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A sports league leverages data and digital marketing

Analyzing the performance of athletes by using remarkably sophisticated quantitative measures is common practice these days, as anyone who’s read or seen Moneyball is well aware of. When it came to digging into the performance of the Web sites of a major sports league, McKinsey used the digital equivalents of that same super-analytical approach.

A sports league leverages data and digital marketing

The problem was simple; the path to a solution was complex. Web-sites and digital platforms—including Facebook and Twitter—were performing at wildly different levels. Our mission was to analyze each of their digital strategies and operations, to apply best practices—not limited to sports—and to make recommendations that would elevate even the best-performing team sites as well as the struggling ones.

McKinsey started with the owned sites. We scored each of them on more than 40 separate dimensions, organized by content, functionality, experience, and monetization. We also conducted in-depth traffic and performance analyses of online reach, such as mentions and number of authors, and scanned best practices of teams in other sports leagues. All this led to a series of targeted recommendations.

In parallel, we examined the way each team integrated its web-site into Facebook and Twitter—a full ecosystem assessment.

As part of that effort, we created a dedicated social-media dashboard that provided critical visibility into engagement, loyalty, key influencers, and sentiment analysis.

These findings were synthesized and turned into a series of concrete recommendations, which resulted in traffic increases that ranged from 100 to 200 percent. It’s important that half of the lift came from an increase in the number of unique visitors, which meant that our programs were able both to attract new users and to increase engagement from existing ones.