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Assessing digital media practices and performance for a leading sports league

Implementing a set of targeted best practices more than doubles traffic to team web sites.


A major sports league was experiencing wide variability in the performance of its digital properties—including uneven levels of traffic to the web sites of different teams and visibility on "earned media" platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

The league asked McKinsey to evaluate objectively each team’s online practices and identify new opportunities, even for its best-performing team sites, by looking at other leading sports sites as well as the overall digital media landscape.


In order to understand the challenge, the McKinsey team did two thorough evaluative performance reviews. The first assessed digital practices across the owned web sites, and the second identified best practices across social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

For the review of owned sites, each of the team sites were evaluated and scored on more than forty dimensions, broken down into the four areas of content, functionality, user experience, and monetization. The McKinsey team also scanned best practices from local competitors and other sports leagues as well as the wider digital media space.

For the social network analysis, the team utilized NM Incite to create a social media dashboard to illustrate how teams might manage online reach such as mentions and number of authors. Within the dashboard, the team also looked at factors such as engagement, loyalty, key influencers, and how people associate with the brand through messaging.

Separately, the McKinsey team leveraged proprietary iConsumer Clickstream analysis and other sources to create a database of comprehensive performance metrics that were comparable across league-owned sites and competitors.

Based on findings from all the evaluations and the dashboards, the team developed a comprehensive scorecard and report for each of the thirty or more individual teams and their web sites, including the top improvement opportunities to pursue.


When the recommended changes were put in place, team web sites across the league saw increases of traffic between 100 to 200 percent. Half of that lift was attributed to unique visits across the sites.