The Big Lead
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Type of site
|Created by||Jason McIntyre
|Launched||February 24, 2006|
The Big Lead is an American news blog that is owned by the Gannett Company, as a sister property of its flagship newspaper USA Today. The website mainly covers sports news, although it also touches on a varying degree of other news topics ranging from politics to pop culture. Launched on February 24, 2006, it was co-founded by former sportswriter Jason McIntyre and his college friend David Lessa, who originally owned the site under the umbrella company Fantasy Sports Ventures. Gannett purchased Fantasy Sports Ventures on January 24, 2012, integrating the site into the digital network of USA Today.
McIntyre, in building out the site, enlisted the help of fellow bloggers Stephen Douglas (username Cousins of Ron Mexico), Tyler Duffy (username tyduffy), Jason Lisk and Tim Ryan (username The Sports Hernia) in 2008 and 2009 to help contribute to The Big Lead; the sits added video editor Michael Shamburger to its staff in 2011. As of 2009[update], the site averages over 8 million monthly page views. Since 2012, McIntyre has hosted a weekly radio program on Fox Sports Radio named after the website, The Big Lead With Jason McIntyre.
Format and content
The site is usually updated ten to fifteen times a day between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with each post receiving its own title and space for registered readers to post comments. The publishing day usually begins with the morning "Roundup", which provides links to varying news stories of interest in paragraph form at the top, and mainly links to different sports-related stories at the bottom of the column page. The "Roundup" feature is usually accompanied by a photograph of an attractive model or actress, as well as relevant or humorous YouTube clips. Each year, the site stages what it calls a "Culture Tournament", in which 64 different sports figures, celebrities or other items of relevance (such as "Michael Phelps' Bong Hit," in which the Olympic Gold medal swimmer was caught smoking marijuana in 2009) are seeded in a bracket styled after that used to outline teams competing in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. 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. For the 2009 edition, Megan Fox was crowned champion narrowly over Andrews.
The Big Lead first gained notoriety after it obtained 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, the fallout of which ended Whitlock's association with the network.
The Colin Cowherd incident
On April 5, 2007, Colin Cowherd, then host of a self-titled radio program on ESPN Radio, instructed his show's listeners to flood The Big Lead with traffic. The surge in activity overloaded the website's servers, knocking The Big Lead offline for about 48 hours, before the site was restored on April 7. 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 were not forbidden by ESPN at that time, Cowherd did not face any disciplinary action for the incident.
- "Gannett Buys Big Lead Sports Owner Fantasy Sports Ventures". AllThingsD. January 24, 2016.
- "About Us | TheBigLead". The Big Lead. Fantasy Sports Ventures.
- Bryan Armen Graham (December 11, 2009). "Best of the Decade: Movies, TV Shows, Books, Blogs". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. – via CNN.
- "The Big Lead with Jason McIntyre". Premiere Networks.
- "2008 Culture Bracket". The Big Lead. Fantasy Sports Ventures.
- "2009 Culture Bracket". The Big Lead. Fantasy Sports Ventures.
- ""Oh Damn, Did Whitlock Really Say That? A Q&A with Jason Whitlock". The Big Lead. Fantasy Sports Ventures.
- Richard Deitsch (March 12, 2008). "Anonymous No More". Sports Illustrated. Time Inc. – via CNN.
- "On Cowherd, Our Site, and the Ombudsman's Swift Response". The Big Lead. Fantasy Sports Ventures.
- Le Anne Schreiber (April 8, 2007). "Cowherds 'Attack' on blog: 'Zero tolerance'". ESPN.com. ESPN Inc.