Sports Organizations Slow to Trust Bloggers

It seems that Baseball did not get the memo about the power of online influencers:

A recent study of 127 Baseball teams found that although many independent bloggers, such as MLBTradeRumors.com and Yahoo! Sports, have upward of two million pages views daily and represent some of the Internet’s heaviest traffic, they rank far behind traditional media on trust and are the most likely group to be rejected (29 percent) for a press pass vs. traditional media (8 percent). Bloggers affiliated with established media outlets, such as the LA Times Sport blog and EPSN.com, earned less trust than traditional media outlets, but significantly more trust than independent bloggers, who were at the bottom of that scale.

“This study speaks to the many cracks in the sports and media relationship that are being revealed with the rise of web-based communication networks,” said Mike Cramer, executive director of the Texas Program in Sports and Media at The University of Texas at Austin, which funded the study. There is a perception that independent bloggers are mere fans who don’t need a press pass to do their job.

“Independent bloggers wanting more access to teams need to continue to advance their credibility through trust and by moving themselves out of the fan category and into the social media arena,” said Avery Holton, a doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin, surveyed 127 professional baseball teams from every organizational level to measure their “trust” in various media and how they responded to requests for press passes. “Bloggers may be able to achieve this by delivering original, newsworthy content, beefing up their site to reflect the most current in digital media, tracking and reporting increases in their daily site traffic and interacting with baseball front offices on Facebook and Twitter.” Holton has worked as a sports journalist and as a communication director for a Triple A baseball team.

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