In today’s blistering news cycle, quickly getting information to the public means not only a better user experience, but it also provides financial benefits for media publishers. This is especially true for sports media companies with access to troves of player and game data. Individual matches and tournaments are scheduled events lending themselves to predictable timelines ripe for content automation.

The time delay between the conclusion of sporting events and publishing the synopsis has plagued publishers for decades. Most major media outlets post a bite-sized, Twitter-length postgame recap just to have something for online searchers. However, these posts – which are merely placeholders for the eventual fully baked story – provide scant reader value except to verify the event.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Changes to Google’s algorithm favor original reporting of news and stories according to a September 2019 piece published by the search engine’s vice president of news, Richard Gingras:

“While we typically show the latest and most comprehensive version of a story in news results, we’ve made changes to our products globally to highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting. Such articles may stay in a highly visible position longer. This prominence allows users to view the original reporting while also looking at more recent articles alongside it.”

Missed Opportunities

Other than the time frame in which a sporting event is taking place, public interest is typically highest immediately after the final buzzer sounds. A sporting event’s conclusion is when emotions are highest, fantasy results are tallied, and wagers are settled.

This 30-45 minute post-game window is the opportunity missed by most media companies to drive eyeballs and revenue.

NASCAR for the Win

NASCAR does a brilliant job of leveraging content automation to supplement the efforts of their race writers. Analytics research by the company uncovered a significant interest in specific drivers as well as overall race results and point standings. So while NASCAR writers are creating race analysis pieces and interviewing drivers and their teams, automated driver recaps are created and published for content-hungry fans in real-time.

Take a look at the three NASCAR screenshots below. Notice the timestamps are all within a minute of each other. It doesn’t matter if the race had 18 or 80 cars; every driver recap is published within minutes of the race’s conclusion.

Sporting Event Interest & Information

Optimizing automation begins by understanding the pieces making up a sporting event. Each piece includes elements primed for automation. The challenge is understand which parts are best suited for your writers and which parts are best served by automation.

Here is a brief breakdown of three elements associated with reporting on sporting events and how automation may be leveraged.

The Event Itself
The sporting event is pretty self-explanatory. Whether it’s Major League Soccer or an athletic program at a prestigious university, sporting events are scheduled and widely publicized months in advance. Automated previews, comparisons, and betting insights are great leading up to an event.

Interest in the Event
Public interest in sporting matches occurs in two primary waves: The first wave precedes the event as folks search for phrases such as “who’s playing,” “who’s predicted to win,” and “where’s the match located.” Each of these questions is easily answered through automated content.

The second wave arrives immediately upon the event’s conclusion with Internet searches like “who won,” “game highlights,” and “best performances.” Many sports media companies are already successfully using automation to created recaps whilst their writers are busy interviewing players and coaches.

Information About the Event
General public information about a sporting event typically arrives anywhere from 30-45 minutes after a match in the form of game recaps and scoring summaries.

But as we already know this is too late, if fans want information immediately after the game and you don’t have it they will inevitably look elsewhere for it.

Automation Is Coming, Are You Ready?

Automated content creation continues to improve in both quality and variation. As this technology matures and continues to improve user experience, any company without a content automation strategy will find themselves left behind.