The New York sports scene is big — not to mention jam-packed. So when it came to creating the Newsday Sports app in the market with the most pro teams, our goal was simple: distinguish ourselves from the many other sports apps already on the market.
We found that most media outlets still made readers hop from one section front to another to get the information they really wanted, cluttering their screens with stories about teams they couldn’t care less about.
The key to our app was to let the sports fan determine his or her own experience.
Most sports fans in New York, and across the country, like a team or two in multiple sports. In a crowded media landscape beyond just the app world, why make a user go to Point A to get some news, then Point B for other news, then Point C, D, etc.?
Our thinking was, “How about we give the user the opportunity to choose what they want, where they want it?”
Serving the “super fan”
For example, say a fan liked the Mets, the Giants, and the Knicks. That user could choose to opt into just those three teams and have it all feed into one section front, effectively filtering out what they don’t want to see.
We then took it a step further by making it even easier for that same “super fan” to follow a team with specific scores and stats on the story level, as well as a customised, team-specific Twitter feed, with accounts from beat writers, teams and players. With one tap of their screen, users now had the chance to buy tickets to an upcoming game, as well as access to information about a specific stadium.
We went very local
We bridged the New York and Long Island area with Newsday’s deep and rich sports content in a highly personalised app that keeps the local sports lover informed on the nine professional teams plus high school scores from their neighbourhoods and alma maters.
Keeping those same super fans in mind, we added a national level to the app as well. What if they want to follow the Golden State Warriors’ record-setting season or have the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott on their fantasy team? Why force them to go elsewhere? The Newsday Sports App easily allows users to add those teams to their favourites list and get all their information in one place.
With an easy-to-use preference center, users can also choose which teams they want to receive alerts for. We learned from our metrics that users went along for the ride with national stories, especially during the playoffs. The Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers were among the most favoured national teams during the NBA playoffs, and the Chicago Cubs topped the list during the MLB playoffs.
The first iteration of our sports app launched on iOS and Android platforms last year on Memorial Day weekend — just in time for the Mets’ 30-year celebration of its 1986 World Series championship team.
Users now have the option of logging into the app to customise their news feeds or just use it for top news and scores. Keeping with our goal of allowing users to have the choice in how they get the content they want, we were also able to include the sports section of the newspaper in a downloadable form, which was a big hit as well:
- Since its launch, on a daily and monthly basis, close to 90% of the most-viewed items on the app involve one of the local pro or high school teams.
- The addition of the customised high school section helped grow views by more than 20%.
- In 2016, 30% of visits lasted between one and five minutes, representing 35% of traffic. In 2017, 32% of visits lasted between one and five minutes, representing 38% of traffic.
What’s next for the app? We’ll continue to aggressively target New York sports fans and deliver high-quality content about the teams and events our users love.