Challenge
Playing with the SI.com brand

Among sports portals, SI.com ranked #6 and often fell behind league sites in season. Turner Sports was managing SI.com and charged with growing the business and developing it as a stronger competitor in the digital sports marketplace. Using primary and secondary research, Turner Sports analyzed the site, its users and the sports landscape to build a strategy for growth. Midstream in the initiative, the Turner Sports team decided they required a partner to utilize the existing research and insights to build viable brand concepts for SI.com and to identify the key activation activities that would best bring the brand to life.

Solution
More, more, more

FullSurge commenced the project by meeting with the Turner Sports network executives as well as the new SI.com team to understand the networks’ programming strategy going forward. With this understood, we turned to the plethora of research Turner Sports had already conducted. Our objective was to analyze and synthesize the research to find the “ah-ha” that would drive the SI.com brand positioning. Not surprisingly, SI digital viewers over-indexed in Sports Illustrated magazine readership. Interestingly, interestingly Sports Illustrated viewers also over-indexed in sports, entertainment, business & finance, and news viewership categories. They were hungry for content. They wanted more than the headlines or the latest scores. SI.com visitors were more interested in sports than non-visitors. Further, the brand’s perceived strengths lied in its interviews, blogs and “Rumors”. Our recommendation included exploiting what made them different, “Extra Mustard”, “Swim” their writers and pictures.

Needs State
Sports are more than simply stats and schedules. Sports websites should provide more than simply yesterdays’ old news. Viewers can go to virtually any sports website to simply check standings, check game updates and check sports schedules. A sports website should do more than simply restate last night’s scores and replay yesterday’s highlights. A sports website should engage, entertain, excite and educate us. It should capture and communicate the true meaning and essence of sports and sports fandom – the excitement of the preseason when fans are full of optimism and hope, the infectious trash-talk after the game, the hype of the draft and its infusion of youth and what can be, the quiet reflection from a dream-crushing season-ending defeat and the passion created from a ref’s blown call.

Value Proposition
Target: Sports fans that want more than simply yesterday’s scores and news 

Point-of-Difference: SI.com is the sports website that gives you more – more depth, more detail, more drama. SI.com is an in-depth analysis of upcoming sporting events and detailed descriptions of past events.

RTBs: We are over 100 writers strong including Peter King and Tom Verducci. We are Extra Mustard, Hot Clicks, FanNation, Truth and Rumors, photos and swimsuits. We are Turner Sports, NBA.com, NBA TV, NASCAR.com and Golf.com.

Benefit:  We take you back to positive childhood memories and take you forward to where pop culture meets sports.

Our “ah-ha” moment, interestingly Sports Illustrated viewers also over-indexed in sports, entertainment, business & finance and news viewership categories. They were hungry for content. They wanted more than the headlines or the latest scores. SI.com visitors were more interested in sports than non-visitors.
Impact
Knocking out the competition

Turner Sports immediately implemented FullSurge’s recommendations including our activation recommendations. As part of the project, we created agency briefing documents for each of the brand activation activities. The Turner Sports team was so impressed with our work and especially our commitment to the project that they engaged us to manage the entire RFP process for potential activation agencies including:

  • Identifying key agencies to include in the process

  • Developing the actual RFP, briefing the selected agencies and securing their responses
  • Managing the pitch process and attending the presentations
  • Creating the selection scorecard and facilitating the selection process

Since the website was launched, SI.com has seen a huge increase in visitor traffic. It has surpassed Fox Sports & NBC Sports in terms of both traffic and most popular sports websites.

Turner continues to be one of FullSurge’s longest-standing clients working with many of the networks including Cartoon Network, truTV, Peachtree TV and Turner Classic Movies.  

 

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