The Reuters global sports blog
Technology and the modern sports fan
In addition to the newsfeeds provided by established brands (@ReutersSport is a good one!) there are feeds directly from the major sports offices (@MLB,@NFL, @NBA). Then there are the athletes themselves, providing everything from perspective on current events to personalized fan interaction.
It seems that athletes have been embracing all sorts of new communication technologies over the last few years.
During the Beijing Olympics, swimmer Dara Torres and NBA star Carmelo Anthony used Skype to talk with family back home. Former MLB pitcher Curt Schilling and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban have helped bring sports blogging into the mainstream. And in the next evolutionary wave, many stars have embraced Twitter as a way to bring themselves closer to friends, family and fans.
We are given a front row seat to league announcements and rumor mill fodder. Athletes and celebrities alike have been given another venue for their exhibitionist personalities and many are embracing it, even while teams and organizations search for a way to curb and regulate its use.
Charlie Villanueva caused a stir last season by Twittering during NBA games.
Chad Ocho Cinco’s comments about potential updates during upcoming NFL games were soon followed by an NFL announcement addressing the subject. Per the NFL’s Brian McCarthy (via Twitter), “NFL players may use Twitter. Teams have rules re: not tweeting during meetings. We prohibit use of PDAs/phones on sidelines on gameday.”
Despite moments of conflict, there are examples of athletes using these new tools to connect with one another in a positive manner. The recent signing of Michael Vick with the Eagles was met with a flurry of Twitter chatter, including messages of celebration and encouragement from other players as noted in this Mashable article.
Today’s announcement of Brett Favre coming out of retirement to sign with the Vikings was welcomed by a similar reaction, quickly becoming one of the top trends on the site.
Like any technology, the responsibility ultimately rests with the person using it. While there are bound to be further incidents caused by outspoken athletes, as fans we have moved even closer into the flow of information. For those who want to know more than just the final scores, this is surely a large step forward.
PHOTO: Milwaukee Bucks forward Charlie Villanueva watches from the bench during the second half of their NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, March 25, 2009. REUTERS/Mike Cassese