Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is Twitter killing Sports?

If we needed another example of how Twitter is changing the way of sports media and how the stars communicate with their fans, two players from the All Blacks have given us just that this week.

Cory Jane and Neemia Tialata, squad members of the fearsome New Zealand rugby side currently on tour in Europe, tweeted about their non-selection for this weekend’s big test match against England before the team was officially released to mainstream media.

One can imagine it’s irked the All Black coaches, though they attempted to make light of the situation at the official team naming in London. Watch the start of this video to see coach Graham Henry’s humourous reaction to the Twitter dilemma.

This is just the latest example of how Twitter has caused problems for sports stars, with one particular NBA player, Charlie Villanueva of the Milwaukee Bucks, landing himself in hot water with management when he tweeted during a halftime break earlier this year.

Shaquille O’Neal is another NBA player addicted to Twitter, using the social media tool to trash talk opponents and share his dislike for former Orlando Magic coach Steve Van Gundy.

There are numerous other examples – including rookie Australian cricket batsman Phil Hughes tweeting about his axing from the Ashes test side in July.

Here’s an interesting (American) commentary below regarding the question whether Twitter, and social media as a whole, is killing sports.

What do you think? Should sports stars simply bypass mainstream media and use social media tools like Twitter to reach their fans? Do traditional media still have an important role to play in covering sports?