Tag Archives: sports

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Serena Williams vs. Sexism

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If you watched the Super Bowl this year, you most likely saw the colorful commercial featuring Serena Williams which charged women to “make the first move” on the popular dating app, Bumble. This commercial came out on the heels of Williams’ controversial U.S. Open loss to Naomi Osaka. After the match, Williams addressed the gender-bias that is prevalent in women’s athletics, especially regarding powerful emotions and clothing regulations, but she didn’t let her influence stop with that one interview.

Since then, Serena Williams has been featured in two different commercials to highlight sexism in the sports sphere. Williams’ Bumble commercial features clips of her own journey from childhood, to her successful career today, not only in tennis but in her activism efforts and professional endorsements as well. In the Bumble ad, Williams empowers women to take control of every aspect of their lives, whether it be their love lives, their careers, or just life in general. As Williams states at the end of the commercial, “Don’t wait to be given power– because here’s what they won’t tell you, we already have it.” With the debut of this commercial, Bumble also announced that Serena Williams has joined their team as a Global Advisor to promote equality amongst the sexes and influence women across the world to own their power.

Following the announcement of her partnership with Bumble, Williams has also joined forces with Nike as the voice of their new “Dream Crazier” campaign. In the commercial that was released this week, Williams’ voice-over challenges gender stereotypes in athletics while clips of female athletes crying, shouting, or arguing play on the screen. She throws down the gauntlet against gender-bias by saying, “If we show emotion, we’re called dramatic. If we want to play against men, we’re nuts. And if we dream of equal opportunity, delusional. When we stand for something, we’re unhinged. When we’re too good, there’s something wrong with us. And if we get angry, we’re hysterical, irrational, or just being crazy.” All of these statements acknowledge how people describe male athletes breaking down barriers, in contrast with the negatively-charged rhetoric that is often used to describe female athletes doing the exact same thing. Toward the end of the commercial, Williams highlights the accomplishments of professional female athletes such as Simone Biles, Ibtihaj Muhammad, Chloe Kim, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, and even accomplishments from her own professional tennis career. Like the Bumble commercial, Williams makes a powerful statement at the end by saying, “If they want to call you crazy, fine. Show them what crazy can do.”


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Be a Free Hiker

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What’s the outfit that comes to mind when you think of a hiker? I personally think of a flannel, a pair of cargo pants and some ugly, clunky boots. A lot of people have the same train of thought as I do when it comes to the stereotypical hiker, but Adidas is looking to change our perceptions and get more people involved in the activity. Hiking is an often-overlooked sport for the main reason that the equipment needed is so impractical and doesn’t have any use in any other aspect of a person’s life. While basketball shoes and shorts are an everyday outfit for some guys.

This past Friday, they unveiled their new shoe, the “Terrex Free Hiker” boot, which they claim to be both fashionable, comfortable, and practical for the average hike as well as for just running some errands. They were envisioning a shoe that can be both worn on the streets of Soho, in the Grand Tetons, or where ever the consumer may choose to wear them.

They dubbed the marketing campaign for this new shoe “Escape the Noise,” noting that while their main goal is to sell the shoe, they also want to promote hiking itself and remind people to take time out of their busy schedules to relax and unwind in nature.  You don’t have to go on some elaborate trip and spend 6 months in the wilderness just to go hiking, you can go hiking in Ben Burton park right here in Athens. Adidas wants to be the shoe that people turn to when they want to escape the noise, even if just for 30 minutes or so and with the Terrex Free Hiker, you can take a hike on your lunch break, without having to change into some unsightly boots in order to do so.


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UGA Hosted the 2019 Swim & Dive SEC Championships

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For those of you who were trying to workout at Ramsey this past week, you may have noticed that the parking deck was a lot more filled than usual.  That’s because UGA hosted the 2019 Swimming & Diving SEC Championships this past Tuesday to Saturday.  Fans from all over the SEC schools came over to cheer on their beloved swimmers.  These fans mostly consisted of families.  Nevertheless, the crowd was still electric.

              I had the opportunity to be a part of the action by timing the races and recording scores for diving for most of the sessions.  Some notable performances were done by UGA swimmers and divers.  McKensi Austin made it to the finals in women’s 3 meter diving.  Courtney Harnish received first place for the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:35.52 and third place in 200 freestyle at 1:43.53.  Javier Acevedo came in third in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 1:43.29.  Camden Murphy made school history by setting a new record in the 100 butterfly at 45.26 coming in third place, and he came in first place in the 200 butterfly at 1:40.62.  Olivia Carter also received first place in 200 butterfly with a time of 1:53.23.  Veronica Burchill came in third in the 100 freestyle at 47.30.  Finally, James Guest came in second place in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 1:53.11.  Many of UGA’s swimmers improved by achieving career best times at this meet.  The women scored 883.5 points, and the men scored 862.5 points.  This placed both teams at 5th place overall in the meet.  The men’s SEC Champion is the University of Florida.  The women’s SEC Champion is Texas A&M.

Senior James Guest swimming in the 100 yard breaststroke (photo from the Red & Black)

              This meet was intense.  SEC records were broken.  Coaches were jumping up and down cheering on their athletes.  Parents came in with signs and shakers.  Even Caeleb Dressel made an appearance wearing an alligator costume.  Why does it all matter?  Well, these are students at UGA who worked harder than we could ever imagine just to beat the clock.  They take swimming to a whole new level.  They bring pride and glory to the university while maintaining their academics. 

              If you have never been to a swim meet before, I encourage you to do so.  Swimmers and divers take athleticism to another level.  They can achieve things that the average person can only imagine in their greatest fantasy.  Watching the fiery energy of swimming and the elegance of diving can put a new meaning of sports and athleticism in your head.

              If you missed this amazing meet this past week, don’t worry!  UGA will host a last chance meet March 2-3 to tie it up for the season and prepare for the NCAA championships.  Oh, and speaking of that, UGA will host the NCAA swimming and diving championships in 2020, so I would start marking your calendars now to prepare for a historical meet!


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Around UGA: Men’s lacrosse

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The University of Georgia Men’s club lacrosse team kicks off their season at home against NC State on Friday, February 8that 7:30pm at the club sports complex. The team is coming off of an 8-6 record in 2018, ending their season on a first round loss in the SELC tournament to Virginia Tech. The bulldogs are looking to avenge themselves this season, as they have their eyes on an SELC championship and an opportunity to compete for an MCLA championship in Utah. The team is expected by most to be successful this year, as they come into the preseason MCLA polls at #15 nationally. The bulldogs have a very rigorous schedule this year, playing 5 teams that are currently ranked in the MCLA preseason top 25 rankings. 

The roster looks drastically different than it did in 2018, as the bulldogs had a big senior class. With the loss of key players to graduation last year, the bulldogs will rely on leadership from team captains Tristan Otto, Trent Bruno, Austin Eiseman, Diego Medina, and Jack Barton. On the offensive side of the ball things will run through junior attackmen Jack Ryan, who will rely division I transfers Shawn Finnerty and Cade Klawinski to help him put up big numbers. With senior Cash Carlson out for the season due to a torn ACL, Austin Eiseman and Trent Bruno will need to step up big to get stops on defense for the bulldogs and lead the new-look defense. 


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Transformation Tuesday- Crean Style

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Nov 30, 2016; Bloomington, IN, USA; Indiana Hoosiers coach Tom Crean coaches on the sidelines against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Assembly Hall. Indiana defeats North Carolina 76-67. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

There are two things people associate The University of Georgia with, rigorous academic programs and football, definitely not basketball. Our basketball program has been at the bottom of the basketball rankings for years. As a matter of fact, only ten out of the one hundred fourteen seasons we have had, has our team been in the top ten of the conference. You could say our basketball program could use some revamping and fresh eyes, and I personally believe the right person for that is Coach Tom Crean.

My first sighting of Coach Crean was at the TBT Basketball Tournament 2018 held at Georgia State. You might be thinking why a twenty-one year old female would be at such a thing, two words: my boyfriend. He is obsessed with all things sports and knows the latest news on it all, so of course he was the one that spotted Coach Crean and his family sitting across the court from us. Once he pointed out the Crean family to me and reminded me of who they were, because the last thing I would remember was the name of new the basketball coach, I began to watch Coach and see how he interacted with others around him, especially the players he had coached in years’ pass. The first thing I thought was “Man, these old players love him and his family. As a matter of fact, they all look at each other like they are family,” and from that point I had a feeling Coach Crean was going to do big things at UGA.

The second encounter I had with Coach Crean, which was when my admiration for him truly began, was when he was the surprise guest for my management class and wow, does this man have some energy. Coach Crean came half skipping, half running down the stairs with a board, wrapped in a garbage bag, in his hands and I could feel the energy from across the room he was reflecting and I knew this guy was on a mission. He basically used the fundamentals he requires the men on his team to have and related it back to business management and being a leader. His whole speech, or lecture, whatever you may want to call it was full of energy and passion and maybe I was supposed to get something else out of it all, however the main thing I got out of the whole lecture was, this guy is going to change this basketball program in ways no one sees coming.

Since those first two encounters, I have seen Coach Crean a handful of times and two of them stand out to me the most. The third time I saw Coach Crean he was in the middle of the Tate Center and the Bookstore with a table set up for UGA Basketball to promote Stegmania and was interacting with any student that would pass by and give him the time of day. Now to me, this meant more than anything because what are the odds of the head coach of one of our sport teams taking time out of their busy day to simply interact with any student he had the opportunity to? I would say the odds are slim to none simply because I have never seen another coach do it. Coach Crean doing this, yeah it may have been a marketing tactic to get people to come out to Stegmania, but to me it showed he actually cared about the student body as a whole enough to take time out of his day to come interact with us. He could have sent anyone in his place but instead he came and took the initiative himself to include the whole student body on this ride.

The next encounter was at Stegmania. Again, my boyfriend loves sports so of course we had to be a part of this event. Coach Crean, yet again, was full of energy the entire event and I could tell his energy reflected the players’ energies, an energy I feel UGA Basketball has lacked in the last few years. Not only was he full of energy you could tell he was already passionate about UGA and the basketball team, it was like he had been a part of the program for years. The event was a huge success and I think it reflected what this upcoming season has been so far, full of energy and hope for the future of our basketball program.

This season, thus far, hasn’t been the worst nor the best, but I have a feeling this basketball program is under serious transformation and one day our UGA program will be one to be feared. The support from just students has changed tremendously in a few short months, and I believe it is mostly do to the new energy the team and everyone involved with the team has been giving off. Is Coach Crean just what this program needed? I would personally say yes. This man is someone that is going to change this program for the better, and I can’t wait to watch first hand. Trust me when I say, Tom Crean and UGA basketball program are something to keep an eye on.


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Is the NBA going twitter crazy?

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Out of the four major sports, there is no debate that the National Basketball Association is dominating the social media sphere. Every night, players hit the internet and comment about everything that has transpired in their games. One of the most profound twitter users in the NBA is Joel Embiid, star center for the Philadelphia 76ers. Embiid is known for commenting on other players as well as other celebrities, most famously with Rihanna.

The active use of social media among NBA players is not just for fun in the eyes of the NBA. The NBA views this usage as a marketing strategy. This league is a player-driven league instead of a team-driven league. People know the NBA for players like Lebron James, James Harden, Steph Curry, and so on. Casual fans rarely pay attention to watch certain teams. Comparatively, looking at the NFL or MLB, fans are brought in with their devotion to specific teams.

With this player-driven and social media strategy, the NBA is available to be present on a platform that is used by millions and millions of people on a daily basis. They are able to be present even when games are not happening, especially during the offseason. Sometimes, the NBA offseason is more entertaining to fans because of the drama and the way that other player chime in. Back to Joel Embiid, it gave his pitch on twitter to try in bring Lebron to Philadelphia this past summer.

As you can see, the NBA wants their players to use twitter, obviously with discretion. By the players interacting with fans constantly and consistently being present, the NBA has been able to stay relevant and arguably surpassing the popularity of leagues like the NFL and MLB.


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The Dissolution of Traditional Sports Media

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I’m no old-timer, but I know that even in my short 21 years on this earth that something has been changing right before my eyes.

As an elementary and middle schooler, I had a before school ritual. I would shower, then walk downstairs and eat while I watched Sportscenter for as long as time allowed. This morning show, often hosted by my favorite anchors Stan Verrett and Neil Everett, was my primary source of information regarding the sports world– and I simply couldn’t get enough of it. The hour long, looped program was some of the most fun I ever had as a sports consumer. It was fast paced, funny, and more importantly, was highlight heavy.

As I got older, however, I didn’t have the luxury of quite so much time in the mornings, or even in the afternoon. I no longer had an interrupted hour to sit down and watch Sportscenter, so I needed my fix somewhere else. The ESPN app bridged this gap some (it is the #1 sports app, after all), however, it never really did it for me. Instead, the emergence of Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat as a daily routine took the grips of my sports media intake.

It was an organic transition for me, as it likely has been for many users. I’m a frequent user of social media, so it only makes sense to get my highlights and updates through my primary social news source, doesn’t it?

As this has taken my life by storm, and I follow tens of sports teams and sports news sources on each platform, I feel like I have also watched the television programming take a shift. While mobile media excels in short clips, highlights, and news flash updates, TV has seemed to adjust. While it is not absent of such things, it has become a conversational platform, especially for programs like ESPN. With longer time periods allotted, and generally drawing users with a few more minutes to blow, talk shows such as First Take and the Scott Van Pelt Show have rocketed into the spotlight. More time to discuss controversial topics and delve deeper into things has given TV the ability to stay relevant in an age where it has lost its ability to dominate the highlight sector of sports.

This is not a bad shift by any means– I’m not here to complain. It is different, however, turning on the TV and getting a heavy dosage of talking mid-day on a sports station rather than watching sport itself. The sports world is adapting to the changes in mobile media, and whether we like it or not, that is probably going to mean less highlights on TV, more on our phones, and a lot more talking from Stephen A Smith on Sportscenter for the foreseeable future.


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Social Media is Killing Televised Sports News

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Since its inception in 1979, ESPN has been the self-proclaimed “Worldwide Leader in Sports.” For the first 30 years of ESPN’s life, I would say that statement would be true. However, recently ESPN has started to lose some of its power in the sporting world. In 2017, Business Insider reported that ESPN has lost nearly 13 million subscribers since 2011. That number is still declining today. Many people attest this decline in viewership to ESPN focusing less on actual sports and focusing more on politics and pop culture. While I certainly believe that this shift in focus is having an impact on the decline, I do not believe it tells the full story. Social Media platforms are becoming a better platform to for viewers to obtain the sports information they want. People are moving away from broadcast television and replacing it with the information they receive and the time they spend on social media.

First of all, sports consumers can pick and choose the exact sports information they want to receive on social media in a much more streamlined manner than broadcast television. Let’s say you are not a die-hard sports fan, but you really enjoy keeping up with the Atlanta sports teams that you grew up watching. In the past, to get information on those Atlanta sports teams, you would turn on your TV, go to the ESPN channel, and watch an hour of SportsCenter just to get maybe 2-3 minutes of coverage on the sports team you care about, if you are lucky. For you, watching SportsCenter is a very inefficient use of your time. However, in today’s world, you can log on to Twitter, follow all of your favorite teams Twitter pages, and read the latest article, watch the newest highlight, and catch up with your favorite player in probably no more than 10 minutes. This is a completely personalized and extremely efficient way for a consumer to get the exact information that they want, with none of the fluff they do not care about.

 

Furthermore, it turns out that people love to talk about sports with other and Social Media is the best way to do it. This is actually not a new phenomenon. A big portion of the experience of sports viewership has always been the social aspect of discussing the big games and latest stories with others. Social Media has only increased the magnitude this discussion. Let’s use Lebron James recent transfer to the Los Angeles Lakers as an example. Even if you are someone who follows no sports accounts whatsoever, I can almost guarantee that for a two-week period you probably saw a lot of people talking which NBA team Lebron was going to go to next. This decision had nothing to do with an actual sporting event, but the popularity of the NBA and Lebron’s status as a superstar created a seismic event on social media. Millions of social media posts with pictures, videos, quotes, stats, etc. launched the audience into a global discussion about the hottest topic in sports at the moment. Social media platforms pumped out information and updates faster than any broadcast television company by a large margin. The social aspect of sports is the reason why smaller companies like Bleacher Report are taking the center stage in the sports world over ESPN. Bleacher Report from the start has focused on the social interaction that comes with sports. Their dedication to providing sports information through social media platforms has created a large community of follower. Bleacher report runs different accounts for a variety of different sports and other outlets in order to streamline information to those who want it most. People who follow Bleacher Report social media pages do not have to watch an hour-long broadcast because they can get the information they need by just scrolling through their social media timeline at their convenience. In a matter of a few clicks, anyone can join a conversation with thousands of others on the sports topics they care about.

 

If ESPN is going to survive in today’s digital world, they must continue to adapt their business model to meet the needs of their social customers. Broadcast television is becoming a thing of the past, and I think ESPN realizes this. In recent years they have put more effort into their online presence, offering their customers more options to consume ESPN content. Nevertheless, ESPN must realize that they are no longer the single source of sports information. Social media has now become “The Worldwide Leader in Sports.”


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UGA Athletics’ Social Media MVP: Tom Crean

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When Greg McGarity announced in March that UGA had hired Tom Crean to be the next basketball coach, I was overjoyed. As someone who goes to most UGA basketball games, I was ready for a change. Tom Crean is a big name in the college basketball world, and the impact that this hire has on the basketball program might be comparable the Kirby Smart hire for the football program. What I wasn’t expecting out of Crean was his promotion on Twitter of all things UGA. Since day one, Crean has been promoting the every aspect of what it means to be a Dawg. On Twitter, Crean has over 63,000 more followers than UGA’s official Twitter account. In fact, Kirby Smart is the only UGA figure with more followers than Crean. Crean posts much more often than Smart however, and his posts have more of a personal feel. Crean often posts videos of himself with UGA students, employees, and fans, interviewing them about different aspects of the University. Many of the videos focus on generating excitement around the basketball program.

Trying to generate passionate basketball fans at a “Football school” is a task that many coaches at Georgia have faced, but Crean’s approach has been very involved. He has presented himself as a man of the people, which I truly believe he is. He’s even gone on the #1 sports podcast, Pardon My Take, to promote the Dawgs basketball program. While he may be competing with football for fans’ attention, Crean has fully embraced promoting the football team on his Twitter.

Only one question remains: Will Coach Crean paint up and join the Spike Squad for a football game? We shall see…


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Barstool Sports: A 30 for 30

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What if I told you an army of Stoolies could reshape the landscape of sports media?

Barstool Sports, a sports blog based in Boston, Massachusetts, is known for their satirical take on sports events and news. Dave Portnoy, known as “El Pres,” started the company in 2003 as a print publication, which eventually went online in 2007. Barstool’s loyal following, known as “Stoolies,” have helped Barstool grow its social media presence to an impressive 5.2 million followers on Instagram to date. Barstool distributes its content through its website, social media platforms, and podcasts that feature personalities such as Big Cat, PFT Commentator, and others that the Stoolies have come to love.

Barstool Sports is doing something that ESPN isn’t by establishing a unique, accessible brand to which consumers can relate. Through strong social media platforms (Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat), they’re appealing to millennials by posting unfiltered, politically-incorrect content that’s guaranteed to get a few laughs. In addition, Portnoy is always ready to take on ESPN and other sports media outlets whenever he is criticized. For example, the CEO of Bleacher Report said that Barstool would never be as big as B/R. Portnoy fought back and rallied the Stoolies to download the Barstool Sports app on the app store. In just 6 hours, Barstool went from 27th to 3rd on the Top Charts and passed Bleacher Report, all while Portnoy trash talked the CEO on Twitter.

Dave Portnoy continues to be an accessible figure through Twitter, which also leads to the loyalty of the Stoolies. This sounds simple, but is definitely unique in establishing brand loyalty and something that ESPN isn’t doing. Even with his New England bias, he owns his opinions and doesn’t back down from anyone who criticizes him or Barstool. Portnoy portrays that he doesn’t care if you like Barstool or not. I think this resonates with the millennials in a big way. He gives off this idea that it’s Barstool versus the national sports outlets like ESPN. Barstool isn’t into “people pleasing” to get viewers or gain attention, like ESPN and others.

Since Barstool isn’t affiliated with any of the national sports channels, they don’t have an agenda when it comes to delivering content. For example, ESPN has to show and talk about NBA constantly in order to try to boost their ratings for nationally televised NBA games. Fox does this same thing when it comes to the NFL. Barstool simply delivers content that viewers want to see, and sometimes it isn’t just sports. From the ‘one-bite’ pizza reviews to posting viral pictures/videos on Twitter and Instagram with awesome captions, Barstool is attracting an audience through Social Media that ESPN and other national outlets simply aren’t doing. Below are just a few examples of some awesome content on the Barstool social media platforms.

 

 


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