Newspapers need to dominate local sports coverage

New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles in November 1960. (Photo by George Silk)

Everyone in this country, I figure, ought to be watching the again flourishing NFL rivalry between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants in today’s NFC divisional playoff contest.

So who would be scrolling the Internet? Still, this game made me think about how newspapers are losing ground for which they need to fight harder – local sports.

This morning I picked up my Sunday Philadelphia Inquirer – great cover issue and unique takes on the Eagles-Giants game. In years, past that was anyone’s source of local sports news – more than anything else. While TV beat newspaper news coverage, no one beat their sports coverage.

But in another long list of fights the Internet has handed newspapers, here comes that tried and true sports coverage. Last month Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks of the NBA, wrote that professional sports teams need newspapers. But there are so many options in the world.

Many newspapers have smartly made devoted pages to their local sports teams – like the Inquirer has for the Eagles. But they still just make the very bottom of  a Web search for “Philadelphia Eagles.”  They’re beaten by,,,, even and

The New York Post has made some more progress for the Giants, and the Baltimore Sun for their hometown Ravens, but many are even further behind.

Could datelines help? Surely more linking out and hoping the same in return could help, but what else? Perhaps there needs to be more evergreen content. Why not have a package on the team’s history and players, something that would warrant widespread linking in?

As it stands now, unless you’re pulling sports page out of your own newspaper – like I did this morning – you might not find yourself at a newspaperdotcom to see the latest or broadest news on your favorite or competing sports team.

Here’s a preview to check out as this much-hyped Eagles-Giants game warms up.

Photo from Life magazine archive hosted by Google here.

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