Sports Marketing: How to Get Fans to Your Site and Keep Them Coming Back Live

Getting the attention of sports fans is not simple. Keeping it is even harder given the endless sources of sports content.
We asked experts from the digital arms of ESPN, Sports Illustrated, CNN, Reuters and many more to share their advice. Go through the slideshow below to learn three essential things the pros do to draw sports fans to their content -- and get them to stay.

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Getting the attention of sports fans is not simple. Keeping it is even harder given the endless sources of sports content. However, you can cut through the noise and earn their attention -- and digital media is the ideal avenue for that. Among "devoted" sports fans, 45% prefer online sports, compared to just 33% who still opt for televised content. In addition, 66% of devoted fans go online at least once per day for sports-related reasons.


1) They Have a Plan

"At Sports Illustrated we plan months in advance for mega-events such as the World Cup and the Olympics. There's the content part (writers, reporters, photographers), logistics (housing, credentials etc.) and infrastructure concerns (IT, connectivity). 

Most importantly on the content end: Have a day-to-day plan blueprint well in advance and then react when news changes it up." -- Richard Deitsch, writer and editor at Sports Illustrated, and

(Continued on slide 2)

"We at began our planning [for the 2014 World Cup] in January. I had just got back from the World Economic Forum in Davos where we live-blogged there and formulated some best practices we thought could work at the World Cup. 

The main thing I learned: Don't replicate what the Reuters wire already does. Be complimentary, and color from the scene works best." -- Brian Tracey, US managing editor,


"On we work very closely with our editorial team, probably about two weeks prior to any sporting event we're looking to cover. We look to preplan and have engaging content set up to cover any eventuality of the game. 

If we're working with a client on a campaign, this would also involve a lot of thought about how best to implement that client's brand values into our coverage." -- Josh Clarke, Account Manager: Live and Social at Snack Media


"For the bigger organisations I've worked for, the planning can begin as soon as you have time. That's especially true for tougher locales. Best practice is to split it up along party lines. In some cases, it's possible to over-plan, so the flexibility is important too. 

It also depends on the quality of your editorial team, whether they can take care of themselves, etc." -- Brendon Hanley, FIFA Content Coordinator, co-founder and managing editor of African Football Media

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2) They Ask: What Are We Doing That's Different?

"You have to go beyond the play-by-play and instant arm-chair analysis. For the people at games give people a sense of the drama and what the feel of the game. For others, provide real insight and inside information." -- B.J. Schecter, Executive Editor for Sports Illustrated/


"Preparation and experience are important, but even more important is understanding additive value to the reader. I'm speaking from a sports-centric perspective. Tell me things I cannot see on television. Provide me with perspective and analysis I can't get from the broadcasters (assuming most people are using my live coverage as a second screen experience).

Be a great curator of live content across the web. That ultimately, for me, separates the average from the great regarding a live experience." -- Richard Deitsch, writer and editor at Sports Illustrated, and


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(Continued on slide 4)

"It depends what you are trying to do -- are you giving information to a user, are you discussing key moments with them, are you giving them one-liners to try out at the water cooler the next day? These are all quite different approaches that can be combined, but often it's better to focus more on one angle. 

We had a very different approach for the Oscars (when people were watching) than the Germany game, when our audience was trapped at work, and often (we heard) with live streams blocked." -- Rachel Clake, Senior Editor at CNN Digital


"The key question was what makes us relevant?  How can we distinguish ourselves in the marketplace? Having worked in four different athletic departments, it is rare to be in a place that is always thinking what's next. We wore pink helmets [in 2013]. 

How many schools would be willing to wear pink helmets and how many would be received the way ours were?" -- Craig Pintens, Senior Associate Athletic Director/Marketing & Public Relations at the University of Oregon


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3) They Have Fun

"Any inside, behind-the-scenes type content or anything that most fans even don't see. I'd also say at least from a team's account POV, the team account can have some fun with positive moments, get creative, and as the official team account, that tends to get some attention. 

Some teams for example have used exciting moments as an opportunity to be funny, for example. Timed right, that can definitely go viral." -- Craig Kanalley, Buffalo Sabres Social Media Manager


"For me, I try to inject as much of my personality into my reporting/tweeting etc. without getting myself into any trouble. I think it helps readers connect with me, and my feeling is that if you follow me on Twitter or read my writing, you have a pretty good idea of the things I like, the stuff that makes me laugh and the things I find most interesting." -- Dan Woike, Los Angeles Clippers beat writer for the Orange County Register


"Be less corporate, be more fun. That's what people go to sport events for, isn't it? To have fun. We must make sure our platforms reflect that." -- Marc Cooper, Head of Audience and Content, The Football League


ScribbleLive's social walls and pinboards -- plus our whitelabels and API -- mean you can produce visually appealing content that will stand out to image obsessed sports fans. To learn how we can help you produce fun content that's easy to share, fill out the short form found here. 


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