The Big Lead

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The Big Lead
The Big Lead.png
Type of site
Available in English
Owner Gannett Company
Created by Jason McIntyre
David Lessa
Commercial Yes
Registration Optional
Launched February 24, 2006; 12 years ago (2006-02-24)
Current status Active

The Big Lead is an American news blog that is owned by the Gannett Company, as a sister property of its flagship newspaper USA Today. The website mainly covers sports news, although it also touches on a varying degree of other news topics ranging from politics to pop culture. Launched on February 24, 2006, it was co-founded by former sportswriter Jason McIntyre and his college friend David Lessa; in June 2010, McIntyre sold the site to Fantasy Sports Ventures for "low seven figures." [1] Gannett purchased Fantasy Sports Ventures on January 24, 2012, integrating the site into the digital network of USA Today.[2]

As of 2009, the site averages over 8 million monthly page views,[3] since 2012, McIntyre has hosted a weekly radio program on Fox Sports Radio named after the website, The Big Lead With Jason McIntyre.[4]

Format and content[edit]

The site is usually updated ten to fifteen times a day between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with each post receiving its own title and space for registered readers to post comments. The publishing day usually begins with the morning "Roundup", which provides links to varying news stories of interest in paragraph form at the top, and mainly links to different sports-related stories at the bottom of the column page, the "Roundup" feature is usually accompanied by a photograph of an attractive model or actress, as well as relevant or humorous YouTube clips. For many years, the site staged what it called a "Culture Tournament", in which 64 different sports figures, celebrities or other items of relevance (such as "Michael Phelps' Bong Hit," in which the Olympic Gold medal swimmer was caught smoking marijuana in 2009) are seeded in a bracket styled after that used to outline teams competing in the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. Readers are allowed to vote one time for each match up until a winner is decided; in 2008, ESPN sideline reporter Erin Andrews beat out actress/singer Jessica Simpson.[5] For the 2009 edition, Megan Fox was crowned champion narrowly over Andrews.[6]

Gaining notoriety[edit]

The Big Lead first gained notoriety after it obtained interviews with syndicated sportswriter and ESPN Poker commentator Norman Chad, and Kansas City Star and columnist Jason Whitlock. The interview with Whitlock generated controversy when he proceeded to trash his then-ESPN colleagues Scoop Jackson and Mike Lupica,[7] the fallout of which ended Whitlock's association with the network.[8]

The Colin Cowherd incident[edit]

On April 5, 2007, Colin Cowherd, then host of a self-titled radio program on ESPN Radio, instructed his show's listeners to flood The Big Lead with traffic, the surge in activity overloaded the website's servers, knocking The Big Lead offline for about 48 hours, before the site was restored on April 7.[9] The attack appeared to be unprovoked, with Cowherd saying "wouldn't it be great if we could blow up a website?". His actions drew criticism from the blogosphere, as well as's ombudsman Le Anne Schreiber, who called his actions "immature, irresponsible, arrogant, malicious, destructive and dumb."[10] However, since such actions were not forbidden by ESPN at that time, Cowherd did not face any disciplinary action for the incident. Coincidentally, nine years later in 2016, McIntyre joined Cowherd and Jason Whitlock as a co-commentator on their Fox Sports 1 talk show, Speak for Yourself with Cowherd & Whitlock. [11]


External links[edit]