« More articles in 1   |   Go Home

I’m a big fan of SB Nation, as I’ve said time and time again. Off the top of my head, I probably have around eight or nine SBN blogs in my Google Reader, and I read most of them religiously. I’m also on record as saying ESPN should try to buy them, which I’ve had thrown back in my face recently now that ESPN is spending a lot of money on its local sites in Chicago, Boston, Dallas, L.A., New York, and who knows how many others down the road.

This is obviously a huge threat to SB Nation, considering that their primary value right now is their local analysis (they’ve started angling more toward national coverage, particularly with their new homepage design, but that is a massive uphill climb, and I’m not sure they’ll ever really win with that). But ESPN’s new local focus may also be the greatest opportunity they’ll ever have.

Here’s the difference between ESPN and SB Nation: one is a “professional” site, with professional journalists and fact-checkers who are paid full-time salaries to do what they do. The other gets its content from part-time bloggers, most of whom make a couple hundred bucks a month or less, and do it because they’re extraordinarily passionate about their teams (or other subjects, in the case of BtB or Driveline). The content you get on Posting and Toasting is very different than anything you’ll ever see on ESPN New York, and to be honest, I prefer P&T to any “professional” analysis of the Knicks.

So while their goals might be the same, I still think they can be complementary. If I were running SBN, I’d be looking to create the same kind of distribution deals with ESPN’s local sites as they already have with Yahoo, USA Today, and others. ESPN might not be totally cool with users leaving their sites to go to SBN’s, but that’s just the thing: if people do prefer SBN content, then it’s a natural buy for ESPN anyway, and what better place to test it than ESPN’s own properties?

The other question is, will ESPN be comfortable with non-”professional” bloggers? I really don’t know the answer to that, but at some point in the future, they’ll have to be, especially if the sub-fee-gravy-train ever gets derailed.

In the end, SBN’s blogs have differentiated, high quality content, along with incredibly engaged user bases. If ESPN is smart, they’ll see the value in that, and start making the appropriate inquiries.

Feedback? Write a comment, or e-mail the author at shawn(AT)squawkingbaseball.com

No Existing Comments

Add New Comment

Pittsburgh Florist