“Pay attention. There might be a lesson in here for today’s media companies.” That’s Business Insider’s advice on a story about ESPN’s aggressive negotiating tactics related to cable subscriber fees (the larger story is that those tactics allowed ESPN to stay afloat in the 80s and flourish in the 90s and last decade).
I love BI, but I have to contradict them on this one. My advice: Re-read their sentence with emphasis on the word might and add “but probably not” at the end.
Sports journalism and business reporting are completely different beats, and beasts, from other hard news ventures. As Kathy Gill said earlier today, “Hard news to sports is like broccoli (and) spinach to cotton candy, chips & beer.” Besides that, ESPN is buoyed by the fact that what they report on makes people money — just like business news (spoiler alert: I’m talking about gambling and the stock market).
People will always spend money to make money and as childish as it may sound, sports gambling (like fantasy football) is a legitimate, capital-I Industry.
Fortunately or unfortunately, making money off of the outcomes of hard news doesn’t really exist.