I don’t post a lot about the Timbers, mostly because I don’t have much to say aside from “Go team!”. I’m missing a big Portland/Seattle game tonight due to BarCamp, and I’m really disappointed to hear that The Oregonian barely gave it a mention today, let alone a full preview article, even though the game will be on national tv. Lucas and several other fans emailed the sports editor to ask why the game didn’t rate a longer article. This is the form letter they each received in response:
Readership surveys and anecdotal evidence show that the overwhelming majority of readers don’t expect detailed advanced stories on games – with the exception of the Blazers, Beavers and Ducks. Those stories are some of the least read in our section.
We recognize soccer is popular here The Timbers probably get more coverage from us than any other U.S. team in their league gets from a daily newspaper. Coincidentally, our coverage of tonight’s game will be limited in tomorrow’s paper. That’s because it’s an 8:00 start, which means that game won’t end til right at the deadline for a reporter to file a story.
The Timbers have an amazingly active fan community, so this kind of statement comes as a slap in the face. This is their response to people who will go out of their way to pick up a copy of anything with good team coverage? Also, commenters on the Timbers Army message board report much better coverage from the bi-weekly Portland Tribune, as well more attention from papers that cover those “other U.S. teams in their league” (the USL).
Given that newspapers across the country are struggling to keep readers, I’m amazed that The Oregonian isn’t trying harder to cultivate this group of potential customers.