The Big Lead
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (December 2009)|
|Type of site||Blog|
|Created by||Jason McIntyre, David Lessa|
|Launched||February 24, 2006|
The Big Lead is a blog owned by USA Today that mainly covers sports but also touches on everything from politics to pop culture. It was started in February 2006 by Jason McIntyre and college friend David Lessa. McIntyre, a former sportswriter, enlisted the help of fellow bloggers Stephen Douglas (username Cousins of Ron Mexico), Tyler Duffy (tyduffy), Jason Lisk, and Tim Ryan (The Sports Hernia) in 2008 and 2009 to help contribute. Currently, the site averages over 3 million monthly page views.
USA Today bought original owner Fantasy Sports Ventures in January 2012.
Format and content
The site is usually updated 10 to 15 times a day between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. est, with each post receiving its own title and space for registered readers to post comments.Days usually begin with the morning "Roundup", which links to varying news stories of interest in paragraph form at the top, and mainly links to different sports related stories at the bottom. The Roundup is usually accompanied by a picture of an attractive model or actress as well as relevant or humorous YouTube clips. Recaps of the previous nights games also receive a common post heading. Basketball recaps are entitled "Ballin'", baseball game recaps are called "Yardwork", football previews are called "Pigsplosion", and soccer posts are usually called "The Onion Bag". Every year the site stages what it calls a "Culture Tournament". 64 different sports figures, celebrities, or other relevant items (example: Michael Phelps' Bong Hit) are seeded in an NCAA basketball tournament style bracket. Readers are allowed to vote one time for each match up until a winner is decided. In 2008, ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews beat out actress/singer Jessica Simpson. In the 2009 version, Megan Fox was crowned champion narrowly over Andrews.
The site first gained notoriety by obtaining interviews with syndicated sportswriter and ESPN Poker commentator Norman Chad and Kansas City Star and FoxSports.com columnist Jason Whitlock. The interview with Whitlock generated controversy when he proceeded to trash his then ESPN colleagues Scoop Jackson and Mike Lupica. This ended Whitlock's association with the network.
The Colin Cowherd Incident
On April 5, 2007, ESPN Radio personality Colin Cowherd instructed the listeners of his radio show to flood The Big Lead with traffic. The surge in activity overloaded the servers, knocking the site out of commission for about 48 hours. The attack appeared to be unprovoked, with Cowherd saying "wouldn't it be great if we could blow up a website?". His actions drew criticism from the blogosphere, as well as ESPN.com's ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber, who called his actions "immature, irresponsible, arrogant, malicious, destructive and dumb." However, since such actions weren't forbidden by ESPN at that time, he was not disciplined.
- Graham, Bryan Armen (December 11, 2009). "best of decade: movies, tv shows, books, blogs". sportsillustrated.com.
- Gannett Buys Big Lead Sports Owner Fantasy Sports Ventures
- 2008 Culture Bracket
- 2009 Culture Bracket
- "Oh Damn, Did Whitlock Really Say That? A Q&A with Jason Whitlock
- Deitsch, Richard (March 12, 2008). "Anonymous No More". sportsillustrated.com.
- On Cowherd, Our Site, and the Ombudsman's Swift Response
- Schreiber, Le Anne (April 8, 2007). "Cowherds 'Attack' on blog:'Zero tolerance'". espn.com.