On Tuesday, the Vikings PR folks hosted a meeting for folks that run various Vikings blogs and fan sites and things of that nature at Winter Park. When I first heard about this meeting, I was a bit skeptical about it, particularly in light of the fact that Pro Football Talk had run this story the day before the meeting was to take place. Don't get me wrong, I love the Minnesota Vikings and everything, but I wasn't a terribly big fan of the thought of becoming a propaganda arm of the team, channeling my inner Leni Riefenstahl in order to help the team get a certain message out to the masses.
I'm pleased to report that what transpired the other day was absolutely nothing like that at all. What we were told is that we're going to be given a level of access to the team that I'm not sure many NFL franchises have given to any of the fan sites that cover their respective teams.
The big thing for us is that all of the writers on our staff have been added to the Vikings' various distribution lists. That means that we're going to be receiving all of the Vikings' press releases and media advisories, to include team statements, transactions, community event announcements, along with transcripts of post-game press conferences and weekly game releases.
Basically what that means is this. . .generally, when something happens with the Minnesota Vikings, we have to sit back and wait for the Judd Zulgads and the Tom Pelisseros of the world to "break" the story before we know what's going on and/or can say anything about it. Now, while we might not have the sources that they have, as soon as the Vikings officially announce something, we will be receiving that news at exactly the same time the "big guys" are receiving it. This will give us the opportunity to get the news out to you folks and react to it in a more expedient manner.
There are some other things that are included as a part of this whole deal as well, particularly the likelihood that we're (hopefully) going to have folks from the site at stuff like the Vikings' draft party and training camp and other Vikings community events. But the access we're going to be getting is the big thing out of this.
For the Vikings to step forward and gives bloggers and fan site writers this access is a huge step, and it shows that the Vikings are one of the first teams to truly acknowledge the legitimacy of fan sites and blogs like ours. They realize how passionate many fans, such as yourselves, are about their football team. They've also realized that, while the more "regular". . .or, to put it another way, less hardcore. . .fans will get their news and perspective from a lot of the normal sources, the real die-hard fans will seek out as much news and as many different perspectives about their team as they can find.
As the site that is the leader in Viking fan sites/blogs. . .hey, as Muhammad Ali was fond of saying, it ain't braggin' if it's true. . .we reach a huge number of people on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Granted, we're not the only site that's going to be getting this new access, but I think we're going to be able to do a lot with it to provide to you an even greater Viking fan experience than we've been able to give you, even to this point in time. We know how many of you passionate Viking fans are out there, too. . .if you'll recall, we reached 4,000,000 lifetime hits back on January 28. . .and, after a month with no Vikings games being played or anything like that, we're already over a quarter of the way to 5,000,000. That's not some kind of Vatican assassin warlock magic, either. . .that's legitimate.
(Yeah, it's going to take a while for the Charlie Sheen jokes to get old.)
The thing that makes sites like ours something special. . .something that the Vikings have recognized. . .is that folks like Ted and Eric and Skol Girl and Kyle and myself are, first and foremost, fans. Fans that are every bit as passionate about their team as you are. When there's breaking news about our favorite team, sure, you can get the journalistic perspective. . .or you can get the fan perspective. The result of this is going to be that we're going to get you that fan perspective that much quicker than we've been able to in the past. We're no longer at the disadvantage of having to wait until everyone else gets the news and processes it first. We'll be able to report the news to you straight away. . .unfiltered, if you will.
I'd like to give a huge thanks to Jeff Anderson and Jon Ekstrom in the Vikings PR department for making all of this possible for us, and for putting the Vikings on the leading edge of the new media revolution in the National Football League, and in professional sports in general. We're all incredibly excited about this opportunity, and we know that, in the end, it's going to mean a better site experience for all of you. . .and that's the most important thing, just like its always been.
So, there you go. It appears that, after a little more than four and a half years, we've officially hit the big time.