The APSE West Region meeting was held on May 1 in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Review-Journal Sports Editor Bill Bradley and his team hosted a lineup that helped sports editors and reporters from California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona make sense of a changing sports landscape.
With the Raiders recently approved by the NFL for a move from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, most of the attendees have readerships and sports departments affected by the NFL’s recent moves to bring the Rams from St. Louis to LA, the Chargers from St. Louis to LA and the Raiders with plans in the works to move to Las Vegas.
San Diego Union Tribune Sports Editor Jay Posner, Southern California News Group NFL columnist Vincent Bonsignore and Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist Ed Graney discussed the drama of covering those moves, how it has changed sports departments, the impact to readers and fans and tips for following the politics and intrigue when a franchise is moving.
In the second session, we discussed audience engagement with representatives from Yahoo! and Bleacher Report.
Adena Andrews, who was an APSE Diversity Fellow in 2011, reminded the audience not to be afraid to be human in social media and talked through the way Bleacher Report strategizes its engagement and prepare to ‘ignite viral moments.’ She was joined by John Parker of Yahoo! and Melissa Geisler moderated the panel.
At lunch, the newsmakers panel discussed the changing landscape of sports in Las Vegas. Bradley moderated the panel, which included UFC’s Chief Operating Officer Ike Lawrence Epstein, the Las Vegas Golden Knights’ president Kerry Bubolz, UNLV AD Darryl Seibel and Professional Bull Riders CEO Sean Gleason. The panel discussed facilities in Las Vegas, stadium plans, cooperation between UNLV and the Las Vegas Raiders, as well as the role of gambling in the mix of Las Vegas sports and the future of sports in general. Seibel, who has long played a role in U.S. Olympics, also talked of the impact that a 2024 Olympics would have on Las Vegas.
To Las Vegas Review Journal, the conversation was newsworthy and produced a story that evening.
In the first afternoon session, we discussed the UFC and the media – the Los Angeles Times’ Mike Hiserman moderated the panel, which included reporters Adam Hill (Las Vegas Review Journal) and Kevin Iole (Yahoo!) and UFC Vice President of PR, Lenee Breckenridge. Among topics, the panel discussed media bans of reporters and the UFC’s evolving approach to control of the news in its sport.
In the final session, we discussed ESports – a $500 million industry with a huge audience and the likes of Magic Johnson, Alex Rodriguez and Shaquille O’Neal as owners of professional teams. The panel included Taylor Cocke of Yahoo!, Nick Geracie of HOWLA Sports, and Melissa Geisler, who helped organize Yahoo’s coverage team.