SXSW 2013: The Sports Tightrope: Balancing Your Content

Richard Clarke
Managing Editor
Arsenal Media Group

Presentation Description

Official websites are now a major player in the sporting landscape. Sports teams now see themselves as media organizations – offering news that competes with more traditional outlets such as print and television. (And they both have enough problems as it is.)

I am the Managing Editor for one of the world’s most famous soccer clubs. Arsenal Football Club pride themselves on history, tradition and integrity as much as on-field success.

We have also developed highly-successful digital and social media strategies. Our numbers stack up alongside the most successful sporting franchises in the world.

We certainly engage with our fans. But, in the modern world, what form should that engagement take?

Is the ‘homer’ now transparent and irrelevant?

Or, in a digital world in which Twitter has lifted speculation, snap-judgment and bar-room debate (forever the currency of the sports fan) on to a higher plane, is it more important than ever?

That is the question I will explore.

Presentation Notes

How do you make an official site, such as a sports website, meet the demands of the digital age? At what point does an editorial draw the line at social media? With football fans, there isn’t any financial return, it’s not just engagement, it’s love for the game. They want immediate knowledge and data, and they want it now. Is Twitter the answer? How do we balance it correctly?

The position of the Optimist/Realist. We’ve already got the person who we’ll be writing for, but we’ll need a Balance between Cheerleading (hooray!) and Hardening (negative feedback). Optimist/Realist is somewhere between being Balanced and Cheerleading. If you, however, are in the middle like that then you’re lacking a certain amount of residence for those fans who want the Balanced approach. Taking a Balanced position over an Optimist/Realist approach seems better for Arsenal as that’s what the fans want.

First and Formost. Arsenal focuses on Formost as they aim to try and sign players on before it gets out on Twitter, and then be the ones who announce the update before it has begun to spread, but that hardly ever happens. They are the legitimating site, which confirms what really just happened. Thus, they are Formost.

Posted in SXSW 2013.

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