Tim Panaccio has covered the Flyers for
... my entire life?
At the Philadelphia Inquirer.
At CSN Philly.
Panotch announced on Twitter this afternoon that he’s no longer with CSN, on a day when they also let go of their Sixers Insider, Dei Lynam.
PART 1: The business of reporting is rapidly changing and so am I. I’m leaving CSN. (continued) ...— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) June 28, 2017
PART 2: Thanks to everyone at the network and, of course, the Flyers. Third period ends. Overtime next.— Tim Panaccio (@tpanotchCSN) June 28, 2017
Panaccio is the (sometimes cranky, sometimes crazy, always lovable) grandfather of Flyers Twitter, and we will definitely miss him in some ways -- even if he has thousands of us blocked on Twitter.
It’s definitely clear that CSN is making a strategic shift as they let go of a ton of older, expensive talent. In addition to Panaccio and Lynam, they’ve also parted ways with Leslie Gudel, Neil Hartman and several others this year.
This is happening all over sports media, particularly with companies that have a ton of overhead with expensive broadcast rights and a shifting television market driving their business. ESPN laid off their entire damn hockey department earlier this year (plus lots of others), and just this week, Fox Sports decided to cut their entire digital writing team in favor of propping up clowns like Skip Bayless and Jason Whitlock on FoxSports.com.
CSN isn’t a national broadcaster, but they still pay for broadcast rights in local markets (like Philly) across the country. It’s a similar trend. They’re losing subscribers, and thus money, and they can’t offset those losses with their digital product.
In most cases, it’s also because that digital product isn’t very good. The level of analysis of the game -- particularly hockey, which is poorly covered in even the “good” American markets -- you’ll get from a CSN or a traditional newspaper these days pales in comparison to what you can get elsewhere online. That’s a recipe for disaster.
And if we are being honest, in Panaccio’s case, he was the poster child of that. The Flyers beat as a whole has never really adapted to what readers expect in the Internet era, and Panaccio was the ring leader of the beat.
He often broke news — although with much less frequency in recent years -- but fans crave more than just the news. The analysis provided by traditional writers and reporters on the Flyers beat just isn’t very good. Here’s just one egregious example from Panaccio. The audience sees this stuff and looks elsewhere, because we are no longer in a media environment where you just read whatever your local paper says; where you have to take what you can get. We have options now, and that’s hurting media companies and reporters who don’t adapt.
That said, we’re sure Panaccio will land on his feet somewhere. He’s respected by the hockey media establishment and that goes a long way. Will his next gig be covering the Flyers? Will it be covering hockey? Who will CSN replace him with? Who knows. We do know that coverage of the Flyers will certainly be different going forward, though.