front placement on ESPN.com, or directs a prime-time SportsCenter audience to the web, you will see huge online views.

But there’s no middle ground.

The reason I detailed the process by which the Tony Parker video eventually ended up on ESPN’s highest-profile daily show was to illustrate what will drive people to watch online-only videos. With or without plugs from shows like PTI. (Which I did appreciate by the way.)

For an online sports video to grab the attention of more than blood relatives, it must have something a web user can’t get anywhere else that is relevant to the viewer. (See proprietary.) Why would any right-thinking sports fan seek out video of a sports reporter and/or columnist and/or talk show host doing anything other than breaking a story or dishing privileged information?

What made the Parker video so valuable was that it contained content that - though not altogether proprietary - was a revelation to english-speaking NBA fans and national and local (S.A.) electronic media.

If I’m ever going to appear on an SbB-produced video, I’m only going to do so if I can provide viewers new and relevant information that that they consider valuable.

That’s precisely what KSAT-TV in San Antonio did in providing the Parker video to its audience. Not only was it new information, but it was highly valuable to the audience and a critical component of that particular type of journalistic enterprise.

To this point, web-centric video that is proprietary has never been made a priority by big media. The reliance remains, to this day, on distribution to fuel usage.

The Parker video, along with dozens of other original video pieces I’ve posted to Youtube.com, Dailymotion.com and Facebook that have garnered millions of views, prove that with strategic ingredients, the value of web video can be measured by more than institutional distribution.

Follow Brooks on Twitter or join him on Facebook for real-time updates.

Deion Disputes Wilbon Claim Of Shanahan Racism

After his decision to bench Donovan McNabb in favor of Rex Grossman on Oct. 31 against the Detroit Lions, Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan gave his reasoning for making the move with these postgame comments:

Kyle Shanahan and Donovan McNabb

“I felt with the time, with no timeouts, Rex gave us the best chance to win in that scenario. Everything is sped up when you don’t have timeouts. It’s got to be automatic. People forget how quick things are in that two minutes. It’s like learning a new language.

“Are you asking me if we played poorly? Yes, we did.”

After the game, Jamie Mottram posted the above photo of a seemingly perplexed Redskins Offensive Coordinator Kyle Shanahan as he was apparently looking at McNabb during the Redskins-Lions game.

Dan Steinberg of the WASHINGTON POST following up Mottram’s screen shot with a link to this video:


In the brief clip, while watching McNabb run the Washington offense against Detroit, Shanahan said, “What the hell?

The next day McNabb’s replacement, Rex Grossman, told the media that he called his own plays for the two drives he was in the game. CSNwashington.com’s Ryan O’Halloran subsequently reported,”it doesn’t appear McNabb has such freedom.

Though there does seem to be some circumstantial evidence to suggest that perhaps McNabb is not completely up to speed on the Redskins offense, regarding Shanahan’s postgame defense for McNabb’s benching …

Most Likely: Mike Shanahan was covering his own a– for his horrific coaching manuever

Less Likely: Mike Shanahan was covering for son Kyle advocating a horrific coaching manuever

Least Likely: Mike Shanahan has trust in Rex Grossman’s abilities

Unlikely: Mike Shanahan was completely honest in his explanation for McNabb’s benching

From there, Mike Shanahan only made things worse for himself.

From Jason Reid of the WASHINGTON POST on Nov. 1:

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Monday that Donovan McNabb’s lingering injuries played a role in the coach’s decision to bench his starting quarterback Sunday.

… But McNabb wasn’t able to fully practice and Shanahan said that from a “cardiovascular standpoint,” McNabb couldn’t handle the fast-paced two-minute offense.

The next day, Michael Wilbon wrote this in the WASHINGTON POST:

“Look, I’ve long ago declared my bias toward McNabb and I’m not going to spin away from it now. McNabb, though, hasn’t played all that well and has said so. He wasn’t particularly effective Sunday in Detroit, either.

“And indications are now that the Shanahans, father and son, don’t much like the way McNabb prepares for games. Mike’s assertion makes it sound like McNabb is some dummy, an ominous characterization he’d better be careful about, lest he run into some cultural trouble in greater Washington, D.C.”

Wilbon’s Tuesday column, as noted by Steinberg in the Washington Post, was followed the same day by stronger comments from David Aldridge and John Thompson II on DC’s ESPN 980 that echoed Wilbon’s implication that race may have been a factor in McNabb’s benching.

Ugly? We’re just getting started. Read more…

Thy Heathen Wilbon: WHERE IS YOUR GOD NOW?

Today ESPN announced Jon Miller and Joe Morgan were being let go from their duties as Sunday Night Baseball announcers on the network after 20 years of service.

Mike Wilbon: Joe Morgan is a god.

No one was hit harder by the news than ESPN PTI co-host Michael Wilbon. Wilbon in the WASHINGTON POST on Morgan: Let me just say that Joe Morgan is God.

To each his ecunemical own.

Mike Wilbon

Myself? I prefer to worship at the altar of the above late-’90s Wilbon publicity glossy.
I don’t have much to say about the passing of Miller & Morgan, as in 20 years I probably didn’t watch enough of their games - check that - as in 20 years I probably didn’t watch enough of their games with the sound on to account for a single game’s worth of work.

So instead, I defer to this poignant tribute to Miller from the SAN DIEGO READER: Read more…

ESPN Refuses To Acknowledge Sloppy Reporting

Last night Chris Broussard of ESPN reported that the Chicago Bulls “have reached out to Phil Jackson through back channels to gauge his interest in returning to the franchise he won six NBA titles with, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation.

(Wilbon didn’t acknowledge Jax’s denial the next day on PTI)

Broussard went on to note that, “there has been no direct contact between Bulls officials and Jackson, according to the sources, but people close to both parties have spoken and come away with the belief that Jackson would be open to a potential reunion in Chicago next season.

Shortly after the story was posted, K.C. Johnson of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE noted that Jackson reported himself earlier this month that he had no intention of returning to Chicago:

That seems unlikely, not only because of the team source downplaying the story but also from Jackson’s words on May 4.

No, I’m not,” Jackson said, when asked if he’d be interested in succeeding Vinny Del Negro. “I think it’s a wonderful job for whoever takes it.”

That denial was not included in the original Broussard piece. ESPN copy editors have since added it.

May 17 on local D.C. radio, ESPN’s Michael Wilbon reported that Phil Jackson had already been asked to take a 60% pay cut by Lakers Owner Jerry Buss if he wanted to return as Lakers Coach next season. When asked on May 19 by Kevin Ding of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER - after Wilbon’s report - if he was asked to take a 60% pay cut, Jackson said, “I have not.”

The next day (May 20 “Pay Cut For Phil” segment) on ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption Wilbon debated with Tony Kornheiser the prospect of Jackson taking a 60% pay cut. Nowhere in his discussion was the fact that Jackson had specifically denied Wilbon’s claim the night before.

On May 21 Chad Ford of ESPN shook up the Chris Bosh free agent sweepstakes when ESPN.com reported:

Chris Bosh’s agent has told the Toronto Raptors that he’s narrowed his list of preferred teams to five, two sources told ESPN.com’s Chad Ford at the NBA draft camp.

The list of five teams — Toronto plus the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and New York Knicks, sources said — was given to Toronto management in case the Raptors want to construct a sign-and-trade deal (assuming Bosh doesn’t re-sign with Toronto).

Later that day, Bosh himself Tweeted: “I saw that i supposedly had a ” top 5″ yesterday. Here’s something more accurate. http://j.mp/cWS0SV.”

The story Bosh linked to, at RealGM.com, reported:

Henry Thomas, the agent for Chris Bosh, said that he has not given the Raptors a list of teams to which his client would be interested in a sign-and-trade deal.

“I haven’t closed the door on anything,” Thomas said. “I haven’t given Bryan [Colangelo] any lists. There is no list. This is a process that is ongoing.”

Thomas said that Bosh is currently considering his options.

“Why would I do that?” Thomas said about the wish list. “We’re still in a process of evaluating a lot different situations.”

Bosh and Thomas disputing Ford’s claims was never acknowledged in Ford’s original report.

It’s a compliment to ESPN that I’m pointing out these three recent instances, as I’m acknowledging the ultimate power ESPN has to manufacture news. But with that power comes responsibility and in each of these cases, the source of the reportage has specifically denied the ESPN report. Read more…

Jackson Denies He’s ‘Been Told’ Of 60% Pay Cut

Earlier today I noted a Monday D.C. radio report that indicated Phil Jackson has already been told by Lakers Owner Jerry Buss that if he wishes to return to coach the team next season, he will have to take a 60 percent pay cut from his current salary.

Phil Jackson wince

During a Monday appearance on WTEM-AM in D.C., ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said:

“I was told yesterday that Phil Jackson’s been told that not only will he not be making $12 million dollars next year, it’s going to be a $5 million dollar cap on his salary.”

Before Game 2 of the Suns-Lakers playoff game on Wednesday night, Jackson was asked about Wilbon’s claim. Read more…

Report: Phil Jackson Asked To Take 60% Pay Cut

In late 2009, Phil Jackson intimated to the media that money may be a major factor if he’s to return as Lakers coach next season. Before the Lakers played the Nets on December 19, Jackson said:

Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant

“A lot of it has to do with the direction the league is going, the direction the ownership wants to go in. People are cutting costs all around the league, and coaches are obviously going to take a cut too, so they may not even want to hire me. They may want to save some money.”

When asked in a followup if he’d take a pay cut to remain as coach of the Lakers, Jackson said, “Why would you?

Then last March, Jackson got more specific about what will dictate his return:

“(Lakers Owner) Dr. (Jerry) Buss said that he put some things on the line by re-signing Lamar [Odom], so it’s financial. This team has never lost money since he took over the team so that’s a big part of it. I pushed him to sign Lamar and we all said we have to have this guy back even if it’s going to put this team in jeopardy financially. At a time when it’s tough in this league, he took the step.”

Most recently, Jackson’s girlfriend and head of the team’s business operations, Jeanie Buss, said last month of her father, Lakers Owners Jerry Buss:

“My dad has made it very clear he doesn’t want to pay him what he’s been paying him. So that’s kind of hard, too. You could kind of say, in some jobs, well I’m cutting back your hours. But can you see him cutting back his hours?”

That leads into a report this week that pegged the pay cut that Jackson allegedly will have to take if he is to remain Lakers coach after this season.

Read more…

ESPN’s Celebrity Journos: Proficiency, Interrupted

If you asked NBA observers about Michael Jordan’s legacy as a league executive, most would first chuckle and then say it’s a good thing he’s now an owner.

Michael Wilbon, Rick Reilly, Tony Kornheiser

Apparently not Jordan friend Michael Wilbon though. On ESPN’s Pardon The Interruption yesterday, he responded to co-Host Dan Le Batard calling Jordan a “pretty terrible executive” thusly:

I know Michael wanted to be an owner. Not a GM. A GM is not what he’s signing up for.”

When one broaches Jordan’s front office aptitude the past decade, the conversation cannot avoid his astonishingly incompetent performance. In disregarding that, Wilbon did a disservice to his credibility as an NBA analyst. But the PTI host is far from the first media member to allow a personal relationship with a subject color his on-air conduct.

Though the irony of ESPN’s highest profile, old school journalists is that the more famous they become, the less reliable their resulting work. Work that also largely pales next to their pre-ESPN resume. Read more…

Why Is Kornheiser Still Doing ESPN Radio Show?

In my post this morning about Michael Wilbon’s reaction to Tony Kornheiser’s PTI suspension, I noted an interesting question posed Wilbon by former ESPNer Dan Patrick on his radio show. Patrick wondered why Kornheiser was suspended from the ESPN PTI show for two weeks but still allowed to do his ESPN-branded radio show in DC. The same show that is still being streamed live by ESPN corporate and where Kornheiser made the comments about Hannah Storm that got him suspended.

ESPN.com still hosting Tony Kornheiser's radio show despite suspension

(Kornheiser still doing “ESPN 980″ show on ESPN.com)

From what I learned from sources this morning, ESPN has no contractual or legal right to remove Kornheiser from his ESPN Radio show in DC. That particular radio station is owned by NFL Redskins Owner Dan Snyder, not ESPN.

I’ve also been told that ESPN never requested to ESPN 980 that Kornheiser be removed from the show during his PTI suspension, though ESPN corporate has told Kornheiser directly that he is no longer allowed to criticize any ESPN employee for any reason on any outlet, including his DC radio show.

There’s been plenty of chatter that ESPN’s severe suspension of Kornheiser wasn’t merely about his comments regarding Storm’s wardrobe. That there were other reasons involved that ESPN didn’t make public. Read more…

Wilbon Reax To Tony K. Suspension, “Bristol Culture”

Michael Wilbon guested this morning on the Dan Patrick Radio Show and gave his first on-the-record remarks about the two week-suspension of his PTI co-host Tony Kornheiser. (Kornheiser was suspended yesterday by ESPN for two weeks for comments he made about Hannah Storm’s clothes.)

Hannah Storm Boots Photo

On the show, Wilbon was asked why Kornheiser was suspended from PTI but not the ESPN radio show in D.C. where he made the comments that got him punished. (I have an email in to ESPN asking the same question.)

Read more…

Man Who Inspired ‘SportsCenter’, ‘PTI’ Passes On

Longtime D.C. sportscaster George Michael passed away today. From the WASHINGTON POST:

George Michael Sports Machine

(Turning slot machine into a “SportsMachine!” changed sports media)

From 1984 to 2007, he oversaw a trendsetting show that made liberal use of action highlights from games that was eventually called “The George Michael Sports Machine.” At its peak, the show was syndicated to more than 200 stations. The show was credited with inspiring ESPN’s “SportsCenter.” 

ESPN’s SportsCenter actually started in 1979, but I do think it’s reasonable to say that the production Michael put into the Sports Machine show, with the (now amusing) futuristic-looking set, did inspire SportsCenter’s advancement to better production value.

Other thing to remember about SportsCenter in the early days is that it had a very low profile nationally because cable was still in its relative infancy. Michael had considerably more weekly viewers with his network syndicated highlights show on Sunday nights, so for many people the concept of a national sports news show was first introduced to them by Michael. Hard to imagine a world without that now, eh?

Though a less-known connection to ESPN involving Michael probably had a much larger impact on the network we know today. 14 years ago it was Michael who first paired WASHINGTON POST sportswriters Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon together for a television show.

Kornheiser and Wilborn first appeared on Michael’s ‘Redskins Report’ every Sunday in D.C., then went on to co-host a show called ‘Full Court Press.’ That experience helped propel Kornheiser and Wilbon to ESPN’s ‘PTI’, where they currently host the most-watched daily show on the network.

Another Michael connection to ESPN is through SportsCenter’s highest-profile anchor Scott Van Pelt. Van Pelt grew up in D.C. watching Michael and talked to me today about the experience. Read more…