There were two major professional sports victories in New Orleans over the weekend. Neither was covered in the next day's home-delivered edition of The Times-Picayune because such editions did not exist.
On Friday night the Pelicans trounced the Los Angeles Lakers before a sell-out crowd at the arena. It was a great moment as the youngest team in the NBA showed its mettle. It was also Pelicans Head Coach Monty Williams' first victory ever over the Lakers.
Then there was last night, when the Saints, before a national Sunday Night Football audience, whacked the Dallas Cowboys. There were lots of story lines: Drew Brees was a passing machine; Mark Ingram, whose season had been a disappointment so far, broke out and had a stellar night. And the Saints defense was a wall, all the more impressive since their Defense Coordinator Rob Ryan had been fired by the Cowboys last year.
Now, while the Newhouses can read about the Knicks and the Giants in The New York Times everyday if they want to, The Times-Picayune does not publish on Saturday* or Monday (not to mention Tuesday and Thursday); Saturday and Monday are key days – after game days. Last night's game was a statistics fest and today would have been a great day for analyzing the numbers just as fans in any other NFL city can do when they peruse their Monday paper. We know, there's the web, but it is just not the same for those big game action pictures and for investigating the stats.
What the Newhouses have done to the city is serious stuff. When a town's largest circulation newspaper does not provide day-after, home-delivered coverage, it could have long range consequences for maintaining fan bases. Away from sports, some event organizers are already complaining about not having a Saturday newspaper for which to promote their weekend activities.
There are some excellent sports reporters working for NOLA.com/The Times-Picayune, they are just getting minimalized into the web. Fortunately there is The New Orleans Advocate, which is home-delivered on the days after big games as well as every other day of the week. Its sports staff is creditable and getting better. Hey Newhouses, if you care about the Pelicans and Saints, you should subscribe.
*CORRECTION: A previous version of this blog post mentioned that The Times-Picayune does not publish on Friday. The Times-Picayune is published and delivered Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. We apologize for the confusion.