Media Moves

The making of a sports business reporter

September 30, 2013

Posted by Chris Roush

Steve Kandell of BuzzFeed profiles CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell, who is a lightning rod for criticism because of what he covers.

Kandell writes, “Darren Rovell, just shy of 400,000 followers strong, does not exist on Twitter alone — his return to ESPN after six years at CNBC includes filing reported stories regularly and shooting non-sports segments for ABC News — but it’s what he thinks about, and what people think about when they think about Darren Rovell. (Even his detractors would grant that he’s been instrumental in changing the nature of sports reporting.) He will regularly spend hours researching and crafting a single tweet; there are whole Tumblrs devoted to criticizing his online output. He compares what he does to VH1’s Pop-up Video, dropping salient, bite-sized business-related footnotes to events we’re watching as fans. The often angry reaction thereto speaks to the uneasy relationship between sports’ string-pullers and the fans they ostensibly serve, as well as to his own murky relationship to both. (His Twitter background, in case any of this is too subtle: stacks of cash.) He does not profess to be sticking up for the little guy, and yet he firmly considers what he does to be, above all, a public service.

“‘If people are going to dislike me for commodifying the sports experience, or the idea that I’ve taken the fun out of it, that’s ridiculous,’ he says. ‘If you’re a fan today and you don’t understand the business, then you’re a bad fan. You will lose at the watercooler every single time. What’s your owner’s capacity to spend? You don’t know the salary cap? Come on.’

“Rovell looks back down at his phone. ‘Hold on, it’s 7:14, this Vikings one is going to go out now, I want you to see this.’ He hits send and…winces. ‘It’s loading. Shit. I don’t know if I have a signal.’

“There is undeniable drama in the sight of almost-grown men, having prepared their whole lives for this very night, witnessing their natural abilities pinned to fluctuating price points, and Rovell is ready for these stories, in his own way.”

Read more here.

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