The Sports Bank Traffic Rankings in Global Markets!!!

By Paul M. Banks

Demetri McCamey and company are all huge in Budapest, as you’ll soon see.

In the spirit of the Olympics and international collaboration, I thought I’d post some some friendly competitive statistics from around the world- courtesy of

Fun with TSB Search Term Referrals

By Paul M. Banks

I can’t say how proud I am that the top-referring search engine terms sending traffic to the sports are for the most part sports related! Nothing x-rated, nothing unsafe for work. It is relevant. This doesn’t sound like much, but believe me, in the world of Google and all the perverts out there, this is indeed an accomplishment. Without further ado, here are the top terms:

[Read more…]

Favre, Peyton bring Midwest Sports into National Focus Part 2


By Paul M. Banks

Brett Favre’s incessant media circus and Peyton Manning’s undefeated Colts have put national spotlight on the Midwest, I discuss this and the future of sports media with Midwest Sports’s Jerod Morris.

(PMB) What do you think about this whole movement towards niche specialization?…MLB Network, NBA TV, ESPN Chicago, ESPN Dallas, ESPN Boston (even though regular ESPN is already fixated on Boston) and then on the internet too with fan-centric sites within multi-layered networks like True Hoop, SB Nation etc.

Big Ten Network host/bikini model Melanie Collins

Big Ten Network host/bikini model Melanie Collins

(JM) I love the specialization. I don’t know that I’m a big fan of ESPN’s local sites — there’s still just something about reading Chicago news from the Tribune or Sun-Times that doesn’t translate to the faceless pages of – but I love knowing that there is a place I can go that is devoted to the Big Ten, and then another place devoted to MLB, and so on.

ESPN gives us the cliff’s notes version of sports. Networks like the Big Ten Network and MLB Network, and websites for particular leagues and teams, give us the entire book. Sometimes you want the summary and sometimes you want to read the book. Now sports fans have the option to choose whatever they wish.

This is good; again, it comes down to who is the most forward-thinking from a business standpoint and can monetize what is, overall, a better (though more fragmented in ownership) product for consumers.

One advantage that local papers and news stations always had over the ESPNs of the world was their ability to cover the local beat with more depth, wisdom, and experience. Now that ESPN has launched ESPNChicago, ESPNBoston, ESPNDallas, and then the next 755 of them that they are planning after that, for the first time we are seeing a national sports media outlet really be able to compete for the eyeballs looking for a perspective that is grounded in local history and tradition.

(PMB) Well, it will certainly be interesting to see how it all plays out. As long as guys like you and me get our piece, I’m fine with whatever. After the whole Favre soap opera, what do you think the next big Midwestern sports story will be to take over the national consciousness?

(JM) The re-emergence of Indiana basketball to a national powerhouse in Tom Crean’s second season.

Damn, I couldn’t even type that with a straight face…although I do think the Hoosiers can be a .500 team this year and I think Crean is the right guy at the right time for the job.

No, the next big Midwest sports story has to be Peyton Manning’s continued greatness. Certainly if the Colts stay undefeated it is a story that will dominate everything. But even when they ultimately lose a game or two, this is a team that has to be considered a Super Bowl favorite for one reason and one reason only: Peyton.

Growing up I used to listen to my Dad tell me about Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays and Bill Russell and his favorite football player, Archie Manning. Someday, we’ll all be telling our kids about Michael Jordan and Albert Pujols and Peyton Manning.peytoneli

Hey, look at that. I just named off the three guys that many sports fans of our generation will look back on someday as the best of the best. And what cities did they play in? Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

See, it all comes back to the Midwest.

(PMB) Where I’m based, Chicago is a good place to start looking for that next big thing, but there are two main obstacles in the way.

1.) We haven’t had a real winner in our history other than MJ and the Bulls.

2.) The people here are psychotically obsessed with two teams that overshadow everyone, the Bears and Cubs. They also happen to be two teams horribly mismanaged at all levels of the organization. Both clubs also treat both the media and their fans like subhuman trash. Your thoughts?

(JM) I think the city of Chicago has wasted its collective energy on the Cubs for more than a century. Sadly, I don’t see it changing, neither the city’s incongruous obsession with the “lovable losers” nor their lovable losing.

As for the Bears, their lack of success should not be surprising. If we’ve learned anything over 40 years of NFL football it is that stability at the top of an organization and in the head coach/QB relationship breeds winning. One-year wonders can emerge (like the Bears’ recent Super Bowl participant) but they won’t be built to last.

For a prime example of how to build a consistent winner, shoot down I-65 to Indy. They’ve got the blueprint…you just need to find a Peyton Manning.CT 00294379E_Sox0628_23.JPG

The city of Chicago has long baffled me. I think I am a White Sox fan in part because of my contrarian nature. All of my friends growing up were Cubs fans and I couldn’t understand it. What has this team done to deserve such adoration? It is immensely fitting and appropriate to me that the White Sox were the team to finally break the city’s baseball curse.

Unfortunately for Chicago football fans, there is no alternative to the Bears.

(PMB) Couldn’t have said it any better myself, about both of Chicago’s lovable losers. I think you might have articulated why I’m a White Sox fan as well.

Readers, be sure to check out Midwest Sports early and often!

Fire tie TFC, another disappointing 2-2 performance

Justin MappDeRo

By Alex Simon

It was an ugly performance by both teams’ backlines Saturday night.  However, a late inexcusable mistake by a Fire substitute let the visiting TFC (Toronto FC) side off the hook.  Thus, the Fire played to a 2-2 tie against Toronto.

While Chicago’s playmaker Cuauhtémoc Blanco was sidelined with a strained hamstring, TFC’s star player, DeRo (Dwayne De Rosario), made his presence felt from the get-go.  In the 6th minute, DeRo scored off a defensive blunder by C.J. Brown and Wilman Conde.

“We’re gift wrapping goals. It’s like Christmas time. If they beat us with a good goal, fair enough, but quit giving away easy goals and putting ourselves behind the eight-ball. That’s the bottom line,” said Fire goalkeeper Jon Busch after the match.

DeRo was able to pick apart the shaky Fire defense once again, this time coming in the first minute of the second half.  The Fire D failed to get back on a TFC counterattack as DeRo sent a beautiful cross in the box, scored by unmarked ex-Fire forward Chad Barrett.

Fortunately for the Fire, as bad as their defense was, Toronto’s Nick Garcia was worse.  The Fire’s first goal came on a TFC own goal in the 14th minute, when Garcia chested the ball into his own net.  Then in the 78th minute, Garcia was caught ball watching and left Brian McBride wide open for the easy header from a Justin Mapp cross, equalizing the game at 2-2.  (Garcia’s lackadaisicalness on McBride’s goal was frighteningly similar to an Eddy Curry box out). mcbride

The Fire had several scoring opportunities late in the game.  None would be as good as the one the Fire had in the last play of the game.  With the game level 2-2 in the 93rd, Fire forward Patrick Nyarko beat his defender and passed to a running teammate.  Unfortunately, that teammate was late sub, Calen Carr.  With the goalie nowhere to be found, Carr just needed a simple tap in from a foot away from goal to be the hero.  Carr hit the ball wide of the goal, leaving 16,890 Fire faithful dejected with how the game ended.

Chicago vs Toronto Highlights 9/26/09

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly against TFC

The Good

Justin Mapp:
He was tremendous.  This was the best I have seen Mapp play since the Soldier Field days.  IF Mapp can play at a similar level in the remaining games of the regular season, he can expect major minutes in the playoffs.

Brian McBride:
Back in August, team doctors thought McBride would be out for the season after having shoulder surgery.  “Superman” is back and most importantly, healthy.  I asked McBride how the shoulder felt after last week’s game against Columbus, saying the shoulder was a non-issue.  He proved that against Toronto, giving TFC fits all night.

The Bad


With only three games remaining in the season, now is not the time to be dealing with injuries with the playoffs coming up.  Rolfe was a late scratch but the Fire said it was just precautionary.  Ward and Woolard are still out, but players I think we can do without.  Although Banner played well at left back, a healthy Segares is a major step up.  The same goes for Thorrington.  Not only is Thorrington a good player, but also provides toughness and grit that this team is lacking without him.  With Soumare gone, Thorrington would be a huge help to Conde and C.J.  With that said, if Blanco is not ready to go come playoff time, it does not matter how the other Fire injuries play out.  Blanco is without question our best and most valuable player, and without him, there will be NO deep playoff run.

The Ugly

The D:

The Calen Carr rant and why the f#$% Hamlet put him in the game to begin with is ridiculous, but I think and pray that the Calen Carr era is over. (Carr’s miss was equivalent to a kicker missing an extra point to win the game)  Carr won’t matter in the playoffs, but the defense will, and they really need to figure their s— out.

NBA Draft Live Blog Tomorrow!!


Be sure to stop by this very homepage tomorrow night as The Sports NBA Draft gurus David Kay and Paul M. Banks will bring you a live blog while the draft unfolds. We invite you to please comment along with us in the threads below! We’re going to be making snarky comments, so we would love to hear yours as well. Banks will be live blogging from the Berto Center (the Bulls practice facility in Deerfield, IL)

Also, you can catch Paul M. Banks on the air in Chicago discussing the NBA draft at 10:30 A.M. Tune in to 1240AM “The Morning Break”, and call-in to the show. 773.792.1240 You can also listen online by clicking here.

Also we’ve once again updated our NBA Mock Draft, which you can check out here

The Sports Bank’s Father’s Day Guide


Daughters: Give Your Dad a Special Gift This Father’s Day

By Jake Fowler

Remember that Britney Spears or NSYNC concert your dad took you to when you were a teenager.  Now it’s time to return the favor.  This Father’s Day, sit down with your Dad and spend some quality time watching his favorite sporting event.  It’s a cheap and unique gift (Dad probably has enough golf balls and fishing lures) that will be very beneficial to your relationship, as long as you know what you’re doing.  Here are some tips on how to make the most of your time on the couch with Dad.


Don’t Be Afraid to Talk

Just because you don’t know anything about sports or the players involved doesn’t mean you don’t have any interesting commentary to offer.  Guys are used to watching sports with other guys and women can offer unique and refreshing perspectives that can liven up a game.  For example, many star athletes are dating famous actresses or models that you may know much more about, and talking about them can provide a depth of knowledge about your Dad’s favorite players that he will appreciate.

Recognize the Situation

Talking to your Dad is great, unless it’s during a crucial point in the game.  If there is less than five minutes to play in the fourth quarter or if it is the ninth inning in baseball- save all serious conversations for a commercial break.  Nothing irritates a man more than having a potentially great moment in sports history interrupted.  Understanding the magnitude of the sporting event you are watching is also important.  A man is much more laid back during a regular season football game in November than he is during the Super Bowl.

Don’t Act Bored

A quick way to break your Dad’s heart is to say you really want to watch the game with him but actually appear look like you’d much rather be shopping for Manolos.  A man doesn’t like to feel guilty when he’s watching the game; he wants you to share in his passion.  If you truly find watching sports unbearable, your Dad will realize you’re making a sacrifice and be impressed you are doing something for him that you would never do by yourself.

Brownie Points

Your Dad doesn’t expect you to paint your face on game day or start throwing the remote at the TV after bad calls, but there certainly are ways to make yourself into his favorite daughter.  Take the time to learn about his favorite team and players so you can relate to him when watching the game or just to impress him at the breakfast table.  Most daughters don’t talk to their Dads about sports, so if you know even a little bit, it will be noticed.  Food is also a path to any man’s heart.  Surprise your Dad by making him his favorite snack at halftime or just grabbing him a fresh beer out of the blue once in a while.
Follow these tips and your Dad will be thoroughly impressed.  You don’t have to watch sports with him all the time, just try it this Father’s Day and watch his face light up.  Dad probably doesn’t need any more gift certificates to elaborate steakhouses.  Make him his favorite dip, call a player on the opposing team a bum and enjoy a great bonding experience that he will never expect and also remember for years to come.

T-Minus Two: The ‘State of the Summit’ Address Preview

By: Melissa S. Wollering

It began as a year-end reflection and future call-to-action.  As the Sports progressed beyond infancy, developing into one of the Midwest’s premier sports webzines, founder Paul M. Banks began to take time at the end of each calendar year to formally address his staff.  For the first time, Paul will get the chance to physically stand before his contributors and give them an update: both on the Website and on his hopes for the first inaugural Summit.
“We’ve established ourselves already in terms of high-quality content and in our esteemed pedigree of interview guests,” says TSB founder Paul M. Banks.  “Now it’s time to do the same thing that we already do, except on a bigger level and to a much broader audience.”

It will be the second time in less than a month that Paul Banks has visited the ‘city with four lakes’. Two of TSB’s contributors, David K. and Melissa Wollering both reside near Madison, Wisconsin. After a weekend of living the ‘high life,’ with Leinenkugel’s, champagne, sushi and hanging out with famous pundits, Banks was hooked.
“As you know, I was just in [Madison] last weekend for a big-time conference,” says Banks. “The Progressive magazine, founded by Wisconsin Senator Robert “Fighting Bob” LaFollete in 1909, held a huge 100th anniversary conference at the Monona Terrace Convention Center with a beautiful view of Lake Monona. It was inspirational because who knows where TSB will be in 2107 when my descendants have taken control of it? The same venue? Between last weekend and this upcoming weekend, it’s clear now that Madison, Wisconsin is the bright shining center of the universe—I can’t wait!”

Banks believes this weekend’s Summit will provide quality time for his writers to get to know one another. With no less than eight men in the same two-story home, bonding is bound to be a gross understatement.  However, Banks believes the friendships formed will forge healthier working relationships.
“We’re going to all come together, have a great time and become closer personally and professionally,” says Banks.  “In doing so, we’ll have a lot of fun as we lay the foundation for increasing awareness of The Sports and establishing sound fundamentals on the business side of the Website. I’m also beginning the first ever summer intern recruiting season for the site, so we’ll be going over that topic quite a bit as well.”
Mr. Banks believes his contributors can take TSB to the next level by focusing on three areas of improvement: content, sponsorship/partnership and publicity/promotion. He also plans to stress ownership of the Sports Bank to his employees.
“I’m going to set aside at least 30 minutes of one-on-one time with each of my contributors and ask them what they expect out of me and the site, as well as tell them what my expectations for them are. I feel that within the first area [content], we are already on par with or superior to any sports webzine one can find on the Internet.”
As for sponsorship and publicity, Banks believes those areas will strengthen as TSB’s traffic increases.  The Website’s numbers have continued to trend upward and Paul credits incredible teamwork for those results.  As for contributors who are unable to attend this weekend’s Summit, Banks says he plans to have the same one-on-one conversations with them over the phone in the near future.
I asked Mr. Banks for a sneak-peak into the Summit’s agenda.  He delivered with a great outline of what he has in store for his audience.
“I’ll give an abridged and updated version of the same speech I gave at on the first day of March Madness. I gave a presentation entitled ‘Sports Media in the Post-newspaper Landscape’ at Roosevelt University on Michigan Avenue. It was part of the Scholastic Press Association’s Annual Conference. I was up against some heavy hitters (as Kanye says ‘really heavy hitters, 87 go-getters, two hoes like John Ritter’) from Fox, CBS, the Tribune, etcetera in my time slot, so I was really proud to have a full-house in my room.”

As Banks witnesses all of his contributors converge for the first time, feelings of ‘inspiration’ and ‘pride’ may surface as he sees his legacy unfold.
“It was a long time coming, but it’s going to be well worth the wait. I’ve never met [our contributors from] Minnesota before, but sometimes they feel like brothers to me.”
Just don’t get the wrong idea; not everything about the weekend will be serious business. Banks has a sense of humor about gathering writers who know how to celebrate as well as they know their sports. He knows the party will probably rock as much as Kris Allen’s acoustic guitar version of Kanye’s ‘Heartless’ on Tuesday.

“Oh, and I’m employing the Jack Welch/GE model for my staff. We’re going to rate everyone’s performance and the people who score in the bottom 10% are automatically fired! Just kidding obviously!  TSB is anything but corporate.”

The Sports Bank Hosts Talk Radio

Paul M. Banks guest hosted “The Morning Break” AM 1240 sports talk radio show on his 31st birthday. To hear the whole show click the icon below