Sports Cancellation Stories Need More Context
There is no bigger story to publish or get a scoop about than a cancellation. It is an immediate click for those who are sports fans. Why? Because they’re concerned about the other sports. Even if they do not like that sport or the sporting event canceled isn’t a favorite, there is a wonder about what that means for my favorite sport. Over the past few days, there is a disturbing trend I’ve noticed on social media where journalists are not providing enough context. Therefore, they are scaring people and leading them down a dark path. It is not guaranteed they’ll click on the report, and for that, we need more context.
The first example of this was Tom Harrington, a radio host in Toronto. He put on a tweet yesterday that Toronto would not be having any public events on June 30th. People freaked out instantly because they thought it affected the Toronto Blue Jays, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the Toronto Raptors. That would have been a major blow to sports coming back in some form. But what was later put on Twitter from others is that this only affected parades, festivals, or anything led by the City of Toronto. It did not pertain to sports. Context matters and is more important than ever. At least Tom got his retweets and favorites on this tweet.
BREAKING: City of Toronto bans all public events until June 30.
— Tom Harrington (@cbctom) March 31, 2020
The second and third examples are the same. Wimbledon is not happening this year. They canceled the entire event versus a postponement. As expected, people lost their minds with Wimbledon being an iconic sporting event. But what people missed with this story is an insurance premium. The leaders of Wimbledon have an insurance policy against global pandemics. And a decision needs to be made at a certain date for the policy to kick in. Again, this context is important. They’re not canceling because sports will not return in July, rather, if things continue, they want to protect themselves financially.
The same goes for the Open Championship. Golf Digest came out with a story yesterday. The same reason is applied, but again, the reporter who broke the story failed to mention that in his tweet. Why? He wanted people to click on his article and generate traffic towards the website. I get it. That’s important too. But right now, we’re in a special time where it’s better to inform upfront than scare people. The leaders of Open Championship said this morning that no decision has been made.
Context is king right now, not content. Do your jobs just a little bit better, thanks.