James Mirtle points to this story in the Washington Times about the Washington Capitals’ aggressive blogger relations program. The team has struggled on the ice, and that’s been reflected in poor attendance over the past few years (holy crap–you can see six games for as little as US $99). In the face of diminishing coverage from the mainstream media, they’ve been inviting bloggers into the press box:
“I was watching the traditional coverage, both broadcast and print, and was remarkably underwhelmed,” Keeley said of his decision to begin blogging last year. “The first thing I wrote was a general sense of being frustrated Ã¢â‚¬â€ well, really more than frustrated. Really angry. I started from this premise that Washington is not a sports town, but there’s nothing innate that says it can’t be. But the old media don’t do anything to change that perception. In fact, they perpetuate, in my opinion. So we started this blog, the idea that if you’re interested in hockey and want more coverage, come here.”
Capitals owner and AOL magnate Ted Leonsis is really drinking the Koolaid. He’s got his own blog, and posted a thoughtful response to the article yesterday:
Also, I do question some of the mainstream media and its programming choices and how it creates self-fulfilling prophecies in how it allocates its dwindling resources on some matters and ignores others. I also wonder – if you are programming one traditional way and you are shrinking, then why don’t you try something different? What do you have to lose as an enterprise if what you are doing today isn’t working? Embrace change. The NHL has and so have the Washington Capitals. Change is good.
Few CEOs blog, and fewer still would include an emoticon in their post. I’ll forgive him that idiosyncrasy, but I can’t forgive him for not accurately citing the Great One’s most famous quote (or, possibly, the Great One’s dad).
I hope the Caps get better. I saw them play Vancouver last year, and Alexander Ovechkin was an incredible joy to watch. He reminded me of a bigger Pavel Bure. Plus their new uniforms are definitely an improvement.