Darren Rovell

Darren Rovell

ESPN Sports Business Reporter & Business Correspondent, ABC News.

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON April 18, 2016

Discussion

Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
Hi, I'm Darren Rovell, sports business reporter for ESPN and business correspondent for ABC News. I cover the business of sports, but also the business of food and beer and the companies associated with them. Always on the lookout for the next great company. What's up everyone. Glad to be here with you on Product Hunt. Hope we can get a lot of things done today. Let's get to some questions right away.
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@ettinger · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
What do you think about the future of Twitter?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@andrewett What I'm not worried about: Twitter is still the social media of choice for sports fans. What I am worried about: There's a better way to monetize than what they're doing now.
Jacob Sudek
Jacob Sudek@jacobsudek
@darrenrovell Hey Darryl, long time follower! How can Twitter do a better job of monetizing without jeopardizing the product?
Dean Curtis
Dean Curtis@deanpcurtis
Should the NCAA allow athletes to have direct sponsorship deals (with regulation and oversight of course)? Any downside?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@deanpcurtis I've voiced my opinion on every college football and basketball player getting paid. I'm not for it. I am for any player to be able to market themselves and make what they can and I'm also for players getting a cut of their jersey sales. Put the name on the back, it's what fans want. The issue with this of course is how to keep this above board -- will a booster guarantee a kid he will buy 15,000 jerseys if he comes to a school. The simple answer here is that recruiting disadvantages and advantages already occur and so it's not like it's a pure game right now anyway. What I think kids will find is they aren't worth as much as they think they are worth. The top guys will be able to clear $100K a year, but that's 20 guys TOTAL a year in both sports combined.
Josh
Josh@jreichman511
Darren, how do you feel about Big Cat jumping on the D twitter bandwagon? Any comments on Barstool from the ESPN side?
Zach
Zach@zjl00 · Student
How does it work with athletes and Twitter? Do some athletes write all their own tweets, or do most have a pr firm write them?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@zjl00 having a PR firm or someone else write your tweets doesn't really work in my opinion. Either engage yourself or don't participate.
Chase
Chase@leavitt17 · CEO, Upstreet Brands
Are you currently one of the 930 Heisman Voters? Do you envision, within the next 5 years, any substantive reforms with how the Heisman Trophy winner is selected?
Chase
Chase@leavitt17 · CEO, Upstreet Brands
Do you buy the theory that Gordon Hayward purposefully stepped over the line on Kobe's second free throw shot (shooting for his 60th pts)?
Andrew Ettinger
Andrew Ettinger@ettinger · 👟 @wearAtoms // ex @Twitter @ProductHunt
Who do you think has been more valuable to Under Armour - Steph Curry or Jordan Spieth? Which metrics do you use to determine that?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@andrewett Andrew. Thanks for getting me on board here. In regards to Under Armour and their gains with guys like Steph Curry and Jordan Spieth...
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@andrewett I think the big $ behind their big bets which have been amazing hasn't really paid off yet. There's a lot of unsophisticated investment in the market that is driven to UA because of these guys, but it's not dollar for dollar yet. UA isn't even committed to a Spieth signature line which I'm shocked about. But they've been making some nice money on UA golf polos which you can attribute to Spieth.
Lisa Zimmer
Lisa Zimmer@zimmerino · Beer Culture Manager, MillerCoors
Does your interest in beer and the beer industry stem from the sponsorship relationships to sports or would you still be following along if you were an accountant?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@zimmerino Lisa, love beer. Love drinking it. There are some good journalists that cover the space, but not enough and as someone who loves business journalism, I love following the business stories behind sports, beer and food -- which I think you'd agree are kind of connected. It's been amazing following the alcoholic soda craze of recent (Not Your Fathers and Coney Island Root Beer to now Henry's Hard Soda). The growth of the Shandy has also been interesting to watch as MillerCoors has pushed Leinenkugel's to become a national brand in recent years.
Jack Riley
Jack Riley@jack_riley134 · Michigan State Student
Do you ever see a "D-League" type of thing be successful with the NFL?
Einar Angeltveit
Einar Angeltveit@eangeltveit · Football business and finance student
Hi Darren. Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. What advice would you give to young proffesionals wanting to break into the sports industry?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@eangeltveit always love answering this question. How do you get into the business of sports and make enough money to make it a career? Be so passionate about your mission and about your dream that you don't sleep until you figure out how you are going to be different -- how you are going to provided added value to a team, agency, etc. Given the number of people who want to work in sports half the battle is jamming your foot in the door. Never forget that. Getting that foot in the door is just as important as having the goods to show when you get in.
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@eangeltveit And when you get your first job in sports, don't relax. Don't sleep. Act like someone is going to steal your job every day. Stay hungry and focused.
Einar Angeltveit
Einar Angeltveit@eangeltveit · Football business and finance student
@darrenrovell Thank you very much!
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi Darren! What do you think is the best way to contact a player (team, agent, agency) and how do you pitch them for a collaboration? What athletes are usually more open to that?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@theo_dimarhos agents want you to obviously go through them. But it depends on what you're asking for. I've found it has a lot to do with how much trust an athlete has in his or her management. If it's not much, the word will get out that they want to do it themselves.
Sebastian Fung
Sebastian Fung@sebfung · User Acquisition
Do you think the NBA will eventually embrace tools like the Whoop for more analytics? http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/i...
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@sebfung I think analytics in sports used by teams internally and the exporting of data and putting what athletes are doing on screen has a very big future. The big data question however is what data is good data? There's a lot of investment in data today and I'm not so sure it's all good. Under Armour made a big bet on big data -- if it's not as relevant as they are calculating, they're in trouble. So like anything I don't think it's smart to just put data into one big bucket and be positive or negative about it.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Which athletes that you've met/interviewed have most impressed you and why?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
I have to jump as I have to get on a story. I enjoyed doing this. If you have any questions for me -- biz of sports, beer, food and entrepreneurship, please feel free to email me at sportsbizreporter@gmail.com.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
@darrenrovell @gmail Thanks for joining us Darren! 🙌
Harry Stebbings
Harry Stebbings@harrystebbings · Podcast Host @ The Twenty Minute VC
What medium do you find is the best for sharing your content? What has the biggest conversion rate? Love to hear your thoughts!
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@harrystebbings Twitter is definitely the king of something going viral. It's not just me with my number of followers -- even someone with 20 followers if they say something amazing, they can be noticed. Doesn't happen that way with Facebook or Instagram. I spend the most time on Twitter because I think it's worth spending the most time on. I monitor my analytics constantly to develop a best practices of sorts -- including what to tweet, how to tweet it and what time to tweet it.
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
what's the path like to becoming a sports reporter for ESPN? can you elucidate it a bit?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@eriktorenberg I was hired a month after I graduated Northwestern in 2000. Luck + Preparation. Most of my colleagues came up through the paper route, but the younger guys now have proven themselves at other websites first. Do think there's an avenue now to come up through research and analytics like guys like Brad Edwards did. Lot of need for that.
Matt Jared
Matt Jared@matt_jared · The Bill Laimbeer of JavaScript
The Sixers just announced an "Innovation Lab" and the Dodgers are entering another year with their R/GA accelerator. Do you see more teams or even leagues going in this direction more in the future?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@matt_jared Matt, the future of teams as companies is definitely something to watch in the future. With an accelerator, these teams can get in early on a product that in many cases they want to use. So why license a product or help it rise without having skin in the game. Very impressed with the Dodgers and their leadership in this category.
Matt Jared
Matt Jared@matt_jared · The Bill Laimbeer of JavaScript
@darrenrovell Thanks Darren! You're the man!! 💯🔑🍕👍
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
Hi Darren, thanks so much for joining us today! What has been the best advice you've ever received? Flip side, what's been the worst?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@ems_hodge Thanks for having me Emily. Best advice I've ever received is to put everything you ever send that's important in box. Don't fax it, don't email it. Send it in a box. No one has ever thrown out a box without looking at what was inside. Worst advice I got? Don't pursue the niche of sports business. Fans don't want to hear about it. They just want to enjoy the game. 17 years later I got that advice and I'm glad I didn't listen!
Josh Thompson
Josh Thompson@the_lone_blazer
What's your take on the future of daily fantasy? Online poker = daily fantasy?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@the_lone_blazer not sure if it's online poker but the big projections they originally had are never going to become reality. Question for those that made an investment on daily fantasy is whether the back end systems apply when betting in this country becomes legal. That could make for a nice return on investment but maybe misguided.
Zach
Zach@zjl00 · Student
Mr. Rovell, For years now, pro sports teams have released promotional schedules. Which giveaway items used to be popular but are not anymore, and which promotional items have recently, or will, become popular?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@zjl00 baseball teams because of the number of games obviously rely on promotions more than anyone else. It's amazing to see how long the bobblehead has gone on for -- but it still is the #1 best promotion in terms of sales of tickets above average. Funny to see that people are now excited for player garden gnomes which is just an evolution of the bobblehead!
Colchester United FC
Colchester United FC@colu_official · Media Manager, Colchester United
Are American sports teams still the leader in SMSports, or do you see European clubs catching up?
Erik Cain
Erik Cain@erikjcain · Educator
Where or how do you find out about all the unique food items offered around the country? I constantly retweet what you mention to my students
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@erikjcain ha. I love food items and the creativity that teams have exhibited. What's funny is how long it took. For so long, baseball teams just sold dirty water hot dogs because they thought that that was the best way of getting margins. Funny thing is they discovered they could get better margins by charging $25 for something PLUS make it a value added part of the experience of coming to the ballpark. Teams send me a lot of their new food and I'm always on the lookout.
Ben Krejci
Ben Krejci@bennettkrejci · Business Development, Rally Bus
What are some of your personal favorite early stage investments that you've seen sports teams make?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@bennettkrejci I love what RSE Ventures has done. It's an offshoot of Stephen Ross, who of course owns the Dolphins. They've invested in media and social media brands (Gary Vaynerchuk included) and their content is so smart. One investment that I love that they've made is the Drone Racing League. Look out for that product. Amazing.
Kyle Wearner
Kyle Wearner@kylewearner · Board Operator 104.3 The Fan Denver
How do you think Kobe leaving the Lakers will impact them from a business perspective?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@kylewearner It will be very interesting Kyle to see how Kobe leaving hurts the Lakers. Obviously despite their troubles on the court having Kobe's last season was a godsend to them. Have a feeling $2700 for a courtside seat isn't going to fly with what they have now. And if its not the "it" place to be people will flee -- maybe even to Clippers games.
LV RAIDERS 411
LV RAIDERS 411@lvraiders411
Darren - What is your thoughts on Las Vegas Raiders?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@lvraiders411 I've been monitoring the progress. Hunch is it will not happen.
LV RAIDERS 411
LV RAIDERS 411@lvraiders411
@darrenrovell We disagree - More to come at the end of the month and more than NFL. Follow us if you want the 411.
Troy Ruediger
Troy Ruediger@troy_ruediger · Helping shape the future of sports!
Darren, great to have you. Thanks for taking the time to be here. I know that you have been using Medium to publish a few articles. I wanted to get your thoughts on that? Do you see yourself continuing to use it?
Jordan Gonen
Jordan Gonen@jrdngonen · trying my best.
Hey Darren~ thanks! Biggest misconception about your job on ESPN?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@jordan_gonen That there's not a separation of church and state. In my 10 years of working for espn, I've never been told to not write or talk about something because ESPN had a business interest in a person or a league. Not once. I know conspiracy theories are fun, but they are not reality.
HM
HM@elyuka · Depor
Hey Darren, do you think sport bussinnes has become a global trend?
Billy Cribbs
Billy Cribbs@billingsley22 · Recreation Supervisor, RARA
Good afternoon Darren! After the NBA has announced ad space will be available for purchase on team jerseys, which companies do you think will be interested? Also, will the ad price increase/decrease depending on the marketability of the team such as Golden State compared to the Nuggets?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@billingsley22 i'm really excited to cover this space. Think the obvious companies will be there. The big team and league sponsors. My favorite scenarios are: 1. Team wants to do a deal with a company who is a major conflict to the star player. 2. Relatively unknown brand is the highest bidder and team and league have to decide whether or not they want to take the money.
Einar Angeltveit
Einar Angeltveit@eangeltveit · Football business and finance student
@darrenrovell @billingsley22 is there a reason why the NBA owners have decided not to include shirt adventising on retail sold jerseys? Would it not make sense (financially) to also include ads on retail sold jerseys?
Zach
Zach@zjl00 · Student
Why don't MLB teams invest more in their minor league players? Often players can only afford fast food or lackluster locker room food - which isn't very nutritious. Shouldn't MLB teams realize that investing in minor league players today will create a more competitive MLB team in the future?
Erik Torenberg
Erik Torenberg@eriktorenberg · Former Product Hunt
What is Brad Edwards story? a lot of statisticians out there - how do they rise up?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@eriktorenberg Brad was simply the best at understanding how the BCS worked when it was that formula. There was great interest for ESPN to jump the rankings and be able to talk about it. Brad filled that niche. Follow that course of action -- there's a lot more space for analytics geeks on our air!
Jordan Gonen
Jordan Gonen@jrdngonen · trying my best.
Future of esports and espn?
Darren Rovell
Darren Rovell@darrenrovell · Sports Business Reporter, ESPN
@jordan_gonen future of esports is huge. I've had to start covering it and actually made a trip to cover a team in LA right before I went to the Kobe game last Wednesday. I could not believe what I saw. Stay tuned for that piece I'm writing. If you make fun of esports and the business that it is, do so at your peril.
Web Smith
Web Smith@web · Founder of 2PM, Inc.
Darren, it's clear that you are a bright spot and early adopter of the sports / data space. What are your thoughts on players pushing their in-game physiological stats through $TWTR, in real time? Metrics like: heart rate, breathing tempo, glucose levels, blood oxygen level, mitochondrial contraction strength? Something to get sports fans intrigued about data, while connecting them to the athlete in new, interesting ways. I feel like Under Armour is ahead of Nike here and could execute well, starting with Steph Curry / Cam Newton / Jordan Spieth / Misty Copeland / Thomas Gisele Brady. Thoughts?