By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Tracking the Globe’s sports coverage

The Herald’s Inside Track goes after the Globe sports section today, claiming that the “Boring Broadsheet” favors the Red Sox over the three-time-champion Patriots because the Globe’s corporate owner, the New York Times Co., owns a share of the Sox.

“National Football League sources” are said to be upset. What prompted their dime-drop appears to be a complaint that Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan made about access to the Patriots during practice.

Sullivan denies stinting on Pats coverage, telling the Tracksters, “I don’t see how fans of either team could feel shortchanged.”

But Bruce Allen of Boston Sports Media Watch thinks there’s more than a little something to the Track’s complaint.

ALLEN: Even the Inside Track is jumping on the Globe for their lack of Patriots coverage, and they report about Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan calling up the NFL to whine about access to the team during practice. As I mentioned in part II of my Globe Review last month, I thought that Sullivan had done some good things during his watch there, but lately he’s been taking a lot of hits over the paper’s Patriots coverage, and isn’t looking good for it. His adamant stand that the paper has the most Patriots coverage in the region rings false to anyone who reads through the papers on a daily basis. His failure to promise or even admit that they’ll try to do better continues to be a slap in the face to Patriots fans.

Here’s the direct link to Allen’s post today, although it wasn’t working as of this morning.

On July 29, the Phoenix’s Ian Donnis took a close look at the relationship between the Sox and the Globe.

Media Nation offers three not-very-original observations:

1. Baseball is more interesting than football.

2. Boston is and always will be a baseball town.

3. I’m a lot more concerned about how the Globe – and especially its editorial page – covers the Red Sox’ development plans in the Fenway neighborhood than I am about measuring column-inches devoted to the Sox and the Pats. That’s where the real conflict-of-interest potential is.

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  1. Mitch

    What, several Patriots articles a day aren’t enough, particularly when the Sox are neck-deep in a pennant race? Besides, try being a soccer fan and looking to the Globe or the Herald for coverage.

  2. Rick in Duxbury

    This is Boston. Everything is about politics, sports or revenge. When you can combine 2 or more of them, critical mass is achieved. We are in contention with NYC as the schadenfreude capital of America; they usually confine it to business, though.

  3. Copy Editor

    Not enough Patriots coverage?Try being a Revolution fan.

  4. Anonymous

    the ratings say otherwise about the baseball/football premise. The Sox are in the middle of a pennant race and peope watched the Patriots over the Sox at a 4 to 1 rate.

  5. Anonymous

    dan,i’d be curious how many reporters are dedicated baseball v. football. i know some overlap. that might be the issue. and btw, don’t forget there was a big football preview spread before the first pats game.

  6. Anonymous

    Dan,On your points 1 and 2: The Red Sox don’t have a 50,000-person waiting list for season tickets like the Patriots; and the only time Red Sox TV ratings come anywhere near the Patriots is if they are playing the Yankees in the playoffs. Then it hits the number for an average Pats game.On point 3, agreed completely.Of course, the biggest point is that the Globe’s sports section’s quality has just completely dropped off the cliff in the past couple years.

  7. Anonymous

    Hmmmm..where should I start..?!?!Well, first of all, I am not sure why is the “Inside Track” being credited with pushing this issue to the forefront this week.It seems the Herald picked up on this nagging issue on other sites and tried to put a black eye on their sworn enemies again. They can’t talk about it in the Sports section. They’d rather not do it in a formal ‘media’ article as it would be too obvious as yet another jealousy spell.Instead, let’s drop the dime in our gossipy corner -usually irrelevant and recyclers of NYPost PageSix material a couple of days late. There they can freely kick some dirt.Truth is, although Allen has raised this issue back on Aug 26th, we have to credit DAVID SCOTT on his site, who runs the refreshing and insightful column called Scott’s Shots. It was David who saw such a post on under the handle “Tunescribe” This poster sent a complaint/email about the Pats coverage frustration and got a reply from Sullivan that he dutifully posted on the PatsFans site.David read it and emailed Sullivan to confrim it was indeed HIS reply. After that, this new/old story appeared all of a sudden on the ‘Inside Track’ coated with some Sullivan NFl contact story ( Did I mention they were liars and recyclers over there in Howie Carr country???)So BIG HALO to David Scott and Bruce Allen. Their efforts are very refreshing and commendable. Great reads.The Globe is indeed skimping on Pats coverage. Just look at the front page and you’ll see countless times when the words ‘Red Sox’ or something/one associated with them is mentioned.All throughout the offseaon, I was scouring the Globe’s pages looking for transaction updates, rumors and updates and I couldn’t find many at all. The best I would find on many days were mentions in ‘Notes.’I follow Baseball closely and it is easier to be aware of things in Baseball since it so widespread in coverage. But football stuff is hard to unearth since a lot of what goes on is very hermetically controlled in news-savvy NFL and their well-protected training camps and front offices.Hence the importance of a good Globe or Herald penetration and presence ALL the time. Reading a column like SI Peter King’s Monday QB is the type of stuff I am talking about. The Herald has excelled in Pats coverage, with people like Felger who is just literally ‘on the ball’The Globe does not have as many good football writers anymore. They lost two great football guys who were too cocky and hotheaded they thought they were headed for stardom and were too precious to just serve the Boston market.I am talking about Michael Smith and Michael Holley. Now those two were phenomenal young talents, with great analytical and writing skills, very well-spoken and performed very well in media settings and seemed gifted/liked enough to penetrate the political labyrinth of the NFL hallways.Well, they thought they struck gold with book and national network deals. Needless to say they underestimated their success and are still hunting for najor deals/exposure. They should have stayed put and grown their profile WITHIN the Globe.Those losses affected the Globe’s success tremendously.So Dan please spare me the softballs like “Baseball is more interesting than football.” Come on, …That’s like saying Chocolate cake is better than Cheese Cake. To each his own and both are wonderful. Both are extremely popular. The NFL has just been masterful in rasing their profile and really capturing people’s attention in the last decades. Baseball is so entrenched nothing can topple it so easily.The Pats winning ways are such a great draw and pole of pride since they win so convincingly , often and under national lights, it soo uplifting to watch them and feel proud to BE from around here. So no denying their grip on our minds too. Their news is worth its ‘weight’ in gold with their fans.This is like saying baseball is more popular than Hockey when the Bruins were so dominating and winning Stanley cups year after year. Or comparing it to the Celtics who were so dominant under Auerbach in their two record stretches of titles.Same now, the Pats are on a very high wave and we’re are all riding it. The Globe does not seem to want to ride it with us anymore.As for the “Red Sox’ development plans” coverage…I am not concerned about that at all. Whatever they say, whatever they like or dislike is immaterial. Those plans are so substantial and so important to so many parties that so many have their say in what happens there, from developers to residents to city hacks, what a puny little writer from Morrissey boulevard thinks or writes is peep-squeak. The Globe has alrady missed the ball on The Big Dig, The Rose Kennedy parkway and most prominently the Cape Cod Winds issue. They never had any impact in exposing anything or defining a particular direction. They are so afraid to touch anything like that to begin with. They wait until it is completed and then b!tch and complain and dig into the records.Henry wouldn’t have any of it. He is a no nonsense kind of business guy and The Globe can’t even pay its own bills. They should shut up. Either be relevant or just keep quiet. And to touch on the Soccer complaints here, as a lifelong soccer fan, I love the sport and actually the Globe is not that bad in that coverage given the national struggle of the sport. I blame its misfortunes rather on Radio and Sports TV execs and program PDs for what content they encourage/allow about Soccer rather on print coverage. If advertising companies did a better job in showcasing Soccer or using it as a background for their products, it would get a lot more respect. But it is completely shunned.By that I mean like beer, entertainment, car and sports gear etc companies use Football and other sports so aptly, they should use Soccer in a more ‘cool’ way to make it more appealing. Coors twins, Desperate Housewives in nude locker incident with Terrell Owens, Shilling Ford Trucks and so many Basketball shoe deals are just a handful of ‘hormone-filled’ examples. Enough of Mia ‘Who?’ Hamm. There isn’t ONE male socder star that has national prominence. I thought Adu would be a great sponsorship candidate. ‘Hasn’t materialized yet.ESPN is never going to gamble on Soccer until it fully becomes very popular. So it is a chicken and egg problem.N.

  8. mike_b1

    In case anyone is still reading after the previous essay…Snip: His adamant stand that the paper has the most Patriots coverage in the region rings false to anyone who reads through the papers on a daily basis.”Seems to me this would be easy enough to count and prove/disprove.

  9. Anonymous

    Seems to me this would be easy enough to count and prove/disprove.Very true, and indeed somebody on the BSMW message boards did a search in about three minutes. Joe Sullivan’s comments were proved to be comically false.

  10. Anonymous

    N., you don’t mean “masterful.” You mean “masterly.”

  11. Anonymous

    In taking coverage of red sox vs. pats into account, shouldn’t we also take into consideration the fact that prof. baseball teams play ten times as many regular season games as prof. football teams. more games, more stories, more to write about. how many times do people want sportswriters to rehash the sunday game or look ahead to the matchups for the game that’s still a week away?

  12. mike_b1

    This can be taken in part as an acknowledgment that, in most locales, sports is the engine that drives a paper’s circulation. The Globe could probably dispense with its Business and most of its international coverage and few readers would blink. I think the Herald has already done this. Kidding! (Mostly, anyway.)

  13. Anonymous

    Boston as become a football town….the Pats are a billion doller franchise….the Sox, well are not

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