4th and a Mile with Paul Muth

What does sports media look like without sports? We're finding out

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

It's the job of sports media to provide content that draws readers to their site. Traffic generates marketing opportunities, marketing opportunities draw advertisements, and so on and so forth.

Until now, there have only been thought projects on what sports media would look like without sports. And it isn't until probably this past week or so that we've really begun to see how the sports media market reacts when sports are ripped off of the menu.

Until recently there has been at least a little meat on the bone to pick at. There was the "Ok this is happening" article wave. Then there was the "Here's an interesting way to start the season back up," wave. There were articles about how athletes are spending their time, what teams this benefits, etc. Then NFL free agency kicked off and there was a small injection of content.

As someone who writes exclusively about sports, I can tell you firsthand that it is difficult. One tactic I use when I'm struggling to come up with something to write about is that I don't allow myself to listen to music or anything while driving. It gives me a moment to focus, which is something I'm terrible at. That said, these past few weeks have been pretty quiet on the way to work.

Now, outside of the NFL draft, we're starting to see the bottom of the well. Without new content sports media is searching for anything they can to put on a front page. Here are a few examples:

"Ray Allen challenges LeBron James, Shaq and other ex-NBA players to show off their hairlines in quarantine."

Why? Just do what everyone else is doing and just stop grooming your facial hair. There's solidarity in a country of unkempt beards. There's no need to prove what we already know.

"Sources: CP3, Young, LaVine plan on H-O-R-S-E"

This is front page material on ESPN.com. The best part is that not only are there are people out there that will watch this, it's also a virtual lock to be in the SportsCenter Top 10.

"Alabama coach Nick Saban adopts email while adapting to recruiting during extended dead period"

Wait. What? Will this make him even more unstoppable?

It's been interesting at least to watch the coverage pivot. Luckily here in Houston we have Bill O'Brien, which is the editorial gift that keeps on giving.

So what happens next? What happens after the NFL draft, and the 2K Tournaments and the H-O-R-S-E games transpire? The NBA draft will probably get a level of exposure it has never seen before.

It looks like we're on the cusp of the next wave of articles though. The "should we even have a season?" wave. Personally, I'm on the fence. But of that were to in fact happen, it's an almost guarantee that sports coverage would look more like tabloid coverage if the above mentioned headlines are any indication. That, and a ton of Top 5 lists.

So that's it. Next week I'll be doing my Top 5…

Yeah right.

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Correa knows it's time for his payday. Composite image by Jack Brame.

The Rangers made a big splash over the weekend when they agreed to terms on a 7-year $175 million contract with infielder Marcus Semien. Apparently, that was just the tip of the iceberg. According to multiple reports, the Rangers have also added arguably the most coveted player in free agency, Corey Seager. Seager and the Rangers have agreed to a massive 10-year $325 million contract.

Before the Seager news broke, many were starting to wonder if teams would be willing to hand out 10-year deals for over 300 million dollars with the lockout just around the corner. Now we have our answer, and Carlos Correa has to be a very happy man to see how the market is shifting. The Rangers not only added two incredible players, but they also made it pretty much a certainty that Correa will either leave Houston, or the Astros will have to sign him to a long-term $300 million deal, which is not likely based on their stance on multi-year big money contracts.

The Rangers aren't the only team in the AL West making blockbuster moves. The Mariners agreed to terms with 2021 AL Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray on Monday. Ray and Seattle agreed to a 5-year, $115 million contract.

The Angels joined in on the action a couple of weeks ago when they signed Noah Syndergard to a 1-year 21 million dollar deal.

Clearly, the AL West is on notice that they're going to have to make big changes if they want to compete with the Houston Astros who have dominated the AL recently with 5 straight ALCS appearances and 3 trips to the World Series. With Correa likely out the door in Houston, these teams might believe this is a perfect time to make a run at the division and finally knock off the Astros. Only time will tell if these deals will work, and the Astros look to have a terrific team this season whether Correa returns or not.

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