SBJ/February 2 - 8, 2004/SBJ In Depth

Student researchers sound off

So who are the students who passed judgment on the teams' Web sites? Here they are, with comments from each about the project and what they saw, and their personal favorite teams. The comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Nate Birtwell
Class: Graduate student
From: Pawtucket, R.I.
Comments: The most appealing Web sites were those offering fan interactivity and an inside look at the team. The sites with unique video clips and interviews giving the fans a look at the players' lives off the field were the most impressive. The ability to get a view of the field from the different seating areas is very useful, and I think all the teams should have this on their Web site.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots

Justin Cayer
Class: Senior (class of 2004)
From: Dracut, Mass.
Comments: For the most part, all of the leagues realized the importance of using the Internet as an informational source, and how it allows organizations to reach out and interact with their fans. Some teams excelled further than others, but one league that fell far behind was Major League Soccer. I feel this survey may open their eyes to the many opportunities that they have by using the Internet to their advantage.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Chicago Cubs, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers

Jamie-Marie Connolly
Class: Junior (class of 2005)
From: Beverly, Mass.
Comments: One thing that I noticed was that many of the sites were too busy. I like simplicity and being able to find items right away. Many sites had no search engines. I think every site should have a section for fans and kids. Multimedia is very important. All the sites that I liked best had several audio/video clips.
Favorite pro sports teams: New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Boston Bruins

Brian A. Crutch
Class: Senior (class of 2004)
Amherst, Mass.
Comments: I think that a league like MLS would benefit from using the template approach that MLB uses — especially because it is a new league that needs all the exposure that it can get. Anything interactive is always a plus.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Toronto Maple Leafs

Jessica Drury
Class: Senior (class of 2004)
From: Erie, Pa.
Comments: The sites are definitely an important medium for getting fans involved in their team and also for recruiting new fans. Fan interactivity is one of the most crucial aspects because it keeps people coming back to the sites. Also, keeping the sites up-to-date is imperative or fans will go elsewhere to find the information they are seeking.
Favorite pro sports teams: Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Red Sox, New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers

Lawrence Feloney
Class: Junior (class of 2005)
From: Natick, Mass.
Comments: The NHL's sites tended to be creative and separated themselves from other leagues through their "hockey rules" sections, which thoroughly explain hockey to new fans. The NFL had some very impressive sites that offered endless amounts of content for hungry fans. Although the NBA's sites were more "uniform" than the NFL's and NHL's, resulting in less creativity, most of the league's sites stood out by offering multiple languages and detailed history pages. MLB seemed to be ahead of the other leagues by offering detailed multimedia access to fans. MLS needs to do a better job on their sites; they get little exposure in the media and need to generate better coverage of their teams and sport by using the Web.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Bruins, Boston Red Sox, Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets, New England Patriots

Ben J. Koebler
Class: Senior (class of 2004)
From: Needham, Mass.
Comments: An area that could use improvement overall is interpreting more fan friendliness. The use of personal diaries or journals referencing toward the athletes' day-to-day experiences would be exciting. Also allowing more up-to-date live chat sessions or more frequent e-mail returns with the athletes would draw more fan interaction. Try to turn away from clutter and pop-up ads on your Web sites; it hurts the eyes.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres

Matt Goldstein
Class: Senior (class of 2004)
From: Phoenix
Comments: My overall impressions of the Web sites are that, for the most part, they were well done. In this day and age, there is really no reason for any major professional franchise to be failing our survey. The NFL sites definitely had the most information about the teams, especially about the teams' history.
Favorite pro sports teams: Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, Phoenix Coyotes

Joe Harrison
Class: Graduate student
From: Boothbay, Maine
Comments: Major League Baseball, by having a standard Web page, ensures that all teams have a respectable page. However, because of sites like, many fans go elsewhere for the latest stats and player information. MLB limits teams' abilities to make their sites unique. If fans choose over the Yankees' Web page, then they will choose over every MLB team's page. Teams are not able to have their sites stand alone, and thus cannot compete with the best sites in all of sports.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, Montreal Expos, San Francisco 49ers

Sunny Kim
Class: Graduate student
From: Seoul, South Korea
Comments: I assume that MLS teams have a limited budget on their Web sites. However, as a soccer fan, I really recommend they enhance the quality of the Web sites if they want to compete with other major sport franchises in the United States.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Galaxy

Christopher Starck
Class: Junior (class of 2005)
From: Belmont, Mass.
Comments: Today, franchises have players from all across the world, and team Web sites should be utilized to reach the fans in these geographic areas. Furthermore, for many fans, team Web sites are their only source of interaction and information, and a poorly designed Web site reflects negatively on the organization.
Favorite pro sports teams: Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, Boston Celtics, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Browns

Christopher Valente
Class: Senior (class of 2004)
From: Neptune, N.J.
Comments: This project helped me understand how the Web can be used as a powerful tool by each team and league to be the No. 1 source provider for their fans. Some leagues and teams have failed to capitalize on the opportunity to increase their fan base and revenue through a relatively obvious means.
Favorite pro sports teams: New York Yankees, New Jersey Devils, New York Giants, New Jersey Nets, Miami Dolphins

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