Monday, May 07, 2007

Hungary for hockey coverage and international sports

Posted by Steve Klein

NHL Capitals to Make News by Reporting It

It's no longer news to anyone that the Internet makes everyone a publisher. But does mainstream media fully understand the implications, and that alternative sources are becoming the news provider of choice -- especially when there is no choice?

The Washington Capitals ( plan to send four reporters to Moscow to offer hockey fans unprecedented coverage of the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship ( now underway through May 13. The Capitals will partner with Clearspring Technologies ( to deliver audio, video and text content to their site for Caps fans, as well as to local, national and international media outlets via a specialized widget.

The Capitals have five players and two prospects participating in the tournament -- including their leading scorer and star, Alex Ovechkin ( , who will play for Russia. Although coverage will focus on the Capitals players and prospects, the reporters will provide coverage that will appeal to a world-wide audience.

The coverage team includes Mike Vogel and Sean Parker from the Capitals along with John Keeley and Mike Rucki of On Frozen Blog ( . Vogel and Parker produce the majority of the editorial content on the Capitals' site ( , named the NHL's best team site last year by Vogel also writes the blog Dump 'n Chase ( .

Keeley and Rucki are part of a four-person group that launched "On Frozen Blog" in October 2006 as "a haven for the hockey malnourished." And that's what this initiative by Caps majority owner and chairman Ted Leonsis is all about: Providing content and coverage in under-covered niches that mainstream media ignore for a variety of reasons.

"Our local media -- either because of lack of interest or lack of budget due to declines in circulation, ad revenue decreases and newsroom layoffs -- are not covering the World Championships of Hockey in Moscow," Leonsis wrote May 3 on his blog, Ted's Take ( . "The tournament is big news around the world so we have decided to invest and send four people to cover the event and then put all coverage on the Web for free. We will share the news with new and traditional media outlets and syndicate it far and wide.

"Web 2.0 makes it possible for us to get our coverage out to millions and millions of people, promoting our sport, our team and our players. Our coverage on the Web and in the blogosphere is starting to look like a well heeled major media enterprise compared to many traditional media outlets that must curtail their coverage due to lack of budget based on the fragile state of their old business model."

The Capitals have not made the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs for several years and often are treated like an afterthought in the NFL-Washington-Redskins-crazed D.C. metro area media. Leonsis is probably best known for his longtime significant relationship with AOL. But the Capitals are no plaything as far as Leonsis is concerned. He's obviously tired of waiting for the media to come to him and the Caps.

The coverage will include stories, audio and video interviews, photos and podcasts. The Capitals, through their relationship with Clearspring Technologies, will deliver the content directly to interested media and online outlets via a specialized Web-based widget. Media outlets and individuals with blogs or social networking pages can post the widget directly to their sites, where others can access the information.
I love the fact that there will be expanded coverage of international sports in the US. Generally, the US is way behind the rest of the world in all understandings of global discussions -- including sports.

Furthermore, I ask about the weirdness of the journalists that hail from the Washington Capitals. This crew to cover the games is not from the Washington Post. They are working for the NHL team.

Wonder what Mark Madden has to say about this?

The hotel rooms in Olympic Villages have never been the same since the hockey teams have come, crashed and departed. Now, perhaps, the apartment managers are going to need to watch out for the journalists too.

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