In business we learn that capitalizing on trends means a future of healthy profits. In journalism we are taught the same thing, trends are what sell.
For the past few years there has been a couple of healthy trends in the hockey world; trade rumors and of course anything Canadian.
TSN, CBC or any of the major players in the hockey coverage world brought in their own ‘insiders’, they increased coverage on the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, or any other Canadian team. TSN the main to capitalize on these trends benefited the most; they grew exponentially over the past few years and now are one of the largest sports media outlets in the world.
Today I wanted to discuss the latest and most interesting trend that is starting to appear; it’s cool to hate on the Leafs.
The idea of an All-Star Fantasy Draft was a unique one. It was new and it added some hype to the event. A lot of writers will tell you it was overhyped by TSN, as is most important days in the hockey season.
But the thing that was ‘overhyped’ was the draft’s last pick. So much effort was put into “What is going to happen to the person picked last?!?!” It got to a point that when Toronto’s Phil Kessel was Mr. Irrelevant, the fans immediately had a field day, laughing hysterically at the misfortune. Following suit, the folks over at TSN began analyzing the fact the Brian Burke’s star acquisition was considered the worst of all the all-stars.
The fact remains, Kessel was an all-star. Not to mention the fact that every player picked before him save a few were picked because they were ‘buds’ with the captain. To quote the line said before every pick “This next pick, he’s my boy _______(enter players name).” That line became a cliché by draft’s end.
The reason why Kessel was ostracized and the fact that he was the last pick was emphasized was simply because of the newest trend emerging in the media business world is: fans love to hate the Leafs. Write an article about how the Leafs lost the last seven out of their twelve contests see how many more views it gets than saying the Leafs won the last seven out of twelve.
Secondly, and lastly I’d like to mention the NHL player polls. To state for the record, I love the player polls. It gives the average fan a chance to see what the players think about common questions fans answer on a day to day basis. As a result of this poll, Leafs coach Ron Wilson, was voted the coach whom the players would least want to play for.
It’s not the biggest deal, however. Players who don’t want to play for him could mean so much more than “Wilson is a bad coach.” Maybe players don’t want to play for him because he demands a lot out of his team or because he coaches a team with a losing record.
But, lo and behold articles after articles hit the web, especially out of the main media outlets, about how players thought Wilson is terrible, and the worst coach in the league. Proving yet again, the media is starting to capitalize on the Leafs hate trend.
What does this all mean? Absolutely nothing. I decided today to try and enlighten a few fans on subjects they don’t normally think about. Maybe it’ll even deter a few people from watching TSN for more than just the games. Personally I don’t care. I simply just don’t like media outlets blowing stories out of the water for the purpose of a reader increase. I instead like to call them out for it. Believe me or not, look at the evidence and judge for yourself.
Demand more out of your media. Demand hard hitting articles that truly capture your interest like they use to.
Writer for The Reed Review, The Checking Line, Hockey Independent and Inside Hockey