By TERRY LYONS, (@terrylyons), Editor-in-Chief
BOSTON – December 19th, 2017 – About a calendar year ago, Digital Sports Desk introduced its very first “Diggies” list of the Sports Twitter Feeds to Follow in 2017. It started a series of opinion columns on “Who to Follow” in NBA Basketball and MLB Baseball, while later delving into March Madness, Sports Business Conferences to Attend, a guide to follow the PGA Tour’s Fed Ex Cup Playoffs and recently highlighted the “Sports Properties to Watch in 2018.” All-in-all, the undertaking produced a gallant listing of movers and shakers in the sports business industry and we had some fun researching and publishing the project.
That fact, combined with some half-million page views as door prize, leads us to the “Second Annual” posting of “Diggies” and our “Who to Follow in 2018” listing with an emphasis on some of the “Influencers” in the sports, sports business, tech and entrepreneurial aspects of the industry.
We present Digital Sports Desk’s “Diggies 2018 – The Influencers,” a.k.a. “Who to Follow on Twitter in the Year Ahead.”
Will the Diggies Influencers for 2018 move the NYSE?
@AmerGamingAssn - The SCOTUS decision on New Jersey v. The NCAA will be the most important story for sports in 2018. If you want to follow the trends, this is the place to go.
@JayBilas – ESPN’s best studio and game remote color commentator is a one-man watchdog on the NCAA. His on-air work speaks for itself, but his daily work online provide insight and entertainment.
@TedLeonsis and @ZacharyLeonsis – Washington DC sports team owner and his son, Zachary, are two influential sports entrepreneurs with foresight and insight to take you through the changing sports business landscape. Their “Be Monumental” program provides a way to pay tribute to influencers in the DC community.
@olyphil – It’s an Olympic year as the 2016 Winter Olympics fast approach sans Russia and the NHL. Former Chicago Tribune Olympic writer Philip Hersh is still on the job and has frequent flyer account working hard along with his online column at Globetrotting Phil.
@opendorse – Want to know how much money an athlete can make in social media? These guys work to partner brands with the biggest names and know the dollar value per post. As athletes voice grows, they are growing to (and the founders played football at Nebraska!).
@KAJ33 – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is writing for The Guardian and shares his deep insight on sports and important social issues. Follow The Capt.
@EKANardini - She’s the CEO of upstart meets disruptive. While Dave Portnoy has been the face of Barstool Sports, Ms. Nardini is the business side, making it all work while tweeting opinions on Tech, Sports, Fashion and Music.
@Nate13Burleson - Maybe the fastest rising broadcast star in football with two networks in his pocket, great opinions, and a fast rising clothing line.
@MartysaurusRex - NFL players have grown their voice; Martellus Bennett is also building a business. For kids in digital. Simply amazing.
@JeffEisenband- Rising star in media; does it the old fashioned way. He goes places and meets people.
@mannyanekal - An eSports insider who pulls few punches and knows his business.
@TheRealNate - Twitch is becoming a bigger player in sports beyond esports, here is the guy who has the handle on the joystick.
@mduggan10 – Women’s hockey will be a player in the Olympics, she has her fingers on the pulse of the team.
@MikeFreemanNFL – The NFL is having its issues and B/R’s Michael Freeman reports.
@SBJSBD – The Sports Business Journal has set the standard and they bring it everyday in the SBD.
@SportsTaxMan - Everything you need to know about sports and the tax business.
@SportTechie - They have built THE following for sports and tech and we’re on board to follow along.
@rscibetti - Want to know about the digital ticketing business and general sports biz, Russ is your guy.
@HowieLongShort – Corey Leff started a morning blast email to inform the masses of the daily news in sports and finance. He’s a newcomer but is making an impact on (John) Wall Street.
@BarryJanoff – The exec editor for sports business site New York Sports Journalism is on the job 24/7. Good site and e-news keep on ‘influencing.’
@sportsdoinggood - Say no more. We need more of this.
@GrantWahl - Best in soccer.
@WojESPN – He’s switched addresses from Yahoo to ESPN (Insider) but his influence on news and transactions in the NBA remains the same. Impactful and influential.
@TheHockeyWriter – In case you love ice hockey, the World Junior Championship in Buff, and need some NHL news from 100+ sources, eh?
@BizballMaury - Knows and influences the baseball biz.
@laurafrofro – Twitter is what she does, don’t we all?
@GeniusSports – Integrity is going to be a gambling issue; that’s their business.
@BergenBrennan – Bergen, NJ sports business reporter John Brennan gets the job done.
@WallachLegal – Daniel Wallach, a Florida-based gaming and sports law guy, has a following of 18K and he won’t bet that on the horses.
@richarddeitsch – Another repeat winner as he provides all things sports media and always has a great list of his own to end the year.
@EricFisherSBJ – Whether it’s baseball or digital, Eric and the SBJ provide two key aspects of the sports industry to follow closely.
@soshnick - Scott is not the biggest in the business side of sports, but he’s a very loud voice with Bloomberg backing.
@Ourand_SBJ - John covers the media for the top trade pub. Need we say more? Okay, here’s a word on John Skipper.
@BenFischerSBJ – Ben covers the Olympics and eSports for the Sports Business Journal. It’s a Big Year ahead for both.
@DreyerChina – Do you want to know about sports in China? Dreyer is your guy.
@lyle4thompson – While Paul Rabil has set the bar for entrepreneurs in the fast growing sport of lacrosse, Lyle Thompson has set another bar that is fast rising. As one of the best Native American athletes on the planet, playing for the Georgia Swarm of the National Lacrosse League, his unique story makes him another athlete brand to watch in 2018
@jesslockwood2 – The PBR is growing its crossover stars in NASCAR like fashion; with sponsors, cause marketing and of all things pop culture. Lockwood is one of their fastest rising personalities.
@JoeFav – His Sunday morning sports business news email blast has some 40,000 industry titans and students and his recognition by SBJ tells the tale as well. Joe Fav is a sports PR influencer and teaches at Columbia U (CUSP) with a weekly podcast, too.
@AmandaMDuffy – Will women’s soccer take off in 2018? Follow Amanda for the ways it might.
@ginnygilder – The co-owner of the Seattle Storm will help invoke change in the interesting basketball market of Seattle.
@AngelaRuggiero- Sports I Lab is trying to change athlete innovation; Angela is the one to watch there.
@Cnyari – Somehow FC Bayern Munich has built a solid following in the US, Chris knows digital and soccer.
@TennisReporters – These guys cover the volleying.
@fichtenbaum - If the local sports version of “The National” – recently launched – “The Athletic” – is going to be an impactful entity in the USA sports world, here is the guy who will make it happen.
@VinceMcMahon – The chair and CEO of the WWE might bring back the XFL. That’s reason enough to follow. We’ll leave it at that!