There's Nothing Wrong with Virtual SEC Media Days
We are in the midst of Galactic change when it comes to large gatherings. It's something some organizations are embracing and others are coming kicking and screaming.
The SEC Announced their highly attended "Media Days" kickoff event held every July will this year be done virtually.
No, they aren't the first College Football Conference to announce this but yes, by far they are the most highly visible.
It goes with out saying--the primary reason for the announcement is concern over Covid-19 and infections which at least to me is a pretty legit reason. Kudos to Greg Sankey and company for forgoing the crowd and excitement attached to the event and sticking to good business.
Yes, "Media Days" in the South is a circus all unto itself. Traditionally held in Hoover, Alabama not far from the SEC League offices, the event has grown from a couple hundred Reporters, Photographers and Talk Radio hosts to several hundred fans and well over 1,000 accredited journalists. It's a massive event.
This year the main focus of the event was to be at the College Football Hall of Fame in Downtown Atlanta July 13-16, now it will be done via Zoom or Microsoft Teams or some other platform willing to pay to sponsor the platform.
For all the hype--the event itself as a former Sports Photographer and Producer was productive back when I went in the mid-2000's. It was relatively easy to get the content needed...though it was very obvious things were getting very, very crowded and things would be eventually changing.
The 2010's brought ESPN and their SEC Network and from what I'm told by those who continue to go, the access no longer exists Yes, you could get coaches and players in group settings--but the days of pulling someone off the side yourself ended when they began showing up en masse.
Really there isn't much for the fans at these events other than saying they saw their favorite coaches and players and to get excited about the season. The event exists mostly to give Sports Departments in TV, Newspaper/Websites and Radio---content.
Which is why the decision to go virtual won't hurt anyone.
If you ask me, there's not a real reason anymore to do this any other way. Sure, if there was a way to get some individual time with a specific coach or player you could justify it--but otherwise, why? When I went, I could leverage my relationship with the folks from UGA and get former Coach Mark Right or a couple of players alone for a minute or two, that would never happen now because there'd be no place to escape the 50 other cameras who'd be tailing behind you.
Just because "Media Days" is/has/was a thing that's been done for decades doesn't mean it needs to be done as a "Thing" any longer. Why not just wait two weeks for practice to start and get your sound there? The days of schmoozing with Coaches at the bar or golf course ended years ago. There's nothing they are going to tell you in mid-July they can't or won't tell you at the beginning of August.
Save a couple bucks and if you really think it's necessary put someone on Zoom, send out an invite and talk. It's cheap and easy.