SBD/August 13, 2013/Media

Outkicked His Coverage? FS1 Hopes Clay Travis Can Spice Up CFB Studio Show

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College football blogger Clay Travis will be a regular studio analyst for FS1's "Fox College Saturday," and he could prove to be "one of the more polarizing sports personalities," according to Darren Heitner of FORBES. Travis has "slowly been working on his master-plan to redefine what it means to be a sports media professional." That plan is "expected to receive a dose of performance enhancing promotion as Travis becomes an integral part of a network that wants to become a real contender against ESPN." He has "built his persona from the ground up by being unabashed and unafraid to report the news as he sees it." Travis, a former Deadspin.com writer, founded OutkickTheCoverage.com in early '11, a sports site "dedicated to all things SEC-football along with trending topics in the sports landscape." The website, which has "expanded to become a well-known channel for quality content," currently generates 500,000-1,000,000 visitors each month, with Travis "managing both the website and contributing content on a daily basis." Travis also "co-hosts a sports radio talk show" on WGFX-FM in Nashville and a national sports radio show on NBC Sports. Travis over the last six months "engaged in a fair amount of discussions with major media properties about not only the future of Outkick the Coverage, but also where he was headed professionally." When FS1 "came calling, the decision was essentially a no-brainer." Travis said, “Ultimately, the offer put on the table was too exciting to pass up -- the opportunity to be on their morning college football show and to be out in L.A. with them for the launch of a major network like FS1." Heitner noted Outkick the Coverage is "now FoxSports.com’s official college football blog" (FORBES.com, 8/12).

CLAY-MATION: A panel of SI.com writers discussed changes to the college football media landscape, including the addition of Travis to Fox' coverage. Stewart Mandel said, "I really like the Clay Travis move. Much like Bill Simmons showed on NBA draft night, a funny and opinionated writer who knows the sport has a lot more to offer than another generic ex-jock like Joey Harrington." Andy Staples said, "In the blogosphere, the Travis hire was almost universally panned. I actually think it could work. Everyone is assuming Clay will bring the same fan-baiting, SEC-centric approach that he brings to his website to the show. And he will. ... Clay didn't go from blogger on the CBS website to talent on a network show by accident. Every step of the way, he has identified what his target audience would respond to and then given the audience an abundance of that material. ... Clay will do and say things that will make the audience respond." But Martin Rickman said, "I'm not the biggest fan of Travis' written work, as I often find it too misogynistic and self-serving. Will his voice and personality translate better on camera? It's too early to say. It's worth a shot, I suppose" (SI.com, 8/9).
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