Wednesday, February 21, 2007

SBJ's Top 20 Most Influential in Online Sports

Sports Business Journal came out with the Top 20 Most Influential People in Online Sports, dominated by media and league dot-com execs (as it should be). Notably, Bill Simmons ranked 12th, Peter King ranked 19th (WTF?) and Deadspin's Will Leitch ranked 20th, which feels like "let's add a blogger for some cred."

But if you truly understand online sports, you know that Will should be ranked somewhere just outside the Top 10 (and -- sorry, Bill -- definitely ahead of Simmons). I cannot begin to explain King's placement when a site like ProFootballTalk is so much more influential. So I guess it's a good thing I've been working on my own ranking (tease)... coming soon.


Unsilent Majority said...

I can't believe that pigfucker got in ahead of Will. That's crap.

CMFost said...

Wow, I would not even rank Simmons in the top 50. the only reason he is well known is due to the fact he is on

Mikepcfl said...

I'll go against the majority and say Simmons should be pretty high. He's the only reason I still read ESPN's Page 2 and I only found the daily quickie because I needed something to read while waiting for his article to come out.

Big D said...

I think that in the argument of "most influential" people, a lot of weight has to be placed on the number of hits/page views, etc.

Therefore, when you consider that Simmons and King probably each command a much larger number of regular readers than The Underground, The Big Lead, True Hoop (pre-ESPN hostile takeover), MJD, or our boy Dan here combined, it's fair to say that they are perhaps more influential.

Besides, it's not like the sites like Deadspin, Free Darko, etc. are trying to shape the way we think about sports - if anything, they're encouraging the free exchange of ideas among readers after posting a give topic and then standing out of the way. Hard to be influential on other people if you don't generally join the discussion past the initial posting of a topic.

Big D said...

P.S. Dan... how about a link to this article? I'm far too busy (read: lazy) to go and search it out for myself.

Enrico said...

Put me in the camp that thinks Simmons is pretty influential. Even people who can't stand him still read him. I enjoy his stuff. Perhaps it has to do with the fact that I only read maybe 1 out of 5 of his pieces. (they're just so long and i don't have the time) Maybe that way I don't get Simmons overdose.

Unknown said...

How do we define influential?

I mean in a sense there is no Will Leitch if there never was a Bill Simmons.

On the other hand - Will Leitch has been inspirational to an entire cadre of bloggers who are doing great and new things with the world of sports.

I don't doubt that they belong both on that list and Simmons probably deserves to be higher on the list right now - as the Obi Wan to the blogosphere even if he would hate to admit to that.

Either way - who gives a crap about lists like this?

mark said...

My beef with Simmons is this:

You know how, in their ninth or tenth year of existence, comic strips (no matter how good they were to begin with) start to slip? They're still well-drawn. Still an occasional new twist. But the characters have frozen into routines, the same three dozen jokes have been told twenty times each (or something like that), there are certain stock plotlines for when the artist is feeling too bored to come up with something new (Calvin: "I'm Home!" --waits--peers in--opens door--Hobbes comes barrelling out. Hobbs: "Witty remark!" Calvin: pathetic expression.), and the artist starts taking frequent and lengthy vacations.

Well, Bill Simmons has gotten a bit like that. Let's be honest: you can practically write a Bill Simmons column yourself at this point. He does it better than you would, sure, but you already know pretty much what he's going to say on any particular issue. And the jokes aren't as funny any more either.

verbal97 said...

@ mark

you hit the nail on the head...but I still read out of loyalty.

Disclaimer: I only stopped watching ER this year.

Unknown said...

Calvin and Hobbes NEVER got old. You, sir, are despicable.

Far Side, similarly, never got old.

Of course, that might be because both authors decided to retire early.

The average sports fan likely has not heard of Will Leitch.

1999 Officers said...

Do you blog about sports anymore or just blog about blogs?
I started reading because your DQ because it was east, straightforward and simple....kinda like PTI for the Internet. But now....gee, I dont know. I couldn't fathom Wilbon and Kornheiser always doing bits about other sports shows and the hosts. Unless they always talked about how bad Shannon Sharpe or Michael Irvin have always been. Dan, get back to your roots. Don't go all Peter Preachy King on us.

Unknown said...

that's pretty funny keg and I agree. Dan we don't care about your self-aggradizing mission to be relevant.

CMFost said...

Off topic but we have an upset in the 1st round of the World Match Play Event the 15th Seed Dredge beat the 2nd Seeded Ernie Els

Dan Shanoff said...

Fair point, Keggy. I don't think I've gone away from the Quickie/PTI "Headlines"-style coverage -- particularly in the morning post, which is the real foundation of the blog. But throughout the day, I might pick up on random threads that are of interest to me -- and the fundamental change (or disconnect) between mainstream and new sports media is one of them.

It does happen to be a pretty slow time in sports news that breaks throughout the day: If there was a big NBA trade, I'd certainly be posting about that. (And just wait until conference tournaments and the NCAA Tournament start to fill up the weekday afternoons!)

But I hear you.

richard k said...

Lighten up its all a matter of opinion who is most influential...

You could make a case for any 20 sports bloggers and columnists being the most influential.

As for me I really don't enjoy Deadpsin or many of the sites Dan always recomends, but that is my opinion... But I do enjoy Dan's blog for some reason.

Although I am disappointed more has not been written on the chaos of the NBA Allstar game by any of the sports blogs out there. Bill Simmons did a piece on it as did Whitlock and there were few other news items out there.

To me this is huge issue in terms of the NBA's image that most of the supposed influential online writers are completly ignoring for whatever reason.

mattie said...

Count me in as someone else who thinks Bill Simmons should be REALLY high up there. I mean, come on, I'm frustrated with him too (that celebrity racing story/blog entry from the All-Star weekend was damn near unbearable), but to act like he's not influential because his writing has gotten lazy is kind of ridiculous. As has been said, everyone, even the haters, read him, and he introduced the kind of "sportswriting" that every blog on the planet has now taken and run with. I love Deadspin and read it every day, along with the Big Lead and others, but they aren't exactly well-known or mainstream (and that's not a knock on them). Hell, like others, I only found the Quickie because of reading Simmons on Page 2...I only found the other blogging sites because I followed Dan here and got properly introduced to the full sports blogosphere.

I think Simmons BADLY needs to be rejuvenated, the way he's always talking about athletes who need a change of scenery. I don't know where he should go, but he needs a challenge, a breath of fresh air, and AN EDITOR. But just because he's starting to coast on his success and the game he helped start is passing him by doesn't mean he's not one of the most influential people in online sports right now.

Unknown said...

Hey Dan, would it kill you to write a blurb about hockey every once in a while, especially considering the slow news period that we are in.

Here I'll help, there is a really tight race for the playoffs in the Eastern Conference, why not keep track of it. I know a lot of your readers would appreciate it, unless of course you don't care about your readers.

Mikepcfl said...

Speaking of chaos at the NBA All-Star game, it is coming out now that Pacman Jones was with the shooter at the strip club and not just a witness...shocker. This story should get alot more interesting.

ToddTheJackass said...

Here's the thing. For people who read all of the sports blogs out there, they're bound to find something they think is better than Simmons, etc.

I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on sports, and spend a lot of time online. That being said, most of the blogs you mention Dan, I don't really frequent, nor had I heard of until you took on the cause of championing the non-ESPN blog cause. Deadspin is still far from mainstream.

This list isn't most influential on the blogosphere, this list is most influential in online sports. Therefore, Simmons, who has to have the highest readership of anyone out there, should be pretty damn high on the list, like him or not. At least as high as any writer is.

I mean, how many other Online sports writers would get to be on Colbert?

thehip04 said...

Chalk another vote up for Simmons, without him I don't even think you'd have this blog Dan.

The Poobah said...

Bloggers are becoming more and more influential no question, Dan. But, as an example, ProFootballTalk is SO much more influential than Peter King's MMQB? Really? That's like saying ESPNews is more influential than SportsCenter. ESPNews is to me a much better product, but to say it's more influential than SportsCenter is a little much. ProFootballTalk is a great site to be sure.

Like big d said, blogs (for the most part) help us to have an outlet to communicate with each other about sports. I'm not looking to Deadspin, KSK or Dan (to name a few) for news, I'm looking to talk to other like minded fans.

Lemme take a guess and say bloggers take up all 20 spots on your list. Blogs are great, I read them all the time. But I still look to other outlets as well, and so do tons of others.

So as the great Harvey Keitel says in Pulp Fiction "Well, let's not start"....well you know the rest.

Unknown said...

I need to continue my previous thought and say that Will definitely deserves to be on that list.

The medium that Will has perfected helps people stay informed who don't want to wade through the stock stories and advertisements of the ESPN website.

Deadspin posts news quicker than anyone else. Will can write something quick about a topic that someone like Simmons never gets the chance to talk about because he only writes twice a week.

I also think that Will is a lot more mainstream that people think. Deadspin is a pretty popular site (as evidenced by Will being asked to live blog the friggin' superbowl by CBS Sportsline). I think some people are stuck in that idea that blogs are not as popular as mainstream media but I think Deadspin has begun to transcend that idea.

I mean let's not forget that Will got to participate in a Pros -vs- Joes event. I blog and I didn't get that invite, so that should count for something.

Dr. Zoom said...

I'm sorry, Dan, but King's MMQB has a HUGE regular readership (and the regularity is key here), including yours truly. But I also read you every day, so hopefully redeemed myself.

marcomarco said...

To rip off one of Simmons 'gimmicks': Bill Simmons is alot like Randy Savage.

1. Meteoric rise in popularity, largely due to his devotion to loveable losers Red Sox, Patriots. (Elizabeth)

2. Wins the intercontinental title (Pats '01 '03), and continues to rise until peaking and taking down the Heavyweight belt (Sox '04).

3. Success even further in his head, bashes Hogan, Mega Powers explode. (packs up and moves to LA, writes a book)

4. Hogan runs off with Elizabeth and his title belt. (Colts win it all)

4. Fans have completely abandoned him, starts relishing being 100% heel. (Yankee comparisons, 3 rings to 1, etc)

Now, all he needs to do is hire Sherri as a manager, lose a few retirement matches and switch to WCW. Maybe a few slim jim commercials and an appearance in Spider man.

I'm sure i missed some steps, please fill in the gaps.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

According to the club owner Pacman knew the shooter. This is going to be talked about ad nauseum on the sports radio shows here in Nashville. I remember reading that Jermaine Dupri was there and I think Pacman and JD kinda look alike so it could be a case of mistaken identity. But if it is true the Titans need to get rid of him regardless of the ability he has on the football field

1999 Officers said...

I love the analogy marco2. His switch from WWF to WCW would be a jump from ESPN to SI. Word has it that Bill is in a contract year right now. Cue the dramatic music now...

And to Dan, thanks for listening and responding to my concerns....THAT alone is a reason that I will keep reading.

Unknown said...


I can't put into words how dissapointed I am with you. Not in the Top 50? Let's get real.

ESPN is the most read sports site on the internet by a mile. AOL/CBS/Yahoo/Deadspin are in the dust fighting it out.

You may not like ESPN and you may not like Sports Guy, but the fact remains that if you look at the ESPN TOP 5 KEYWORD searches for the day "Sports Guy" is there every single day. If you look at the bottom of an ESPN article where it says TOP 5 MOST SENT STORIES of the day, the latest Sports Guy Column is #1 95% of the time.

Sports Guy created the style that everyone copies. You could even argue that he should be #1.

By the "Best of the Best" equation...
Most read writer on most read site.

Kevin said...

Yeah, I tink Simmons should be at least that high, if not higher. Lots of people try to copy his writing style (including me) because it's so damn good, and I don't think there's a single online writer with a bigger following.

futurelegendvinceyoung said...

Dan I am sure you have seen the new lineup for Dancing with the Stars. What the hell is Clyde Drexler thinking? And will the future ex-Mrs. McCarthy be the first one voted off the show because everyone loves Paul?

Natsfan74 said...

OK, sorry I am late to this. I feel like I am piling on at this point.

I'll defend Bill Simmons placement with one simple sentence: My wife and her 4 female college roommates discuss his articles (and his wife's).

My wife would only know anyone else on the top 20 list by me ranting or something at home. But she reads Bill Simmons because of the pop culture references, the jokes, and the fact that you don't have to be a genius (sports or otherwise) to get it.

kway34 said...

I feel Simmons is like The Simpsons. Still ok-good, but not nearly what it was in their prime and if he/they were just coming along now as they currently are people wouldn't look twice at them.

Mega said...

Before bloggers came along, writers had an unwritten code (and still have it I think) to protect each other no matter what. Now, every other blog criticizes and points out the flaws (or just sheer dumb mistakes) of the writers. They are no longer guaranteed protection and the media HATED least at first. Now you see the media is tapping in to the blogging resource more and more.

With that being said, expect more bloggers to start getting paid for what they do. As well as keeping it an "anything goes" open forum.

DP said...

I should have won.

Oh wait, this is sports blogs we are talking about. I write about whatever I want, becuz I B smarht!!!!


Mikepcfl said...

I was just thinking why I still enjoy reading Simmons so much. Yes, he has changed since the Red Sox and Patriots won their titles, but unlike so much on-line material, his articles are still for the most part positive. So many writers feel they have to trash something or someone to get noticed or make a name for themselves. It gets old after a while.

If nothing else, I know Simmons is going put me in a good mood after reading him. There are some writers who have never written a positive piece on anyone or anything. Sports are fun and entertaining, I get enough "hard-hitting" analysis and criticism in the real news.

Michael said...

I know someone else requested the link but you need a password to see the list. Any way you can just copy and paste the complete list?

As far a Simmons is concerned his jokes are predictable, and the last truly funny thing he wrote was his diary of the draft last summer but I still couldn't wait to read his write up of the Super Bowl or All star weekend and his basketball knowledge seems to always be on point. So as boring as he has been it is still better than 90% of the people out there. When it comes to looking forward to reading a sports related article he is still (even watered down) first on my list.

Beetle said...

Chaulk up another vote for Simmons.
I could make an argument for him as #1.
He started his sports blogging back in 1997!
How many people had a home internet connection in 1997, raise your hands please. I thought so.
He is the most read writer on, and the ONLY reason Page 2 gets readership.
Sure, he uses the same jokes, just like Jonny Carson always did his golf swing.
The classics never get old.
I will now light myself on fire.

TJ said...

I'm in the Simmons camp on this one. If we're talking "Most Influential" in online sports, I actually think 12 may be a little low. Simmons was the first sports writer I read consistently online, and definitely the first online sports writer whose columns I would specifically wait for and read as soon as they were posted. I don't know anything about the business side of it, but as far as online writers go, I think Simmons is definitely #1.

As for Will Leitch, he definitely needs to be on the list, though I'm not sure that 20 isn't the perfect spot.

TJ said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
TJ said...

Oh, and it'll be really interesting, if Simmons leaves ESPN this year, to see what kind of readership Page 2 continues to get. Hell, I'd love to know what percentage of ESPN Insiders got Insider just to have access to his archive. To be honest, I got insider solely so I could read archived Simmons and MQ chats.