BEWARE: ESPN’s Darren Rovell May Have Stolen Your Press Release

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Yeah, but then again, so is this. So, we’re used to that from you.

Attention all flacks, the next time you send a press release to ESPN, be sure you understand what “copyright infringement” means. Why do we share that bit of professional advice? This article from Deadspin tells you everything you need to know, specifically about bottom feeder and bag-of-nothing Darren Rovell.

If you don’t watch ESPN, you’re not missing much. Here’s a guy that was at ESPN to talk sports business, which is to say he was the equivalent of a beat reporter at city hall who was thrust into healthcare because someone quit. That said, here’s his shtick … and you won’t believe this is his business.

So, here’s Captain Sports Business.

Like any good reporter, his job is to get information, research information, and then source that information. Regretfully, like some unscrupulous hacks running PR agencies today, that last part tends to get overlooked because everyone wants the pat on the butt with the coach grunting, “Good job.”

And that brings us to Mr. Rovell and your press release. Deadspin clued into some deceptive practices last week when Rovell was actually shilling for products instead of reporting the news. It went a little something like this — all on the same day:

Last Tuesday, Skittles (as in ‘Taste the Rainbow’) announced the vital news that they secured an NFL sponsorship with a press release entitled “Skittles Brand and NFL Activate Sponsorship.” Rovell was quick to the scene with a report titled “Skittles lands NFL sponsorship.” It seemed somewhat familiar.


Officials with the rainbow candy company, which is owned by Mars Inc., announced Tuesday that it now has an official NFL sponsorship.

Press release:

National Football League game days are about to get awesomer: the Skittles brand ­made by Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars, Inc. ­is an official NFL sponsor.


The deal is an add-on for Mars, which already has a sponsorship through the league with its Snickers partnership.

Press release:

While Skittles made its NFL debut around Super Bowl XLVIII and this season marks the first long-term activation with the NFL, it complements a longstanding relationship between the League and the brand’s parent company, Mars Inc., whose Snickers brand has sponsored the League since 2003.

In fairness to Rovell, his report does contain an original quote from a flack who pulled off the impressive trick of sounding much less human when talking to Rovell than he did in an actual press release. Good times.


Matt Montei, senior director of confections and seasonal at Wrigley, a subsidiary of Mars, said the plan is for Skittles to become an “integrated part of the game day experience, both through retail and in-stadium activations.”

Press release:

“Over the last few years, NFL fans have embraced our brand in a truly breathtaking way, and we’re very excited that this program will make it possible for us to express our appreciation in bigger and better ways,” said Matt Montei, Sr. Director of Confections and Seasonal at Wrigley.

Sort of sounds like that aforementioned, attention-grubbing person in your office, huh? Yeah, that’s Darren only shorter. Much shorter. Like a troll, only with better teeth.