Sports fans are beneficiaries of media competition

    Having competition is beneficial to everyone, except for those who do not want to compete or for the complacent. That is the very fabric of athletics and business.
   And in a city that loves and craves reading the sports sections, especially at this time of year, the competition between the Nola Media group, which offers home delivery of The Times-Picayune on a three-times-per-week basis to bolster its nola.com website, and the new New Orleans Advocate can only make prep sports coverage better.
    It had better, or a newspaper, which was at one time the flagship publication of Louisiana, will yield to a competitor that has been an establishment in Baton Rouge and its surrounding areas for decades.
    Since businessman John Georges has purchased the (Baton Rouge) Advocate and opened a branch here to give New Orleans its daily paper back, high school sports coverage has slowly taken hold. The Advocate sports staff didn’t hit the ground running. They are sprinting, and their momentum has far exceeded early expectations by everyone, including the T-Pers.
    A case in point:
    On Sept. 27, Jesuit played a football game against an old rival, Pensacola (which the Blue Jays won, 28-7), at Tad
Gormley Stadium. On the day before the game, Jesuit athletic director David Moreau said he was informed by a sports staffer of the T-P that the game would not be covered by a reporter or photographer, and asked Moreau to provide information to its sports department following the game.
    Moreau did better than that. The Jesuit AD paid a freelance reporter to write a proper game story on the football team’s behalf for the Times-Picayune and its website. Moreau, who believes Blue Jay parents, students and fans deserve more than game notes, used part of the gate receipts to pay for the coverage.
    The Advocate had both a reporter and photographer at Gormley to record the resumption of this historic rivalry.         How times have changed.
    The Times-Picayune is available daily in newsstands as “T-P Street.” It sells for 75 cents. But if you want to read about all the Friday prep action and college football previews in the Saturday street edition, you’ll get a dose of sticker shock. The paper is labeled “Early Sunday Edition” and costs $2. Does anyone always carry eight quarters to put into a coin slot that may or may not work?
    As the T-P had traditionally done prior to its reinvention in 2012, the Advocate includes statistical boxes for all key prep football games, something the local newspaper had stopped in favor of luring readers to its website. Now, I’ve noticed more stat boxes included when the paper arrives on Sundays.
    Websites are an important source of social communications. And locally there are a handful of sites that do an outstanding job of reporting high school sports, including sportsnola.com, riverparish football.com, the new nola catholicleague.com, theadvo cate.com, and, yes, nola.com.         Unfortunately, not everyone owns a computer or prefers to ferret through web pages to find information when it could be there in print for all to see.       
    Yes, competition is good for everyone, and I believe the New York owners who brought what they thought were fresh ideas to the future of journalism, are finally conceding that a significant number of home grown sports fans love the traditional establishment and are turned off  to radical change. That’s what makes us unique.
Rivalry Week
    As the high school football season reaches the halfway point, fans may now look forward to the new beginning of the Catholic League.
    And the district’s six athletic directors and head coaches chose the weekend of Oct. 10-12 for their “rivalry games.”
    The weekend kicks off on Oct. 10 with the “Battle of the Archbishops,” Shaw and Rummel, at Hoss Memtsas Stadium ay 7 p.m.
    Rummel, the reigning Class 5A champion, holds a scant 24-23 lead in this series, which began in 1963 and whose prize is a colorful megaphone.
    The meg has been in Rummel’s care since 2010, the last time a tropical storm threat did not force cancellation. Rummel won that year, 28-26.
    The 93rd renewal of the state’s oldest rivalry, matching Jesuit and Holy Cross, will take place on Oct. 11 at Tad Gormley Stadium. Kickoff is at 7:15 p.m.
    Jesuit holds a 54-37-1 series lead and has had its way with the Tigers in recent years. However, this time Holy Cross has the tools to gain a measure of revenge.
    And on Oct. 12 it’s the “Battle for Gentilly,” matching St. Augustine and Brother Martin in a neighborhood rivalry that dates back to 1969.
    The series is tied at 29-29 following the Purple Knights’ 59-7 rout of the Crusaders last season. Tad Gormley will host the game at 2:30 p.m.
Notables
    ➤ Congratulations to Archbishop Shaw head football coach Scott Bairnsfather, who notched his 100th coaching victory on Saturday when his Eagles defeated Higgins, 35-6.   
    ➤ Remember the name Molly Ambrose. The petite placekicker for Pensacola High became the first girl to score a point against Jesuit in its football history on Sept. 27.
    Ron Brocato may be reached at rbrocato@clarionherald.org.   

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