The Washington Redskins recently announced a marketing and content partnership with the Washington Times newspaper. Under the agreement the two parties will work together on offering fans exclusive Redskins content through the newspaper, while Washington Times columnists will appear on various Redskins-sponsored television shows and radio programs.
This marks yet another occasion where a professional franchise and local media outlet have teamed up. Boston Red Sox Owner John Henry recently spent $70 million purchasing a media package that included, most notably, the rights to the Boston Globe. The reverse was true in the case of the Chicago Cubs, who were owned by the Chicago Tribune until 2009.
Inevitably, concerns are brought up by consumers over how the media outlet can possibly provide unbiased coverage.
Perhaps the best indication that reporters felt the hovering hand of their team were the actions of Boston Globe lead sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy. Shaughnessy had been critical of the Red Sox ownership and management, even writing a book with former Boston manager Terry Francona detailing, among other things, Francona’s ugly falling out with the ownership group that led to his eventual departure from the team. John Henry was specifically singled out as one of the main villains in Francona’s side of the story.
Still, following Henry’s purchase of the Globe last year, Shaughnessy, wrote in a piece that “John Henry’s greatness has been vastly under appreciated,” a sentiment that seems hard for followers of the situation to believe were reflective of the author’s beliefs.
All of this leads us back to Dan Snyder’s Redskins, who face ongoing PR trouble due to the controversy surrounding the team’s mascot. While the cooperative content and marketing partnership with a local media outlet seems positive for both sides, it’s also could be likely that the Redskins are hoping to be able to control the narrative in the face of mounting criticism.