An Interview with SB Nation's Lisa Rotter
SB Nation is a sports website offering over 300 distinct team and sport-specific sites, each with their own writers and community flavor. Lisa Rotter, site manager of SB Nation’s Dallas Mavericks site, Mavs Moneyball, sat down with Back Sports Page. Here’s what she had to say about SB Nation, the online sports industry, and what it’s like being a woman among men.
How did you get involved with SB Nation?
Before college, I wasn’t a big Dallas Mavericks fan or a big fan of the NBA. My boyfriend was really into the Mavs and message boards and blogging so I fell in love with the team through him. He actually made me join SB Nation and about three years ago, I was given the position of site manager.
What are your responsibilities?
I’m kind of an editor-in-chief. I organize the [writing] schedules, make sure content is up, and I have the most access to the back end of the site.
What kind of access do you have to the team?
Every team grants different levels of access. The access [to the Mavericks] has been a surprise benefit; it was not anything I expected. Despite what everyone thinks about Mark Cuban, he’s very open to letting people into the locker room. Whenever I asked for a credential, it’s been granted and I’m treated like any other member of the media. I’m still more than anything, a fan…[so] it’s very surreal. You immerse yourself in the culture and fandom and then you’re literally standing among giants.
How do you feel being a woman in the locker room?
The only difference is that when I walk in, someone yells, “Lady in the locker room.” No one treats me any differently. The pressure I feel because I’m a female, I put that on myself. I want people to take me seriously partly because I don’t have any background in sports. I work really hard at what I do and I do not want people to write me off because I’m a girl.
What do you think is the biggest difference between a site like SB Nation and ESPN? Are they targeting the same audience?
Honestly, I think it’s the conversation. [While] ESPN has their stable of writers and people recognize and know who they are, SB Nation is a bunch of fans – you can feel the love that goes into a fan-run site like SB Nation. We have the freedom to write whatever we want, good or bad. People will write opinionated [articles] about their teams because they feel passionately about them. [SB Nation] has meaty, substantive writing that truly passionate fans are drawn to and the casual fan can take in what passionate fans are saying.
Is that what drew you into the site when you first joined?
Absolutely. It’s the conversation. I started making [online] friendships and really liked that while sitting alone [watching a game], I had other people commiserating or celebrating with me.
How have you seen the online sports industry change since you first started with SB Nation?
Twitter. It’s the biggest catalyst for the online sports writing universe. As soon as I got involved in the basketball Twitter world, I started collaborating and sharing ideas with people I haven’t met and reading their pieces. All of that becomes possible because of Twitter. It’s a whole mass of communication that is wide open.
You can follow Lisa on Twitter @LJRotter and keep up with the Mavericks at www.mavsmoneyball.com.