RT @DukeMBB: 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥😈⚜️ “With the 1st pick in the 2019 #NBADraft........” 🤩💪🤯⚡️🚂🚀🐰😈⚜️ @Zionwilliamson 💰 #DukeintheNBA 😈 👏🤝👋 @Pelicans…

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UT NEWS & Updates

2011 Digital March Madness

Posted by Team UT on March 7th, 2011   Interactive, Sports Marketing

Andy Pawlowski runs a great blog called “Digital Hoops Blast” that covers the world of online college basketball marketing, and recently announced his picks for the Top 4 Seeds in his blog’s 2011 Digital NCAA Bracket. In this post we’ll take a look at the other three top seeds besides Duke using Andy’s criteria.

Full Disclosure: If you’re not familiar with our studio, we do with work with the Duke Basketball program, and believe without a doubt they have the #1 Overall Online Strategy of any college sports program – from dedicated program site, to social media activation & integration, to all of Andy’s bracket criteria outline below – the end result truly is second to none.

Andy set forth the following criteria when evaluating the programs:

  1. Content: What information do you have about your program online?
  2. Access: How much access do you give to fans (or recruits) online?
  3. Social: How do you leverage (or not leverage) social connection of fans?
  4. Branding: Do you develop a consistent look and feel that is both emotional & inspiring?
  5. Intangibles: How easy is your website to use? And how do the pieces work together?

So with that in mind we’ll take a run through the other three #1 Seeds (Stanford, Kentucky, & Kansas).

Stanford: http://cardinalred.gostanford.com/mbasketball.html

1. Content:
The content covers all the basics you would expect and does include a good level of depth, but what is interesting is there is no frequently updated content on the site:
-Highlights has no videos from this season.
-Schedule does not show up-to-date results.
-Noted the players “Stat Line” showed #’s from the 08-09 season, so going on 2 yrs out-of-date.
-There is no blog, in the news, game-by-game highlights, behind the scenes, social media feeds, etc.

The pieces seem to be there (ie player highlight reels, interviews, video section), it just has not been maintained properly.

2. Access:
As mentioned before there is no frequently updated content, so there is no real reason to come back except annually or bi-annually.

3. Social:
The only Twitter link we could find was Coach Dawkins Twitter link noted on the site. (Note it was just linked out, there was no feed). Unfortunately when you go there it is in fact not Coach Dawkins account, it is the program’s feed @StanfordBBall, so it’s a little misleading if you were expecting to follow the Coach on Twitter. The YouTube acct is also somewhat misleading in that it feeds in videos from a general Stanford Athletics acct vs. one dedicated to the basketball program. We found no links to a Facebook Fan Page for the program.

4. Branding:
The site does speak Standford Basketball, and we also found the first photo under “Stanford Life” well done – ie shot of nice looking girls walking on campus, and the 4th photo in the rotation showing the same nice looking girls riding bikes on campus. Compared to the other two programs, Stanford’s is definitely a better overall visual representation.

5. Intangibles:
The site is pretty easy to get around for a normal user. Noted the content is limited by the smaller size of the overall site layout. Also note a 2009 Copyright on the site (ouch). If the site was just maintained better, it would be a more powerful testament to the program, and also needs to activate and better integrate social media in the strategy.

Kentucky: http://interactive.ukathletics.com/mbasketball/ and http://www.coachcal.com
*Our focus is on CoachCal.com, you can read a previous review of the AD site for the program here.

1. Content:
First thing to note this is a Coach site, and not a dedicated program site – so much of the info focuses squarely on Coach Cal. Content is deep and interactive on Coach Cal, but pretty light when it comes to the team and program overall outside of game highlights.

2. Access:
The site gives great access to Coach Cal, but little insider and behind the scenes access to the team and players.

3. Social:
The site includes links to Coach Cal on Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, and Lexy, but did not include any links to program specific social media channels. The site also includes share functionality on content as well.

4. Branding:
The site is well branded to Coach Cal and includes the Wildcat color scheme, but there is little unique design/branding on the site and much is templated.

5. Intangibles:
-Bottom-line there probably isn’t a head coach in any sport (college or pro) that provides this much interactive access to themselves, but again this is a Coach site and not a program site.
-Noticed the site has Papa John’s ads throughout (including video pre-load), and found this interesting considering the support Papa John’s has thrown behind Kentucky’s in-state rival Louisville (ie naming their arena for one) wondering how that sits with Wildcat fans.

Kansas: http://www.kuathletics.com/sports/m-baskbl/kan-m-baskbl-body.html & www.CoachBillSelf.com
*Our focus is on Coach Self’s site because lets face it – sadly all AD sites are 99% templates of each other.

1. Content:
Unlike Coach Cal’s site, Coach Self’s does make a strong attempt to showcase the overall program’s success. Videos all pull from the main AD site (All Access) and appear in pop-up windows. The player bios also link back to pages on the main AD site. The “Hoops Blog” while good content, also links out and actually takes over Coach Self’s site in the same window – would expect this to be better integrated into the site. Also noted the Roster is outdated. Overall content has some good depth, and compared to the previous two it’s a step up.

2. Access:
The depth of content is strong, but not much is what we consider to be frequently updated. It does provide a glimpse at all aspects of KU Basketball, but the real insider info comes from the blog which is at a completely different site – would prefer this better integrated and called out throughout the site.

3. Social:
The site includes sub-section links to Coach Self’s Twitter acct and the program Facebook Fan Page, but there are no universal icon links in the footer or header for easy access. Also not there are no feeds on the site.

4. Branding:
It does speak Coach Self and KU Basketball, but it could be taken to a higher level (see Intangibles below).

5. Intangibles:
-The site could use an overall redesign to  better showcase content (content is restricted to a middle portion of the site layout that has to be scrolled), and also just provide more energy and excitement to the overall user experience. This also includes custom designed tabs on the program Facebook page.

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