In this edition of Sports Content Marketing News, we’ll cover the top trends in sports writing, top sites, and top stories to familiarize yourself with so that better decisions can be made when it’s time to hire sports writers.
Sports writing has changed so drastically within the past two decades, largely due to the onset of the Internet and the mainstream use of social media networks, like Twitter and Facebook.
These days, it’s easier than ever for sports fans to get the score. They can get it in real-time and don’t have to wait until the TV airs the news or until the paper is delivered the next day.
Top Trends in Sports Writing
What’s new with sports writing?
Not too long ago, all a good sports writer needed to do was report the score of a game and talk about what happened during the game. In a 24/7 news cycle where social media is ever-present, it’s easier than ever for sports fans to learn the game scores of the teams that they follow. Therefore, one of the most important sports writing insights today is to go beyond the score.
Here’s a look at some sports writing tips that aspiring sports writers should follow to separate themselves from the rest of the pack:
- Go in-depth with features. One thing that sports fans cannot get from a box score is an in-depth feature on a coach, team, or player. What’s more is that these in-depth features permit a sports writer to show off their creative chops and tell a story that will likely not be told by any other sports writer out there. The challenge becomes having the right working relationship with a coach, team, or player so they will open up about a particular story or issue. One of the problems with mainstream media outlets these days is that they all cover the teams in their area in essentially the same ways. Good sports writers should search for a way to be the exception, not the norm.
- Be edgy and witty. There’s a reason why Deadspin.com and various sports blogs have become so popular on the Internet–they write with a style that’s edgy, witty, and sometimes controversial. Unlike credentialed sports media, sports bloggers and writers at Deadspin don’t have access to teams or players, so they don’t have to worry about restricted or pulled credentials if they write on a topic that a team might not like. Some of the best pieces on Deadspin are the annual “Why Your Team Sucks” series, which covers all of the NFL teams prior to the regular season kickoff. Readers like content with a little edge that they cannot get anywhere else.
- Break news. At times, good sports writing isn’t so much about what you know, but who you know. For instance, a reporter like Adam Schefter seems to always break NFL news first because of all the sources he has amassed in the industry. Being the first to report news–as long as it’s accurate–is an instant credibility boost, especially when competing outlets and writers have to quote the individual who broke the news.
Top Trending Stories
One of the great things about sports writing is that no day is the same. Yes, there are practices, games, and press conferences to cover, but there’s also a variety of “big picture” stories that good sports journalists will approach with their own insightful takes.
The big story in the NFL right now is whether or not it’s right for players and teams to kneel during the national anthem, and there’s been some great think-piece writing that’s come out of the situation. But there are lot of other trending stories that good sports writers should have their finger on the pulse of, such as:
- CTE. The neurodegenerative disease, characterized as a brain injury that results from repeated injury to the head, has been linked to football for years. As research and information continues to pour in about the severity of CTE, more and more NFL players are retiring early, and college players are opting out of playing at the next level. CTE recently came back into the discussion when former Patriot Aaron Hernandez was posthumously diagnosed with it.
- FBI raids on college hoops. The world of college basketball was recently rocked when an FBI investigation revealed the corruption of the college basketball recruiting process. The unethical behavior of coaches bribing players and paying them has been long rumored, and the FBI investigation confirmed it. It’s a safe bet that we haven’t heard the end of this story just yet.
- Analytics. Sports are becoming smarter. More and more teams are adding analytic experts to their staff as a means of gaining a competitive advantage over the opposition and identifying areas of the game to improve in.
Top Sources for Sports Writers
Because sports writing varies so much, the sources that a writer uses will likely vary too. For instance, if you need to look up stats of an NHL player’s performance during the 2014-15 season, simply entering the player’s name in the search bar of www.hockeydb.com will give you everything you want to know.
Here are some other websites we love:
- FanGraphs. A great site for learning and understanding baseball statistical analysis.
- CapFriendly. This site is dedicated to reporting on NHL player contracts and salary cap situations for each NHL club.
- Pro Football Focus. A site dedicated to NFL player rankings and advanced stats.
- Basketball-reference.com. This site is dedicated to history and yearly stats of basketball players.
- League websites. Sports writers will also be able to discover valuable content on league-owned websites, such as NHL.com, NBA.com, MLB.com, NFL.com, and more.
About the author
In a career spanning more than 15 years, Scott C has experience writing for a variety of mediums. He started in sports writing, which is still his favorite type of writing, and then moved on to hard news and feature writing while working for a community newspaper. He also has experience in technical and automotive topics and has an ability to take complex subjects and write them in a way that is understandable and engaging.