Bucks Score On Another “First”

“No one remembers who comes in second.”

I was reminded of that line from the late professional golfer Walter Hagen this past weekend when I read the large New York Times story on new Milwaukee Bucks play-by-play announcer Lisa Byington, the first fulltime female play-by-play announcer for an NBA team.


There it was again, the race to hook to be the trailblazer, first in, first place, first in anything… It became even more interesting when in the story was included a note that the Philadelphia 76ers, only days later, had hired Kate Scott to call their games. But Lisa Byington’s story ruled the headlines and the internet, even though both would be starting the season on equal footing.

The hook of first wins again.

Now that’s not to say that Kate Scott is less deserving or less talented, it comes down to timing…timing of the announcement, timing of the placement, timing of the storytelling, because there is no more way to put yourself, or a story, in historic significance than to attach first…or best, heck even last…to an accomplishment. The descriptor never leaves, even, when records are set and reset, we always get to mention the first.

There have been countless firsts that drew attention this late summer and fall…the Washington Capitals first to sell an NHL jersey sponsorship, the first all-female MLB announce team, Beth Mowins being the first woman to call a Chicago Cubs game and on and on and on. We remember and we attribute, all of them with their spot in the narrative.

Now sometimes a first can have a massive business payoff. When we were working with Bloomberg Sports (first to work with MLB in the paid fantasy space!) there was a story that broke about Rowe v Wade and the Supreme Court on the news side). The reporter from Bloomberg assigned to SCOTUS was the first to tweet the news by seconds, the luck of fast thumbs I guess, but all the sources attributed “Bloomberg News” as breaking the SCOTUS ruling. How valuable was that? It helped elevate BN from a secondary tier on cable systems to a primary one, a position that was worth large amounts of revenue and traffic for the network. First to the chase.

Now there are always issues with “First” in terms of breaking news. Some feel that you can correct factual mistakes, but you can’t correct being first on an issue that has widespread implications. First doesn’t always need to be accurate, some will tell you.

However, when setting a historical first, accuracy is importance, and so is doing one’s homework. You are making news, less than reporting it, so doing the fact check, especially with the benefit of time, is key. Also, there are lots of ways to dig deep and find firsts…first in a city, first in a league, first in a genre…so that the value of being first in some way has…well…news value.

Speed and accuracy are hard to beat, even in the business of first.

So, kudos to the speedy NBA Champions for making more history, and finding a first, to start a new season. Hopefully more to come.   

Source: joefavorito.com

Bucks Score On Another “First”