The innovation team believes a Steelers website can be successful and, based on the Hookem.com model, drive a minimum of $100,000 to $150,000 in incremental revenue in the first 12 months.
With a consistently good NFL team, a worldwide fanbase, and the possibility of bundling this digital play with on-air sponsorship, it could be significantly more lucrative.
As with any new venture, there are practical things to work through:
How to design and prototype? The Austin-based innovation team can work with WPXI, take a first pass at design, and turn over comps to your chosen developers. If we base it off Hookem.com templates, we can save time and money.
The goal for version 1. Allow us to offer you advice: Create a “Minimum Viable Product” first and worry about pixie dust and super cool features later, after you figure out whether you want to double-down. The goal for season 1 is to build audience through great content, and a lot of it.
Which technology should WPXI use? Our expertise is in Wordpress. We highly recommend it. It’s almost perfect for sports sites.
How long will it take to build? If you’ve got dedicated developers, six to eight weeks, end-to-end.
How much will that cost: These are estimates: Design: free; Development: $20,000. Hosting will probably end up being a recurring cost of $250-$500 per month.
Building a project calendar: What you might want to do is determine when training camp starts, plan on having it completed two weeks before training camp, and use that date to create your project schedule. We’ve taken a stab at it here.
Where do the ads come from? On Hookem.com, the standard IAB units are Double-click for Publishers tags installed by CMG. Your local staff will be able to sell into this as usual.
What about sponsorships? In Austin, a car dealer has bought out most of the site for roughly $10,000 per month. There’s still a little unsold inventory.
Discuss content staffing. Here’s the tricky one. How many writers will you have dedicated to feeding this beast and how much will that cost you? Both in Atlanta (Dawgnation.com) and Austin (Hookem.com), the newspapers’ sports staffs are committed to web first. The print editors then choose from the websites what they think is worth putting into the newspaper. The real question is whether WPXI can produce enough non-video content to sustain a real sports blog. So that’s the big question for me. Also, for what it’s worth, the salaries of the sportswriters are not allocated against the websites but against the print products. The profitability would probably be viewed differently if that weren’t the case.