SPORTS MARKETING: MY SPORTING LIFE

One needs news about Arsenal, one is the new Statto and the other is a Tour fan. Three sports lovers give their verdicts on what they consider the creme de la creme of today's sports media

DAVID KERSHAW - partner, M&C Saatchi

Entering the millennium as an e-dinosaur, there's no question that my dramatic conversion resulted from the web's ability to feed my primary dependency: Arsenal.

Football is superbly served and my favourite of all favourites is www.newsnow.co.uk. The beauty of the site is that it sweeps up any relevant stories from all significant news and club sites ranging from transfer gossip to fixture changes. It has also reduced my visit to the official Arsenal site which has too many Pravda qualities. However, a redeeming feature has been the introduction of Desktop Wenger, where the great man himself pops up on your screen 24 hours a day if there's some hot news on the site.

However, even with the web as my principal information source, my addiction isn't satisfied. My partners at M&C Saatchi never fail to be amazed that I start with the tabloids and strictly back to front. My only disappointment is that the fine Gooner Piers Morgan still allows Manc worship in his pages.

As for television, Sky has transformed the hard user's life. The majority of the away games I don't get to are shown live and the coverage is superb but if not, then a Saturday afternoon watching the boys (preferably Frank McLintock) watching the game is a good substitute.

Sky Sports News is another mainstay and six-year-old Gooner Tom and I check Good Morning Sports Fans at 7am. I also think The Premiership on ITV is a lot better than given credit for (Andy Townsend in particular) and was sad when it got shunted out of its Saturday early evening slot.

The other essential ingredient in the addict's media fix is radio. I switch between BBC Radio 5 Live and talkSPORT and particularly like getting wound up by the phone-ins. This reaches an ecstasy of rage with my least-favourite media football person, Alan Green, whose verbosity is matched only by the certainty he has about his inexpert opinions.

And the final piece in what some people would call this media-neutral, 360-degree experience is the pure objectivity and tolerance to Tottenham fans provided by The Gooner fanzine.

The intensity of football addiction might not have changed but one can at least now satisfy the need with a magnificent array of media stimuli.

GREG GRIMMER - commercial director, ZenithOptimedia

My daily intake of sports information is vast and varied. Devouring the Monday sports sections of the broadsheets. Listening to Tom Watt on BBC London discussing Orient's chances against Torquay in the upcoming pre-season friendly. Getting home in time to watch ITV2's hour-long Tour de France daily reportage programme presented by the excellent Gary Imlach.

Sky Sports of course provided the real step change in sports coverage in the UK but I find it more of the indiscriminate variety. I will happily sit down to watch the bizarre offerings of Transworld Sport on a Saturday morning. But I find it slightly idiosyncratic that when it comes to watching yet another Premiership game with hairy hands Richard Keys (wishing he was reporting on Man United play Arsenal for the 100th time this season) I am a contrarian. I would prefer to be pouring over an old Wisden comparing the current England side with the heroes of my youth.

Cognisant as I am of the need for cheap coverage to fill all of those endless hours and countless pages, I still find myself drawn either to the pure facts delivered so well by BBC Radio 5 Live, the specialist press or the high-quality, finely edited coverage as provided by some of the more specialist sports programme production companies.

As Joe, my six-year-old progeny, sits nightly in his bedroom at midnight looking at my 30-year collection of printed sporting memorabilia, at least there is some hope that future generations will not all just wish for Sky Sports 5 "The Beckham Channel" as their most popular source of future sports media coverage. For Joe, of course, there is no hope.

Finally, in this age of the ubiquitous media-neutrality question, I am reassured that, of course, the armchair sports fan can add a new communication channel to their media mix -what marketers and media planners now call event marketing. I still call it buying a ticket. Oh, and a programme of course.

CAMILLA HARRISSON - deputy MD, Wieden & Kennedy London

A million people line the roads on some mountain stages of the Tour de France, so you'd think there would be some decent terrestrial coverage in the UK. But ITV1 showed only the odd highlight programme taken from the pitiful coverage on ITV2. So, as ever, it was up to Eurosport to do the honours.

David Duffield heads the commentary team with his legendary style combining an encyclopedic knowledge of the event, a boundless enthusiasm for cycling and a plentiful supply of the most pointless anecdotes known to man. It's a heady mix.

At Duffield's side is Sean Kelly - a full-on competitor turned gentle observer who's been there and done it: he competed in 14 Tours and won the Green Jersey four times. If you've ever watched The Tour, you'll know how special this is.

This year, the coverage was a huge improvement on previous Tours. The commentary was punctuated with all sorts of new gizmos: virtual-reality profiles of the route, analyses by gradient of each climb and descent and, most fascinating of all, heart rate monitor readouts from some of the riders during each stage. This kind of detail is manna from cycling heaven and it's also proof (if proof were needed) that these guys are the most extraordinary athletes on the planet.

And for just a handful, it's about winning. For most, it's about being part of a team. Sacrificing yourself for your team leader, burying yourself to lead out your sprinter, and doing the same tomorrow. And the next day. And the next.

And this is over 21 days; 3,500 kilo-metres in distance and some 21 climbs so punishing that a small car would struggle. Horrific crashes. Glorious sprints. Awesome bravery. Mind-numbing monotony. Unbelievable teamwork. Incredible, superhuman achievement.

Eurosport brings you all this. Live. Every day. And for that, you've just got to love it.

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