Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Football, anybody?

I happen to know that at the News & Observer it's called High School Huddle. What's special about local football coverage at your paper? (Are you listening, Ft. Worth?)
–Howard Weaver


  1. Here in Motown, prep football is a big deal. Every Saturday during the season, we top our A-1 rail with a gussied up box of the scores from a handful of the top games Friday night.

    The special stuff here is our weekly "Game of the Week" video on our Web site. Last season we hooked up with a video production company and an ESPN radio network affiliate to produce a weekly video report from the top game of the week.

    Our sports writers and sports editor took turns each week going on camera to introduce the game and interview players and coaches afterward. The videos were in the five-minute range and were essentially condensed versions of the games. The production team put the videos together overnight and posted them Saturday morning.

    We took the season's videos and put them onto a DVD. With no marketing other than a few notices in The Bee, we sold a couple hundred.

    I can't say officially that we're going to do the videos again this year because some last minute details are up in the air. Part of the plan includes offering the videos for sale in tandem with yearbooks at area high schools.

  2. I know I'm late to the party (vacation). But wanted to mention that in Charlotte, we've raised our profile for high school football to its highest level in at least a decade. We published a 20-page special section on Aug. 17 advancing the opening games. It allowed us to highlight dozens of teams across our circulation area. Supreme among them: Charlotte's Independence High, which has now won a state-record 92 straight games and six straight state championships. The section generated $37,000 in ad revenue. We followed that with the debut of The Blitz, a separate section on Saturdays for the results of Friday night action (created by splitting the sports section on the press to give high school football its own front). We expect this to be very popular. While the following for the teams varies wildly from school to school, I think high school football remains as one of those activities that can unite and ignite a community.

  3. Just to add to Dan's comments above, late last week we made the call to go foward with producing the video Game of the Week. Each game will be webcast Saturday morning, and readers can purchase extended length coverage on DVD.

    We are also creating cheer cards (500 for each team playing) to hand out in the stands and some other cool stuff.

    Eric, Modbee.com

  4. Also late to the game here (sloth, lassitude).

    We have a fun situation here in Eastern Washington. Three of the quarterbacks in our primary coverage area are studs. One already has committed to BYU next year, and the other two are being recruited. We plan to follow them heavily each weekend with video, photos, stories, blogs, etc.

    A few other details about what we're doing:

    -- We'll have our video cameras at two to three games every Friday and plan to provide the usual 20-30 highlights. We're hoping to convert to Flash video by the season opener in 10 days, which will give us greater reach.

    -- We will have an online video show that will "air" on our Web site (sportstricities.com) as well as on the iTunes Music Store. It will come out Friday mornings and will be a news/analysis show looking at that weekend's upcoming action. On Monday, we'll follow that up with a similar highlights show. We will make use of our sports writers as well as coach and player interviews.

    -- We'll create team pages in addition to league pages so fans can find what they want when they want it.

    -- We plan to publish video of entire games when feasible. We did this once last year, and it was very well received. It was a 30-minute video with no play-by-play.

    And we have a few other things up our sleeves that should put the local competition even further behind.