Monday, April 29, 2013

NFL/ESPN Agree Not To Tweet Draft Picks Early, Because Apparently No Other Sports Journalists Exist

from the mega-fail dept

Professional sports leagues in general tend to have some degree of desire in controlling information. Some attempts at control are more sensible than others, however. For instance, taking down streams of the Super Bowl? I get it. It's still stupid, and I don't agree with their logic, but I understand the basis for their logic. Forcing any non-broadcast partners and advertisers to euphamize the biggest spectacle in sports? Well that's just dumb. There's no logic behind that at all. So you see, there's something of a degree or scale to which these control attempts fall.

Well, there was anyway, until the NFL broke the scale with a move so myopic and full of fail that it's difficult to imagine it was made by anyone other than a collection of rocks with a history of rock-head trauma. I'm talking about the NFL clamping down for this year's NFL draft on journalists tweeting out the draft picks before they are announced by Commissioner Roger Goodell on stage. For the majority of you who probably didn't watch the first round of the draft on Thursday, the NFL went as far as to purposefully not show live footage they had of draftees talking on the phone with the team picking them, so as not to tip anyone off that they'd been drafted. Even more fun, the on-screen talent went out of their way to remind you over and over and over again that they were withholding information so that you wouldn't know until the moment they wanted you to know. The gentlemen's agreement the NFL has with ESPN, and obviously their edict to NFL Network reporters, meant you also wouldn't find out any tipped draft information on Twitter.

That is, of course, unless you follow any sports journalist not affiliated with those two entities. What the NFL seems to have forgotten is that the NFL Network and ESPN aren't the only people reporting on the draft and that their desires are meaningless to reporters over which they have no leverage. One example of such a reporter, and in my opinion he's one of the best follows for NFL news, is CBS's Jason La Canfora. He wasn't having anything to do with the lockdown.
He intends to tweet as much as possible. Beware: that includes upcoming picks before they are revealed on TV (if he gets them) to his nearly 300,000 followers. He also will be contributing updates to CBSSports.com.
"We're not a broadcast partner for the draft," La Canfora said. "I will be trying to get the information out as quickly and accurately as possible. What event is made more for Twitter than the NFL draft? If the teams have the information; if the guys in the production truck have the information; if the commissioner has the information; why wouldn't passionate football fans want it as well?"
In round 1 of the draft, La Canfora did exactly as he promised. If you were watching the NFL draft to find out who picked who, you got that information somewhere between 10 and 15 minutes later than La Canfora's 300k followers. No, that time difference isn't a big deal. No, I'm not saying the NFL can't run their business however they choose. But if you're going to force certain broadcasters to lock up information that is available elsewhere, and brag about it no less, all you're telling me is that the place I should be going to for NFL news isn't the NFL or ESPN.

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