A Sports League Leverages Data and Digital Marketing

Challenge

Analyzing the performance of athletes by using remarkably sophisticated quantitative measures is common practice these days, as anyone who’s read or seen Moneyball is well aware of. When it came to digging into the performance of the Web sites of a major sports league, we used the digital equivalents of that same super-analytical approach.

The problem was simple; the path to a solution was complex. The Web sites and digital platforms across the league’s teams—including Facebook and Twitter—were performing at wildly different levels. Our mission was to analyze each team’s digital strategies and operations, to apply best practices—not limited to sports—and make recommendations that would elevate even the best-performing team sites, and boost the struggling ones.

We started with the owned sites. We scored each site on more than thirty separate dimensions, organized by content, functionality, experience, and monetization. We also conducted in-depth traffic and performance analyses of online reach such as mentions and number of authors—and scanned best practices of teams in other sports leagues—which led to a series of targeted recommendations.

In parallel, we examined the way each team integrated their Web site into Facebook and Twitter—a full ecosystem assessment. As part of that we created a dedicated social-media dashboard that provided critical visibility into engagement, loyalty, key influencers, and sentiment analysis. This analysis was synthesized and turned into a series of concrete recommendations, which resulted in traffic increases that ranged from 100 to 200 percent; importantly, half of the lift came from an increase in unique visitors, which meant that our programs were able to both attract new users and increase engagement from existing ones.