Saturday, March 15th, 1997

Vote for the Hokie Bird!

My Hokie brethren, if you don't frequent Hokie Central's message board, then you may have missed the report that ESPNet is having a "Battle of the Mascots" tournament, going on now. The Hokie bird is included in the single-elimination tourney, and today at 3 p.m., he squares off against Syracuse's Otto the Orange. Run, don't walk, over to ESPNet's Battle of the Mascot's page and vote for the Hokie Bird, the nation's best! Click on the link below to take you there:

As I said, voting starts at 3 p.m., and it continues for 24 hours. Get out there and vote!

Hey, Beavis (heh-heh) ... CBS Sportsline is Cool!

In case you missed it, last week CBS struck a deal with Sportsline USA to create a new web presence called CBS Sportsline ( Although I had never visited the Sportsline USA web site prior to the deal, I had seen their banner ads all over the place and was aware that they were a major Internet presence, perhaps second only to ESPNet.

Sportsline USA was reported recently as placing 60 to 70 million banner ads per month in an effort to promote their web site. It is Sportsline USA's stated goal to be the dominant online sports brand, and now, with the broadcast marketing capabilities of CBS firmly behind them, Sportsline USA should really take off.

Why is this important to Hokies? It matters because, as I've often complained, ABC and ESPN have established a near-stranglehold on college football television broadcasting, with each network promoting the other's games and events (ABC owns ESPN). ESPN's constant promotion of the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl, both ABC games, was as overbearing an effort as I've ever seen, while the Orange and Fiesta bowls were largely ignored by ESPN's talking heads.

CBS has been unable to generate very much marketing and promotion for their NCAA Football telecasts. In its weekend previews, ESPN favors their own and ABC's broadcasts, and often glosses over the CBS games, or doesn't even mention them at all.

The TV broadcast situation hasn't changed, but now, with the CBS/Sportsline deal, the Internet situation has. ESPNet has dominated the sports Internet picture, and rightly so, challenged only by The USA Today's excellent online coverage. But the problem is, while ESPNet is part of that ESPN/ABC relationship, The USA Today is affiliated with no one.

Well, now there is a major Internet presence with ties to CBS, and thusly to Big East football. I've been watching the NCAA basketball tourney broadcast a little bit this week, and CBS has done an excellent job promoting the new CBS.Sportsline web site. They will continue to do so throughout their broadcasts of the U.S. Open tennis tournament and PGA Tour events (including the Masters and the PGA Championship). With the promotional power and big bucks of CBS behind it, look for to continue to grow quickly into an Internet force rivaling ESPNet.

For the Hokies and the Big East football conference, which are always looking for more respect and recognition, this is good news, indeed. Check out the CBS.Sportsline web site. I have, and (heh-heh) ... it's cool!

Goodbye Mailbag, We Knew You Well

I have archived the last few letters that were in the Mailbag and have now retired the Mailbag page ... sort of. Future Mailbags will now be updates of the new Special Features page.

With the advent of the Hokie Central Message Board, which has been a roaring success (other than the occasional electronic mixups that it suffers), the Mailbag has lost a lot of its punch. Opinionated Hokie Central readers now go straight to the board and post their thoughts, instead of me having to serve as the middleman, formatting stuff for the Mailbag.

That's great, of course, because it has slowed my email traffic to a relative trickle compared to what it was before, and has freed me up to do more new things with the page ... as you can tell from Wednesday's announcement. So I just felt that it was time to retire the Mailbag page, because I didn't foresee it getting updated very often. It has already been a month since the last time I updated it.

That doesn't mean that I no longer get interesting emails - I do, and I will occasionally update the Special Features page as a Mailbag page when I accumulate enough good emails to post.

Also in the near future, look for "My Opinion" to be folded into the Special Features page as well. That will make the Special Features page into more of a catch-all for all kinds of neat stuff like emails, opinion pieces, and ... well, let's just say that I've got other ideas, some of which you'll see this summer. If you have any ideas for special features, be sure to email them to me and I'll take them under consideration.


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