Tuesday, September 30, 2008

New York Yankees Media Relations: "We don't care about blogs"

This will come as little surprise to anyone, but the New York Yankees media relations department is far too important to be bothered by these new-fangled webblogs that all of the kiddies are talking about these days.

With the offseason upon us, I decided to take a proactive approach for story ideas to post on the blog. My genius idea was to call the media relations office of the New York Yankees, explain that I have a Yankees blog and see if I could get some questions answered.

Before I go any further, let me state that I work in public relations for a brand within a Fortune 500 company. That is about as much personal information as I will divulge. Currently "blogger outreach" is a HUGE part of the company's strategic goals going forward. Of course, I don't work for a sports franchise, but a consumer goods company, so I can see how the Yankees wouldn't have the same enthusiastic approach with bloggers. However, I never thought I would be met with the cold response that an unnamed member of the Yankees media relations staff provided.

The phone conversation

Me: "Hello, I calling to ask a couple of questions. First, is there any information about the Yankee Stadium closing ceremony on November 9th

Male Yankee Stadium media relations employee [cuts me off]: No, we have not released any information on that yet.

Me: "When this news is released, will the information be found at the press release section of Yankees.com"

Male Yankee Stadium media relations employee: yes

Me: "I have another question - when will Yankee Stadium tours start in the new Yankee Stadium - has that information been released yet.

Male Yankee Stadium media relations employee: no

Me: "I'm sorry if I'm bothering you, I own and operate a mid-size Yankees blog. I wouldn't say I am at the top line of the Yankee blogs out there, but I would consider my site up and coming. Am I wasting my time calling the Yankees media relations office for information? Do the Yankees have any interest in communicating with the blogosphere?

Male Yankee Stadium media relations employee: I don't want to say you are wasting your time, but the Yankees don't talk to blogs. We are never going to give you any information that is not readily available.

Me: "Ok, I had gathered as much. I work in public relations for a company with a completely different outlook on bloggers, so I thought I would reach out to you guys.

Male Yankee Stadium media relations employee: Yea, we are never going to have that approach.

Me: "Thanks for your time, goodbye.

(The above is all paraphrasing the actual conversation)

I don't know what I was thinking calling up the Yankees for firsthand information. God forbid someone other than the mainstream media writes and reports on the team. I have no interest in actively pursuing offseason stories, but the two items I called about pertain to Yankee Stadium. From analyzing the web traffic that NYYSI receives, it appears that many people find this site when looking for an answer to a Yankee Stadium question. For most of these google searches, this site indexes higher than Yankees.com for their answer. It behooves the Yankees to ensure that I have up to date and accurate information.

Sadly, as soon as I said the word "blog" I was looked upon as a mere fan, instead of the purveyor of information that this website has become.

It seems that my passion and loyalty are only appreciated when I am forking down thousands of dollars on season tickets.

Are all sports franchises this rigid toward bloggers, or is it just because the Yankees perceive the franchise to be at the top of the Sports World?

Talk about it in the NYYSI Forums!


The Word said...

As someone who has worked in a major D-1 college athletic communication office, I can say that our office could care less about bloggers.

Anyone can blog. Sports teams have massive followings in terms of fans and media. A blog will not do anything for a team.

When you look at the consumer products industry there is far less loyalty. Thus every perception matters.

What your blog or any other blog writes does not matter to a sports team.

Ross said...

I completely agree with what you are saying. However, I don't think that the Tampa Bay Rays or the Royals media relations office would have the same attitude toward "their" bloggers.

As you can tell from the tone of my post, I was hardly surprised. What did surprise me was the utter lack of civility or diplomacy. The media relations office could have said "we don't currently service blogs, but be sure to check out Yankees.com for the most up to date press releases". Or, they could have said "we're happy you are passionate about the team, but we don't currently have the staff to accommodate blog requests". Instead of being rude, short and dismissive, the Yankees media relations could have done something right. Too bad they didn't.

Bernadette said...

Ross, that's sad but, as you intimated, not surprising.

I know of a woman who blogs about the Washington Nationals and, the Nats have been very good to her; she's even gotten press credentials at various times. I also read an interview that a Rays blogger did with BJ Upton.

Unfortunately, we're not fans of a small-market team, so it just might be a cool day in Hell before we can have any kind of access to the Yankees.

Vini S. Cooper said...

I can divulge some personal information about the author of this blog!

Good stuff, Ross. As a journalism teacher, I have to say that I'm happy the yanks media relations department wouldn't give you the time of day. Think about it, your company needs to sell products. Yes, the yanks have to sell a product, too, but the newspapers do a good job of it already. So does T.V., radio, and now you, the web. Guess what? You'll continue to do what you do with NO help from them. They win, no?

Not sure where I stand yet on the validity of blogs. I'm all for shared inquiry and the construction of knowledge/perception/truth. To think that the media gives us the unadulterated "truth" is both naive and silly. Are there blogs out there worth a look? I'm reading one right now... Will it eventually change, making these sites more viable/reputable/helpful? I think so.


We are all going to be much more connected sooner rather than later. So will the yanks ever care about blogs? Eventually.

ross said...

Marc -

I completely see what you are saying and you make a valid points. However, it is in the interest of the Yankees to make sure that I am disseminating information that is accurate.

If you search in google for most topics relating to Yankee Stadium, this blog is among the highest ranked entries. When people are searching for information about Yankee Stadium, they often land here.

Wouldn't it make sense for the Yankees to establish some sort of relationship with me? I'm not asking them for press credentials, I was merely inquiring about a topic specific to the genre that my blog falls in.

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