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Blogger Access

from Sports Business Journal (paid sub.),
Ted Leonsis, owner of the Washington Capitals, discovered offwingopinion.com, a hockey Web log, while searching for information on his team last November. He was so impressed with the writer’s hockey knowledge that he invited him to a game two days later. NHL policy denies independent bloggers — people who write Web logs — media credentials providing access to the locker room, pressroom and other areas, but Leonsis’ invitation gave the offwingopinion.com writer access to the owner’s suite and the owner himself. In other words, more access than any other blogger leaguewide could hope for, and enough to turn the heads of some traditional media stalwarts. That visit became the subject of a Web log on offwingopinion.com, and it highlighted what Leonsis believes will be the next way for teams to use the ever-expanding world of new media. “Traditional media is being marginalized with shrinking circulation and tough ad-sales climates at the same time blogs are growing in importance and reach,” Leonsis said. “It makes good business sense to welcome in new media.” ...While not every team or league has been as progressive as Leonsis when it comes to acknowledging bloggers, organizations are increasingly recognizing their importance and drafting policies to address requests for press credentials from bloggers. ...To date, bloggers have not ambitiously pursued credentials. In the last five years, the NHL has received two annual credential requests from bloggers for the Stanley Cup Finals. ...Others see access as advantageous. Tyler Bleszinski, who runs athleticsnation.com, said the number of visitors to his site skyrocketed after he did a one-on-one interview with Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane. Today, Bleszinski gets close to 10,000 visitors a day, according to Alexa, which monitors Web traffic. “I thank my lucky stars that I follow a team as aggressive and intelligent and willing to think outside the box as they are,” said Bleszinski, who still doesn’t receive credentials for games based on the MLB policy. “I wouldn’t be in the position I am otherwise.” Bleszinski acknowledges the challenge of granting bloggers’ requests. “It’s a lot of work for PR people to go online and see which blogs are being fair and not just doing a rip job,” he said.
added 1:17pm, Eric at Off Wing Opinion has more on this...

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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