The CBSSports.com College Network year-in-review highlights how our Official Athletic Partners have led on, and off, the field in site design, mobile products, content integration and more. In 2011, we were thrilled to welcome several big-time players as new partners to our network family as we unveiled cutting edge mobile products and launched Digital Networks partnerships with major conferences. Together, we redesigned countless sites, integrated more relevant content and introduced more functional features than ever before. As we prepare for another productive and rewarding year in 2012, we take a look back at some of the best of 2011.
Site Launches & New Partners
Over the past year, CBSSports.com College Network welcomed
Army, Big Ten Network, Minnesota, Missouri State, Montana, Nevada and Ohio State to our family!
For well over 10 years, our company has boasted a greater share of the Big 6 market than any of our competitors. Over the past three-plus years, we have widened the gap tremendously. Here is a look at the breakdown of the Big 6 market among the major competitors in the OAS space (as of August 2011):
|BIG 6 FOOTBALL|
|CBS||48/65 (73.8%)||51/66 (77.3%)|
|NeuLion||12/65 (18.5%)||10/66 (15.2%)|
|Other/Independent||4/65 (6.2%)||4/66 (6.1%)|
|Sidearm||1/65 (1.5%)||1/66 (1.5%)|
|Presto||0/65 (0.0%)||0/66 (0.0%)|
|BIG 6 BASKETBALL|
|CBS||55/73 (75.3%)||58/74 (78.4%)|
|NeuLion||13/73 (17.8%)||11/74 (14.9%)|
|Other/Independent||4/73 (5.5%)||4/74 (5.4%)|
|Sidearm||1/73 (1.4%)||1/74 (1.4%)|
|Presto||0/73 (0.0%)||0/74 (0.0%)|
Big Ten and C-USA Digital Networks Launch
The Big Ten Network (BTN) and CBSSports.com College Network announced a landmark partnership to create the Big Ten Digital Network, which will bring content from the official athletic websites for 11 Big Ten Conference universities, the Big Ten Conference and BTN into one consumer offering. A Big Ten Digital Network subscription, priced at $14.95 a month or $119.95 a year, provides access to audio and video from all 12 schools and more than 500 live events a year not televised by the TV network. To learn more about this partnership, click here.
In addition, CBSSports.com College Network, as part of a five-year partnership extension with Conference USA, launched the Conference USA Digital Network. The network will aggregate content from C-USA's official site and all 12 member school sites onto one platform. All 12 C-USA institutions will offer a subscription package on their official athletic sites, featuring live and on-demand video from school-specific athletic contests and events. An additional subscription package aggregating all C-USA video content will be promoted and sold across all C-USA school sites in the CBSSports.com College Network. You can read more about the Digital Network here.
CBSSports.com also assisted Kansas State University and K-State Athletics in launching K-StateHD.TV. This subscription service offers coverage of Wildcat student-athletes, live games, on-site pre-game shows, exclusive features and interviews -- all shot and produced in HD -- as well as classic games and campus programming. You can read more about the launch here.
Mobile Applications 2.0
This year, CBSSports.com College Network also announced the availability of new official athletic apps for top colleges and universities for both iPhone and Android devices.
The official mobile applications for college athletic departments offer iPhone and Android owners easy and instant access to up-to-the-minute news, scores, live game play-by-play, stats, schedules, rosters and photo galleries for the 2011-12 school year. The new mobile applications are free to download from the iPhone App Store or Android Market. Users can enhance their experience by purchasing access to live audio broadcasts within the app.
The applications provide iPhone and Android owners an interface that gives them immediate mobile access to essential information from their favorite college team directly from the official athletic web site. Fans no longer have to wait until they have access to a computer or television to keep up with their favorite sport.
The free mobile application will include access to the following features:
Live game scoring from GameTracker (subject to GameTracker availability)
Previous game and next game schedules and scores
Live scoring updates
Player and team stats
On-demand video (subject to video availability)
Schedules and scores
In-app alert system
Sharing via email and Facebook (Future versions will include Twitter sharing)
New Features & Increased Site Functionality
Article Page Toolbar v2
Near the end of 2010, we completed the addition of Facebook's "Like" button to the "Article Page Toolbar." This addition had an immediate impact, significantly increasing Facebook referrals. While "Share" numbers remain low, we've seen many articles exceed 1,000 "Likes" - some topping 5,000.
This year, we took the next step with the deployment of Version 2 of the toolbar, providing the following:
1. Large expansion of "Share" options
2. A more attractive and prominent presentation of the toolbar functions
3. Addition of Google's +1
4. Visible "Share" and "Like" counters
Additionally, we have changed the presentation of the "Print," "E-Mail" and "Text Adjust" features to match the presentation of the social components. Currently, 111 partners have received this upgrade.
The following content now automatically loads into bios:
1. News articles (releases/recaps)
3. Photos (via Photo Galleries)
Netitor now allows our partners and staff to associate news articles, audio and video to current student-athletes, coaches and support staff when they built or edited that content. That feature had existed with photo galleries for some time and now associated content in those three categories can be presented in bios.
This is a big step for us and here are the six main reasons why:
1. Meets Demand
2. Increased Traffic
3. Competitive Advantage
4. All-Access Promotion/Activity, Content Improvement
5. Workload Reduction
6. Photo Info Improvement
All-Access "My Account" Page
We've introduced two new All-Access features to enhance the user experience for our valued subscribers.
The new "Your Account" section provides subscribers with self-management options such as resetting passwords, updating their billing information and a cancellation option that will discontinue billing at the end of the current term. Users can manage multiple subscriptions in the "Your Account" section.
All-Access products also now incorporate a "sticky bar" on top of the multimedia player. The "sticky bar" offers persistent links to log in, subscribe and contact customer service. Current subscribers that are logged in will also have access to their "Your Account" section in the "sticky bar."
Consumers continue to desire quality, live-game streams and our partners helped make September 2011 the highest-grossing month in the history of our All-Access subscription multimedia platform. Live football streaming video content helped eight partner schools drive past the 1,000 active monthly subscriber mark for their first time since joining the CBSSports.com College Network. Schools that carried live streaming video of football games in September consistently tripled their active monthly subscribers after the first broadcast.
This is a huge milestone for our organization and the All-Access product, testament to the quality of the product and content, and fans' willingness to pay for the great content our schools are putting in their All Access products. We owe September's sales record to the efforts of our entire organization!
Tornado Relief Shirts
Earlier this year, an unprecedented number of devastating tornadoes impacted hundreds of thousands of people in the Midwest and South.
To help those affected by these devastating storms, CBSSports.com College Network came up with an idea to create shirts that could be sold in our official stores to raise much needed funds to support the victims of these tornadoes.
We teamed up with the Athletic Departments at Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State, as well as with vendor TeamFanShop to provide these special Tornado Relief T-Shirts in the Official Online Stores of these Universities. The shirts each featured a unique design that was closely tied to each school.
Together we have sold upwards of 25,000 shirts for a grand combined total of $428,666, with more than half of the revenue going directly to the Tornado Relief Funds in each state. The Athletic Departments at Alabama, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Oklahoma State along with CBSSports.com College Network and TeamFanShop are proud and honored to assist in the relief efforts after such devastating storms.
New Auction Record
Wisconsin set a new CBSSports.com College Network all-time winning bid record for a single auction: $18,000 for the "Wisconsin Football vs. Nebraska 10/1 - VIP Suite Experience".
The previous high was $15,800 for USC's "Ultimate Football Package vs. Ohio State", followed by Alabama's "Authentic Circle A Locker Room Carpet" at $15,200 and Notre Dame's "Football VIP Weekend Package vs. USC" at $10,000.
Content Integration and Traffic Numbers
CBSSports.com College Network aims to make your Official Athletic Site (OAS) the one-stop shop for your fans and alumni through our integrated content management philosophy. By combining your editorial and sports information content with relevant revenue-generating promotions and sponsorships, our team helps your Athletic Department increase the value of your Athletics brand. Our Editorial department gives your team big-play potential by coordinating related content into engaging and entertaining web pages for your OAS.
Below are a few examples from this past year of how we can help your institution accomplish its digital objectives.
CBSSports.com promoted content from many of our College Network partners. Our schools also took advantage of CBSSports.com content to enhance their own coverage. Highlights include:Canes All-Access was featured in the college football blog entry on Miami (Fla.)'s spring game
Notre Dame's helmet cam technology clip was highlighted in the college football blog
Michigan football offseason activities were included in the college football Daily Fix
Maryland's live press conference for Gary Williams was placed on the CBSSports.com home and college basketball pages
Boston College's spring game live video received 185 clicks from four different CBSSports.com promotions
Oklahoma was ranked first in CBSSports.com's post-spring Top 25. OU tweeted the story link and posted it to their Facebook page, on top of placing the feature in their top headlines and Boomer Bytes. Additional Sooner All-Access content was placed on the CBSSports.com college football homepage.
Georgia and South Carolina videos in the CBSSports.com blog.
Wisconsin and UCLA video previews in the CBSSports.com blog.
Florida State, Miami and Notre Dame press conferences on the college football homepage.
Signing Day Recap
Signing Day 2011 was an all-around success, starting with impressive traffic numbers. We produced or matched Signing Day records in four categories, highlighted by a stellar 23.3% year-over-year increase in unique browsers. We surpassed or matched 2010 in all but one category (average page impressions/user session). Here is more information on select categories:
We recorded 1,666,968 unique browsers. Not only did that number represent a 23.3% increase over last year, but also a 46.0% increase over 2009. We also set new hourly unique marks in all 24 time slots. Alabama achieved a new record for uniques by a partner, tallying 105,650. That total crushed the old mark of 68,806 set by North Carolina in 2009. The Tar Heels and Notre Dame also surpassed that '09 total, finishing second and third, respectively. Michigan and Oklahoma rounded out the top five.
In 2010, we hit the eight million plateau for the first time. Not only did we do it again, but we nearly broke through the next benchmark - nine million - by registering 8,985,440 impressions on Signing Day. We set new hourly impression marks in 13 of the 24 time slots. North Carolina received the most impressions with 693,872, topping Auburn by nearly 300,000 impressions. Alabama, Notre Dame and Clemson rounded out the top five. On the single-page front, North Carolina set a new record with its "signees list" page, racking up 342,102 impressions. That total ended the three-year run of Tennessee's 2007 Signing Day Central (319,154) atop the list.
Alabama added to its unique browser title by taking home top honors in the video category, with its "Fax Cam" recording 59,720 plays. Notre Dame's "Signing Day Live" came in second with 26,368 plays, followed by press conferences from Michigan, Alabama and Auburn. The below figures regarding total video output are clear indicators that live video plays a vital role in increasing time on site (engagement) and overall traffic.
Signing Day video hits: 236,125
Average hits per event: 3,871
Total uniques (GUIDs): 112,186
Average uniques per event: 1,839
Average peak concurrent viewers over all events: 732
Highest peak concurrent viewers: 7,063 (Alabama Fax Cam)
Total viewing time for all events (in minutes): 5,940,280 (99,005 hours)
Average viewing time per event (in minutes): 18
The complete list of video and Signing Day Central content across the CBSSports.com College Network can be found here.
2011 Photo Gallery Highlights
Maryland recently unveiled new football uniforms and the gallery displaying the many variations has amassed 175,951 impressions - the highest total of all-time! Georgia also unveiled new football uniforms recently and the gallery portion of the coverage has registered 92,178 impressions.
Why did these galleries rise to such lofty numbers? There were two key drivers:
1. A rivals.yahoo.com blog post
2. An ESPN Page 2 story
That ESPN Page 2 story also revitalized the Notre Dame "Under the Lights" gallery. In less than 24 hours, it generated 86,294 impressions! It is now the second-most viewed gallery of all-time.
Bolstered by these three galleries, the total impressions for August (1,430,178) bested all individual months of the 2010-11 school year.
2011 National Champions
Congratulations to all our National Championship partners on the CBSSports.com College Network!
|Men's Cross Country||Oklahoma State (DI)|
|Women's Cross Country||Villanova (DI), Grand Valley State (DII)|
|Field Hockey||Maryland (DI), UMass-Lowell (DII)|
|Women's Soccer||Notre Dame (DI), Grand Valley State (DII)|
|Women's Volleyball||Penn State (DI)|
|Men's Water Polo||USC (NC) |
|Men's Swimming & Diving||Cal (DI)|
|Women's Swimming & Diving||Cal (DI)|
|Women's Indoor Track & Field||Grand Valley State (DII)|
|Men's Basketball||Connecticut (DI)|
|Women's Basketball||Texas A&M (DI)|
|Men's Gymnastics||Stanford (DI)|
|Women's Gymnastics||Alabama (DI)|
|Men's Tennis||USC (DI)|
|Women's Golf||UCLA (DI)|
|Women's Lacrosse||Northwestern (DI)|
|Softball||Arizona State (DI)|
|Baseball||South Carolina (DI)|
|Men's Outdoor Track & Field||Texas A&M (DI)|
|Women's Outdoor Track & Field||Texas A&M (DI)|