ESPN Unveils New North Carolina Basketball BlogPosted by mpatton on October 31st, 2011
The Worldwide Leader unveiled its first team-specific college basketball blog (Notre Dame and Stanford both have team-centric football blogs) this morning with the North Carolina Basketball Blog. The woman behind the pages is former Charlotte Observer and Raleigh News & Observer reporter Robbi Pickeral (if you want to follow her on Twitter @bylinerp).
This comes as a bit of a surprise, as ESPN’s college basketball blog “network” doesn’t even currently include conference-specific blogs, although some of the conference football bloggers do spend some time covering basketball. I wouldn’t be surprised to see ESPN unveil a couple more team blogs if this one is successful. Duke and Kentucky would certainly be the leaders in the clubhouse, but there are plenty of other deserving teams around the country.
The real question is what ESPN gains from a team-specific blog. Truthfully, I’m not sure a lot. While it will certainly gain a lot of Tar Heel clicks, the specificity of such a blog calls into question the purpose of its college basketball coverage. Without expanding the more specified coverage to either include conferences or other contenders I think ESPN is asking for criticism from every other fanbase. At its best this should give an interesting close-up view of the Tar Heels and their quest for the National Championship.
I think Pickeral was a terrific choice as the blog’s main writer. She’s proven over the last eight years to be knowledgeable with ACC and North Carolina basketball. She also happens to be a very good writer. There are already a few pieces up: “Five Things I Can’t Wait To See” (which complements the pieces being asked by ESPN’s College Basketball Nation Blog) and an autobiography of Pickeral juxtaposed with an introduction to the blog.