Remembering SportsBusiness Daily co-founder Doug Bailey

Doug Bailey, one of the originators of modern political consulting, an innovator who employed technology to change journalism, and a co- founder of SportsBusiness Daily, died this week at the age of 79.

Steve Bilafer, who was the first editor-in-chief of THE DAILY, shared this remembrance of Bailey. You can also read more about Bailey in yesterday’s issue of SBD:

To those who knew him and worked with him, Doug was nothing less than a force of nature. He had reached the very heights of the political world in 1976 by helping to engineer President Ford's comeback from more than 30-points down to almost beating Jimmy Carter in 1976. His firm with partner John Deardourff was responsible for electing Republican governors and senators across the country. By the 1980s, he easily could have retired young and lived off consulting and speaking fees.

But Doug had a relentless impulse to change and improve. That drive led him to start a publication in 1987 called The Hotline. What seems ordinary now – a daily publication delivered electronically (then, by fax) that collects political news from around the country, filters, prioritizes and digests that news, and then delivers it same day to a highly professional and demanding audience – was nothing short of revolutionary then. Of course, as with all revolutionary products, no one in the political world knew they needed The Hotline until Doug and his partners gave it to them.


I was fortunate to start at The Hotline in 1990 – and even more fortunate to work alongside Doug day in and day out for almost four years. If The Hotline model sounds familiar to readers of SportsBusiness Daily, it's because in 1994 Doug and Jeffrey Pollack saw an opportunity to deliver the same kind of publication to industry players that were hungry for a daily news source devoted entirely to their business – even if they didn't quite realize it yet. I joined SportsBusiness Daily as its first editor-in-chief that year and am proud to say that much of the format and style that SBD's readers enjoy today reflects Doug and Jeffrey's original vision.


Doug Bailey will be remembered as an American original and a pioneer who always seemed a few steps (and, in some cases, years and decades) ahead of the crowd. His drive was not professional acclaim or personal profit, but rather to improve the world around him and the country he loved so much. I was proud to consider him a mentor and a friend. His humor, energy, kindness and generosity spawned a generation of young "Hotliners" (and SBDers) who have gone on to prominent roles in government, media and business across the country. While those in the political and journalistic worlds in DC and elsewhere already have commemorated Doug's life and passing, I thought SBD readers should understand the incredible contribution he made to their industry, as well. Without Doug Bailey, the world just became a slightly less interesting place. But his ideas live on, and as he would say every day, "That's just grrreeeaaat!"


-- Steve Bilafer


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