12.03.12

DeronWilliams.com : Canny Branding Or An Exercise In Crazy Self-Indulgence?

Posted in Basketball, Sports Journalism, The Internet at 9:19 pm by

Devon Jeffreys has a more specific agenda than anyone else on the Brooklyn Nets beat. That’s because unlike anyone covering the team for the New York Times, Daily News, Post or Newsday, Jeffreys is employed by Athlete Interactive, the company employed to maintain D-Will’s personal website. As the Wall Street Journal’s Scott Cacciola contrasts, this is a slightly different scenario from say, Kris Humphries’ site (“last updated in April, back when the Nets were still marooned in New Jersey. ‘I don’t even know what’s on there,’ Humphries said”)

The site has Williams-centric game stories, Williams-centric features and Williams-centric photo galleries. The site’s editors shoehorn “Williams” or “D-Will” into roughly 90% of their headlines, which, to be fair, is sort of the point. The headline of one particularly exhaustive 1,850-word game story last week: “D-Will Stars as Nets Topple Knicks.” “They do a great job of making sure it’s personalized,” Williams said.

This isn’t muckrake journalism—Williams and his representatives at Excel Sports Management get to vet everything that goes live on the site—but they feel it serves a purpose. Launched not long after the Jazz traded Williams to the Nets in 2011, it was originally conceived as a way to enhance his appeal to sponsors in a new market. Jaymee Messler, the senior vice president for marketing at Excel, described it as “creating a larger brand portfolio” for him

Magic guard Arron Afflalo recently signed on with Athlete Interactive to launch his own site, ArronAfflalo4.com. “It was an opportunity for me to—how do I put it?—control my exposure a little bit,” he said.

Yes, well, you might need some help in that regard.

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