Wisconsin Daily Develops Online Sports Desk

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By: Meg Campbell

The Kenosha (Wis.) News has developed a home-grown software solution to help local newspapers and broadcasters capitalize on community interest in youth and recreational sports leagues. The daily, a division of United Communications Corp., will demonstrate the application later this month at Nexpo.

Media companies can license Web-based CommunitySportsDesk from the paper and then pitch it to local youth and recreational leagues, which use it to upload and manage game scores, summaries, highlights, photos and stats. A future up-sell will provide leagues with back-office solutions, according to CSD Product Manager Bill Dunbar.

The CSD generates a host of online pages that use filters to determine content for specific audiences, such as league managers, team players, and community readers. Kenosha sells national ad space on the pages, and newspapers can sell local display and classified ad space as well, Dunbar explains.

The application includes a number of features that make it attractive to the leagues and easy to use, Dunbar says. For instance, once a league’s schedule is input, e-mail reminders are automatically sent to coaches after games are played, asking for game stats that they had previously chosen for inclusion. Based on information a coach enters, a lead sentence is generated and the game is posted on the page. The type of information the coach chooses to include determines whether the story makes the “front page,” Dunbar says. The system also can automatically generate eye-catching callouts and game salutes.

The leagues are providing information that communities clamor for, but that’s hard for a paper’s reporting staff to cover, says Dunbar. The system gives papers a way to gather the information while also attracting several user communities that are themselves very attractive to advertisers.

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