Twitter has become the world’s breaking news source. (Photo Illustration by Omar Marques/SOPA … [+]
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Twitter. That social media platform where good, bad, vile, funny, inspiring, and depressing can all seem to cross its timeline in a blink of an eye. It’s also become the world’s news source. Local, regional, and national, when news breaks, it almost always hits first on the social media platform.
For those involved in sports – both inside and outside the lines —Twitter is the reference guide for fans, executives, and fellow media. It is scoured daily to keep up on league comings and goings like Francisco Lindor gobbling up a ball at short to turn a double-play.
For several years I’ve published a list at the end of a given year of the top sports business Twitter accounts that, in my mind, have been the best of the best. Whether it’s been 50 or 100 in length, I’ve thrown the net wide by looking at the prior year and the body of work that these accounts have provided; almost always a treasure trove of information.
For my latest list, I wanted to take a different approach. As opposed to looking back, I thought it would be interesting to look forward and list those that I believe will be the ones that will either break news or have their finger on the pulse of news stories that will dominate the sports world in 2020. The list is broken into two sections. The first part is insiders that report on a variety of sports for the major news outlets that break news on everything from player signings to significant news that impact the decision makers for major sports leagues, followed by those that I feel really stand out and offer exceptional information you might find no where else. For those accounts I’ll provide additional details as to why I feel they will be ones to watch more closely as the year gets fully underway.
Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you to follow our own @ForbesSports where stories from the staff and contributors here at Forbes SportsMoney provide you with content daily. We’re exceptionally proud of our content whether it’s franchise valuations, economics, and more, you’ll find it there. If you’re interested in my account where I often break sports business news or report data often not found elsewhere, you can find it at @BizballMaury.
The following writers have a proven track record of being the first on big stories in North American major sports leagues at the national news outlet level. They’ll be the ones that will break the player signings or disciplines; the news at the leagues and club level that influence the professional sports landscape.
Jeff Passan: @JeffPassan – ESPN MLB Insider
Ken Rosenthal: @Ken_Rosenthal – MLB on FOX reporter; senior writer, The Athletic
Jon Heyman: @JonHeyman – Insider at MLB Network
Bob Nightengale: @BNightengale – USA Today MLB insider
Adrian Wojnarowski: @wojespn – ESPN Senior NBA Insider. NBA Countdown. SportsCenter
Chris Haynes: @ChrisBHaynes – Senior NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports.
Jay Glazer: @JayGlazer – FOX NFL Sunday, The Athletic
Adam Schefter: @AdamSchefter – ESPN Senior NFL Insider
Peter King: @SI_PeterKing – Sports Illustrated
Jim Trotter: @SI_JimTrotter – NFL.com
Will Brinson: @WillBrinson – Sr NFL Writer at CBS
Bob McKenzie: @TSNBobMcKenzie – TSN NHL Insider
Pierre LeBrun: @PierreVLeBrun – TSN and RDS Hockey Insider and Senior NHL Columnist for The Athletic
THE ONES TO WATCH EXTRA CLOSE IN 2020
If the insiders are the heartbeat of the sports world, these next accounts are the ones that have content that is unique, always refreshing, and will add information about sports outside the lines in areas running from investigative reporting to expert analysis on whether baseball’s in MLB are “juiced”, exceptionally unique stories around motorsports, to the media landscape shaping television and streaming, and more. These are my favs of the favs for 2020.
Ryan Thibodaux: @NotMrTibbs – Baseball Hall of Fame Ballot tracker
If you’re a baseball fan, go to Ryan’s account, now. Run, don’t walk. Why? He and his exceptional staff of assistants track voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame, provide projections, and help media and fans alike in the know about who may gain enshrinement. Will Derek Jeter go in unanimously? Will Larry Walker get in on his final year on the ballot? Will Bonds and Clemens get past their association to PEDs? Ryan’s got you covered.
JJ Cooper: @jjcoop36 – Executive Editor for Baseball America
Cooper has always been to follow for what Baseball America does best: examine prospects across the Minors, high school, college, and beyond. But his value increases dramatically this year as the agreement between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball is set to expire, and with it, the potential for MLB to contract as many as 40+ clubs. He also has been on top of emerging technologies that baseball is embarking on, especially the inside line on the automated strike zone that could be coming to MLB in just a few short years.
Emily Waldon: @EmilyCWaldon – National Prospect Writer for The Athletic
If Cooper is the driver at Baseball America around some key business issues around Minor League Baseball, Waldon is the one that has done detailed reporting on the economics of being a player in MLB’s farm systems. That’s critical as the players continue to fight for a living wage.
Liz Mullen: @SBJLizMullen – Covers representation of professional athletes by agents, union and labor matters for the Sports Business Journal
If the national insiders give you how much salary a player is going to earn with a given team, Mullen is the one that tells the stories around the agencies, players unions, and how they all intersect. No one – I repeat, no one – has been at the center of this beat for as long. She’s an institution. Ferociously committed to the power of the pen, and one that works as hard as anyone, she will continue in 2020 to be critical to understanding the people and agencies that represent the players.
Jeff Gluck: @jeff_gluck – Covers motorsports racing for The Athletic.
Gluck may have the most frequent flyer miles of any media member covering motorsports. He’s always at the track. But what is truly great about his content is it moves well beyond how drivers performed and placed. Example? Gluck shadowed 2019 Indy 500 winner Simon Pagenaud 12 hours from the time he was in the winner circle to the next day when photos of he and the Penske Racing Team were taken at the yard of bricks. It was a fascinating personal look no one else covered. As the NASCAR, and IndyCar season gets underway, Gluck is bound to provide even more.
Meredith Willis (@Bbl_Astrophyscs) and Rob Arthur (@No_Little_Plans): I’m putting Willis and Arthur together because they have both provided exceptional independent studies of the dynamics of the baseball used in MLB. With home run numbers up in the past two seasons, and then a shift down in the last postseason, fans and media wondered? What was happening to the ball? Willis, with a PHD in and Arthur a data scientist, we’ll continue to look at how the ball has changed, and the Statcast data that supports the findings. Willis has been published at The Athletic while Arthur has published work at Baseball Prospectus and FiveThirtyEight.
Michael McCann: @McCannSportsLaw – Sports Illustrated Legal Analyst and Staff Writer.
While there’s a sizable number of sports law Twitter accounts, McCann seems to dig the deepest and provide angles and details others don’t. From the complex topic of NCAA player compensation, to player appeal processes around discipline, legal controversies that come with each and every season, McCann always breaks down the complexities into a form every fan can understand.
John Ourand: @Ourand_SBJ – Media Reporter, Sports Business Journal
John has always been the definitive reporter around media and sports. Television or streaming, he’s on top of nearly all of it. Media rights have reshaped the sports landscape, and with it, new rights deals are going to have seismic implications. This year, Major League Baseball will be a key league to watch. While FOX renewed last year, renewals for ESPN and Turner Sports are still open questions. Throw in the Olympics, and he’ll continue to be indispensable.
Michael Mulvihill: @mulvihill79 – FOX Sports EVP / Head of Strategy
Before Mulvihill was promoted to Executive VP of FOX Sports, he was their top researcher. And while his data will understandably skew toward FOX Sports programming, he’s one of the best at putting the complex issue of audience fragmentation, the changes in ratings, and how sports all fits into the landscape in great context.
Anthony Crupi: @crupicrupicrupi – Ad Age
Crupi is another outstanding follow for the overall media landscape. He’s also added to my list as a total wild card. In a time when the seriousness of business can have all the luster of sandblasted meatloaf, Crupi is a social media icon for his wit on matters not just centered on the business at hand.
Evan Drellich: @EvanDrellich – Covers baseball and media for The Athletic
Drellich may often co-author MLB stories with Ken Rosenthal, but when it comes to inside info around the Commissioner’s Office and the MLBPA, he is a critical voice. Whether it’s the Astros and Red Sox sign-stealing scandal or other stories, he’s a critical follow this season (and really, 2021, as well) as baseball heads into its next labor agreement.
T.J. Quinn: @TJQuinnESPN – Reporter for ESPN’s investigative/enterprise unit
Quinn may be the “Mike Wallace” of sports investigative reporting. If he’s there to interview you, you’re probably in hot water. He has been front and center reporting around every scandal around performance-enhancing drugs I can remember. Whether it’s been Biogenesis that ensnarled Alex Rodriguez or other stories that are part of ESPN’s Outside The Lines, Quinn is going to be reporting in-depth around it.
Outside The Lines: @OTLonESPN – There is one – and only one – show on television dedicated to sports off the field, court, or rink, and it remains a hallmark of what ESPN can really do exceptionally well. That show is Outside The Lines. A show that many have worried may someday leave the airwaves, it continues to be show to turn to for all things sports business.
World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA): @wada_ama – It’s sad to think that we live in a world where the prevalence of athletes using performance-enhancement through doping requires a worldwide agency, but WADA is it. With the Winter Olympics in Tokyo in 2020, WADA will be where rulings around doping will come from.
OpenSecrets.org: @OpenSecretsDC: Site of the Center for Responsive Politics
My last entry may seem out of place. What does a DC politics site have to do with sports? Well, in many ways, everything. My last Twitter account for 2020 will require you to sift through content not solely around sports, but when there are tweets around it, it’s fascinating. For example, as legal cases continue to come to the attention of the courts, how sports leagues and owners distribute donations becomes a study in lobbying. Several of the sports leagues have political action committees so whether it’s MLB fight to retain its anti-trust exemption or whether multi-billion dollar private industry should tap public funds to build stadiums and arenas, following the money can be found here.