Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Will You Read a Blog About the NFC East?

UPDATE: Now, a new search application? You've got my attention.

ORIGINAL: Blogging by division? Hmm.

In my experience, fans consume sports blogs about a particular sport one of two ways: Hyper-locally (blogs about their team) and hyper-nationally (blogs about the sport at large). Oh, there is a third way I don't mean to diminish: Fantasy info, but that's a separate category.

I don't know if a Cowboys fan cares about the rest of the NFC East. I think they care about the Cowboys and about the NFL and about their fantasy team. Are they best-served in a division-by-division approach?

What is interesting is that this just might work for college football, which I didn't buy until a friend who runs a team-specific CFB blog convinced me otherwise, based on Rittenberg's solid work on ESPN.com's Big Ten blog so far. College football fans have a much greater interest in conference-level news -- but it's not at all comparable to division-level news for NFL fans.

In fact, in the CFB blog landscape, blogs that cover an entire conference are actually filling an existing need in the marketplace. I'm not seeing that same need for division-by-division NFL coverage. I would have been intrigued to see this approached in a "let's-win-this" way: Individual blogs for all 32 NFL teams, hosted entirely through ESPN.com.

Tangent: Why did the erstwhile Hashmarks not work where TrueHoop succeeded? Three big reasons: (1) TrueHoop was the most established and credible voice in the NBA blogosphere; Hashmarks was created from scratch. (2) Henry Abbott had a lot more experience in the blog format than Matt Mosley. (3) The NBA blogosphere was/is much more robust than the NFL blogosphere. (Hashmarks obviously also didn't fit in the new division-by-division model.)

I think fans -- certainly bloggers -- will be watching Factor No. 2 carefully: As MDS pointed out on PFT, it remains to be seen whether these print reporters can make the transition to blogging. It is very different. Hey, perhaps it will give them a greater appreciation for the form. And, god knows, mainstream media folks who "get" blogs are welcome. More than welcome -- necessary.

-- D.S.


a.c. said...

As a life-long 'skins fan, I would definitely read an NFC East blog. I already know far more about the teams in that division than almost any non-division rivals in the NFL, my beloved skins play 6 of their 16 against them and there's no better way to talk shit than to know your enemy. Plus, 25% of the coverage would be focused on my boys. I think it'll sell.

BD said...

The search tool sounds amazing. I wonder if it will contain the complete ESPN the Mag archives as well. I've been searching for years for a Coach Knight Article that appears to have vanished.

Dan Shanoff said...

I'm a little bummed that the archive doesn't go back beyond 1999 -- I had some stuff I wrote in 96 and 97 that I'd love to track down.