Filed: Monday, 10th September 2012
By: Craig Wood
We live in a time where sports news is constantly available. We are no longer limited to a short round-up at the end of the news and dedicated sports channels now provide round the clock coverage of news from a huge variety of sports.
Sky Sports News has even become the default channel in countless households throughout the country. This provides the viewers with a plethora of information on everything from the latest scores, transfer gossip and injury news, to live footage from press conferences and highlights from the latest round of fixtures.
However, this also provides hours of unfilled airtime and there is an increasing pressure on journalists to provide a constant stream of breaking news. Because of this, we are seeing an increasing use of social media in news reports.
While Twitter can provide newsworthy quotes, it feels like the journalists are simply attempting to show us that a news story they have broken is continuing to develop when in reality there has been little or no progress. Transfer deadline day is a great example of this.
While there were early rumours of Yossi Benayoun’s transfer from Chelsea to West Ham or Liverpool, there had been no new developments for some time. The nature of transfer deadline day, and Sky Sports News’ desire to provide breaking news even when there is none, resulted in the following tweet being reported as breaking news.
Although this shows that the story is not dead, and a direct quote from Yossi Benayoun is more newsworthy than one from “Sky Sources”, it provides no new information and is so ambiguous that it surely cannot be seen as an advance in transfer proceedings.
By cluttering up the broadcast with items like this, Sky Sports News are making it increasingly difficult for the viewers to differentiate between valid news stories and the rumours and hearsay that can be found on virtually every transfer rumour website. The news channel should also be questioning the motives of the people who are sending out the tweets as well.
Taken literally, “Things are getting very interesting” means nothing. The player is implying that a transfer away from Chelsea is on the cards but the mysterious style of the message is clearly designed to incite a reaction. By sending out this tweet, Yossi Benayoun (or his agent) is sending a message out to potential suitors that they will miss out on the player if they do not make a move for him soon.
While simply sending this tweet will not necessarily alert clubs to his availability, having it reported on a widely viewed sports news channel will.
The use of twitter as a means of fulfilling a personal agenda in football is not limited to the footballers. West Ham owners David Gold and David Sullivan both use the social media site (Sullivan through his son Jack). In general, David Gold sticks to answering questions about player injuries and ticket sales and Jack Sullivan is left to inform fans of potential transfers.
West Ham fans will be familiar with being told by Jack Sullivan on twitter of a big name signing later in the week only for nothing to materialise. Why do the owners of a football club think it is wise to reveal a potential transfer target before the deal is completed and risk deterring the player because the story has been leaked , ultimately ending up looking foolish if the deal does not come off?
Gold and Sullivan will argue that they want the fans to know about deals as soon as possible but there are clear ulterior motives. As shrewd business men, the owners want to get the most out of every deal, whether directly or indirectly. Directly through reducing transfer fees or wages of an incoming player and indirectly through shirt sales and an increase in ticket sales from fans who want to see the new player.
While announcing that West Ham will sign a big name player just before the start of the season, at the same time as being linked with the signing of Andy Carroll in the national press, is likely to have a positive effect in the form of season ticket sales, as long as the fans believe that the player is likely to sign. This means that the club can receive benefits of the transfer before it happens and even if it is not completed. David Sullivan does not even have to take the blame for sending out the tweet as he has delegated that duty to his son.
As long as the players and owners have something to gain from using twitter, we will continue to read about things getting very interesting.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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