New England Patriots: Going long online
The New England Patriots have been pioneers on the media front. In 1995, they launched their own website and later added their own newspaper, Patriots Football Weekly. So it’s no coincidence that the team is at the forefront of the NFL in providing content on its team site. From video to radio to writers, Patriots.com has a wide range of offerings. The team even has its own content summit (the latest was held last week), where various departments discuss ways to further develop the site.
The team enjoys economic synergy with its media side to produce such a comprehensive site. The team already has production staff for broadcasting the team’s preseason games; studio shows for local TV; and shows for the Major League Soccer team also owned by the Kraft family. Plus, the Patriots Football Weekly staff writes for the site and appears on a show for the local Comcast affiliate, which is then streamed on the site.
|The show "Patriots Today" has up to four original installments during the day, each up to five minutes long.|
The centerpiece of Patriots.com is “Patriots Today,” which has up to four original shows during the day, each up to five minutes in length. Another show is “Locker Room Uncut,” which as its name suggests takes fans inside the Patriots’ locker room.
Overall, the site gets about 10 million page views a month for its video, placing it in the top five of NFL teams, said Fred Kirsch, the Patriots’ vice president of content. And, Kirsch said, those visitors find content that takes a hard look at the team.
“We call it like we see it,” Kirsch said. “It is a testament to the Krafts,” he added of the team’s owners. “They realize fans have a lot of choices, and if you serve them up fluff, [they will go elsewhere]. We are free to say whatever we want when it comes to football.”
Where might the next growth come from? Kirsch said the site now has incremental growth, maybe 3 percent to 5 percent annually in terms of traffic, but mobile viewing is really exploding. While online usually outstrips mobile, he said, during certain points of the season, traffic is evenly split between the two mediums.
Patriots.com also is pushing hard into online radio — radio over Internet protocol, to be specific. During the season, the site offers original radio shows that Kirsch said will get up to 6,000 original listeners and more than 100,000 downloads.
“IP radio is really coming into its own,” he said.