April 22, 2010

MLS relaunch provides a cautionary tale

“Best-in-breed technology” and “industry best practices” seem like buzzwords until the launch of your website fails.

That’s when you realize that having the right people and the right companies behind your launch is so crucial. Any major undertaking -- be it a new site or a relaunch -- relies on people who understand the issues at hand and companies that provide proven solutions for features like content management systems, integration with third parties, and the all-important quality assurance and testing.

For a cautionary tale, look no further than Major League Soccer and its new site, MLSSoccer.com, which was supposed to launch triumphantly in late March.

The site suffered systemic failure on Day 1. More than three weeks later, problems still abound. The league has been addressing the fallout ever since.

April 19, 2010

Gannett takes calculated risk on content strategy

A story in the New York Times this morning noted how Gannett’s newspapers in New Jersey have been carrying stories about the New Jersey Devils, written by an employee of the Devils.

It’s a new twist on a not-so-old development of sports organizations taking non-traditional avenues to enhance coverage of their properties. In an era where traditional media struggle to cover everything it once did, teams and leagues are smart to seek out new strategies to replace the publicity. For most, it means making the wise choice to rejuvenate their own Web content.

The Bengals are believed to have been the trendsetter when they hired Geoff Hobson -- then the Bengals’ beat writer for the Cincinnati Enquirer -- to work for the team’s Web site in April 2000.

Today, a plethora of leagues and teams have followed a similar path, including the Devils, who have employed Eric Marin as the team’s staff writer since 2007.