by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
reporting, restrictions, tweeting

university of washington

University Reprimands Reporter For Livetweeting Basketball Game

from the because-who-would-ever-want-to-watch-the-game-when-you-have-140-character-update dept

I'm always amazed at what people who run sports teams think will draw away people's interests. For years, sports teams have tried to make it more difficult for people to get information about sports other than by attending games lives directly. They've tried instituting blackouts (especially if games aren't sold out) for local TV, sued services that (accurately) report scores in realtime and many other things all of which seem to be based on the ridiculous belief that if people can get some info about a game from another source, they won't actually want to go see the game. This, to put it simply, seems really stupid, and shows little understanding of how sports and fans work. Sports fans love the sport and would like to see it live when they can, but when they can't, those alternatives offer a way to keep them connected and keep them interested.

This "can't give away too much" attitude has gone past just broadcasts of the game directly to the way that sports teams and leagues seek to control reporters and what and how they report. While they can't legally tell them what they can and can't do, they do have control over who they provide press passes to -- and then threaten to pull those passes if they disobey "the rules." These rules often seem focused on the same kind of "restrictions" in hopes of getting people to show up live, even if that's impossible.

Thankfully, these rules rarely seem to be enforced, but the University of Washington recently instituted a "Live Coverage Policy" for credentialed reporters that says they can only provide a maximum of 20 "in-game updates." A reporter for the Tacoma News Tribune, who was live tweeting a recent game, was reprimanded for going over his allotted 20 tweets and daring to go all the way up to 53. Not surprisingly, the reporter, Todd Dybas, then Tweeted about the reprimand:
It's not even a case where the policy is just outdated. Apparently the policy is brand new.
I'm amazed that someone (or some group of people) in charge here actually think that someone providing a bunch of live tweets will somehow take away from other forms of coverage available. However, if I'm the Tacoma News Tribune (or any other publication) the first thing I do is suck it up and send a reporter to buy a season pass so that they're not at the whims of some ridiculous policy, and let them cover the games however they want via Twitter. Either that, or (better yet), ask for volunteers already attending the game to be the designated live tweeter for the game.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Hey, no problem. Can't tweet about the game, not much since in buying a season ticket for that purpose is there?

    I used to follow a sports team fairly often. When it came down to those few rare games that weren't broadcast because it wasn't sold out so teed me off, I finally just gave up on keeping up with that team. Since I lived out of state, it wasn't like I was going to buy a ticket or a season pass.

    All I can say, is great moves there. As a result I no longer care about that team or the game and no longer even keep up with it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

    Wouldn't having everyone attending the game tweet with the same hashtag defeat the need to even have a reporter? There is an amazing crowdsource readily available at most games.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    It may not be that the UW thinks this will draw away interest, but their exclusive broadcast partners want some sort of guarantee of exclusivity, so they decided to draw the line on other "live coverage" at 40 tweets a game, or whatever.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:05pm

    I don't think there is that much interest in UW (Seattle) basketball in Tacoma. So just keep your sports reporter home for a few weeks, or add more coverage of PLU/UPS (both Tacoma local Div III) or Seattle U (newly returned to Div I). Competition works both ways.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:20pm


    Between that, and there always being some sort of "I cheated on my wife" scandal going on, I quit watching the local teams, period.

    Here, Blizzard. You may have my money.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Vic, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:25pm

    Oh yes, the new PAC-12. I liked the old PAC-10 better.

    Now, this season they sold all broadcast rights to the new PAC-12 Network. And, of course not every provider has contracts with them! So, thanks for nothing PAC, I now do not get ANY football or basketball games of the U of A. So, I guess, I'll be watching some east-coast basketball this season instead. Way to lose fans!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    out_of_the_blue, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:31pm

    All part of pretending it's "scarce", Mike.

    Apparently you're never going to catch on that most apparent insanity on this line has the over-arching goal of bringing MORE attention! They're not actually trying to stop live "tweeting", just to pretend that they are and thereby fabricate a "scarcity" out of sheer crap. -- For someone whose major "accomplishment" in life is naming of the "Streisand effect", you sure don't understand the implications of how it can be used both ways. You've simply bit on the bait...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 3:37pm


    I get all my sports information from Twitter. It's awesome to watch the ebb and flow of the game based on the number of cheers and sobs as fans tweet the game. I generally don't know the score, but I can tell who won by the number of attacks on teams by people who appear to be fans of said team.

    The sole exception is the local football team, which I get info on by hearing random cheering from nearby apartments on Sunday.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. icon
    vegetaman (profile), Nov 13th, 2012 @ 4:23pm


    Especially considering how terrible most sports reporting is.

    It's almost as bad as the "professional" video game reviewers...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Infowars, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 4:51pm

    Might just help people

    Pull their heads out of the sand and look around at whats going down these days.. Dam a bunch of men in tights groping on each other.. You want that? Go to the AIRPORT!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Loki, Nov 13th, 2012 @ 9:28pm

    They do have a point. If the reporter wouldn't have gone over his limited, he wouldn't have to be reprimanded, and then I wouldn't have to give the middle finger and stop watching sports run by self-righteous ignorant idiots.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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