SPORTSHUDDLE PREPS SITES FOR HIGH-SCHOOL SPORTS

By: Jason Williams

Company Signs On To Remake Scripps’ Coverage



from this week’s Editor & Publisher magazine:



‘The [Faith Christian] Eagles edged the defending state champions
[Colorado Academy] 1-0 in overtime when freshman striker Lauren Houguta
scored 45 seconds into the extra session.’



It’s possible that Lauren’s game-winning goal might get lost in the
sports-editor shuffle, replaced by news of the latest Rockies trade or
Avalanche win, and may never appear in the print edition of the Denver
Rocky Mountain News, but friends and family can still read all about it
on RockyPreps, the high-school sports section on the News’ Web site
(http://www.insidedenver.com/rockypreps), produced in partnership with
SportsHuddle.com.



‘What SportsHuddle is all about is celebrating the high-school sports
experience of all 100% of kids that are out there, so that their
parents and grandparents, friends and family, can all follow along the
success of the kids,’ says Matt Coen, president and founder of
SportsHuddle.com.



Shane Fitzgerald, high-school sports editor for the Rocky Mountain
News, couldn’t be happier with what SportsHuddle.com has brought to the
News’ Web site, and credits the company for increasing the page views
of the online newspaper at least threefold.



‘This is a really good local vehicle that you just can’t get on
ESPN.com, or CNN, or anything like that, and it’s something unique to
the industry,’ Fitzgerald says. ‘It’s especially beneficial to the
smaller schools, the Division II-type [colleges] … that don’t have
big budgets to go scouting around. I know that they’ve got our site
bookmarked to keep up with kids.’



Coen says SportsHuddle.com is about helping newspapers create dynamic
local content to allow them to retain control of a market that they
have traditionally dominated. ‘The vast majority of newspapers have
been unable to move statistical information – box scores, leader
boards, standings, information of that nature – to the Internet even in
a flat format and what SportsHuddle allows you to do, and in a very
dynamic fashion, is create a page for every school, every team, and
even every player. And it doesn’t get any more local than getting down
to the individual player in your community,’ Coen says.



SportsHuddle.com recently inked a deal with the E.W. Scripps Co. to
develop similar pages for all 18 of its newspaper Web sites.



‘In print, newspapers have owned the franchise of high-school sports,
and we look, through partnerships with SportsHuddle, to help them
translate that franchise online where we think the opportunities are
even greater,’ Coen says. ‘Because the Internet is the right medium to
cover high-school sports.’



In addition, SportsHuddle.com provides expert commentary on health and
fitness, game improvement, college guides, a ‘compare-yourself-to-the-

pro’ feature, and other original content. ‘It’s a great opportunity for
newspapers to extend what they’re doing to differentiate themselves,
but like anything else in a competitive space, it’s [also] blocking
competitors who are looking to enter the marketplace and take the
franchise away,’ Coen says.



And competitors do exist. FoxSports.com has a high-school sports page
that follows high-school stars from around the country. Several Web
start-ups, such iHigh.com, YeahSports.com, and MyScore.com, also cover
the high-school sports world, often relying on coaches and athletic
directors to post scores and stories, or to link up their schools’
sites.



YeahSports.com advertises itself as ‘a comprehensive global online
sports and recreation community and portal,’ and offers Web-based e-

mail, chat rooms, and message boards. MyScore.com is wholly focused on
high-school sports from ‘team sports to backyard fun,’ it advertises.
Its goals: ‘Localizing the World Wide Web through the high school’s
athletic programs. Providing information that recognizes individual
contributions to team achievements. We hope to strengthen family
values, and build community bonds.’



Like SportsHuddle.com, MyScore.com allows the user to track his/her
favorite local teams, offering ‘complete coverage, beyond what is
offered in your local newspaper,’ reads its mission statement.
MyScore.com relies mainly on coaches and local athletic directors to
input post-game statistics.



A similar community publishing outfit, iHigh.com, provides a school
with a free sports Web site on its network. iHigh.com is partnered with
a large sports-marketing firm and the National Federation of High
Schools.



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Jason Williams (jwilliams@editorandpublisher.com) is the new-media
reporter for Editor & Publisher magazine.









(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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