MarketingVox reports that ESPN has signed a content sharing agreement with the Ohio State fan site, Bucknuts.
The deal will have ESPN providing player information, news and video to Bucknuts, while Bucknuts content will run on Ohio State-related ESPN pages. Bucknuts premium members will also gain reciprocity with ESPN and a magazine subscription. Evidently, this move is indicative of mainstream sports sites attempts to harness "online fan devotion."
Now I'm all for tapping into fan networks online, there are tons of rabid fan bases - Red Sox Nation for one - but why did ESPN have to go all scarlet and grey on us? While Buckeyes are always surprised to hear this (and that really shocks me), they are widely regarded as the worst behaved fans in the Big 10. Want some examples?
- I personally know middle aged fans, sitting in the Michigan alum
section at OSU games, who have been pelted with projectiles
- programs, beers, you name it.
- A friend of mine drove his car (with Michigan plates and a UM decal) down to an OSU game and left it in a parking lot during the game, when he returned the word's "Lloyd's Car" was were spray painted on the side.
- You can buy onesies and bibs for INFANTS that say "Fuck Michigan."
- UM officials sent a letter to students before last year's game in Columbus informing (among other things):
- Try carpooling to the game; if possible, drive a car with non- Michigan license plates.
- Keep your Michigan gear to a minimum, or wait until you are inside the stadium to display it.
- Stay with a group.
- Stay low-key; don't draw unnecessary attention to yourself.
- If verbally harassed by opposing fans, don't take the bait.
- Avoid High Street in Columbus.
- If at any time you feel unsafe, you should call 9-1-1 for assistance. U-M campus police also will be available in Columbus to support our fans.
No, that's not a US Travel Advisory, it's for people venturing to Ohio. (And to you skeptics, one blog commenter on The M Zone sums it up posting, "Seriously, it is that bad and it's not like that everywhere else.")
Anyway, I could go on forever, but I think you get my point. Congratulations ESPN! You wanted a rabid fan base, and you got the douche-iest one in the nation.