For a kid who grew up in Kansas with beef, basketball and Bob Dole, things like boxing and UFC are a little out there for me. But I have to admit that I enjoy them. And it’s obvious that a whole lot of lasvegassun.com readers love them, as well.
As I have written about before, UFC seems very much like Las Vegas’ major-league sports franchise to me.
And though its relationship is different with the city, boxing absolutely has the same vibe to it.
I know that with just about 18 months under my belt I’m very much a newbie to Nevada, but I still love to go to the Strip on Fight Night because the atmosphere in Vegas when a championship fight is in town is a little like being in Lawrence during the Final Four — only it’s more than just kids who grew up in the Great Plains.
The diversity you see in Las Vegas for big fights is amazing and completely cool. And the diverse ways we try to cover Fight Night in Vegas is equally cool to me.
We definitely pull out all the stops, and the traffic numbers to this content are through the roof.
For this past weekend’s Pacquiao-Cotto fight, lasvegassun.com broke every weekend record we had and even through Monday evening our fight coverage was still the most-viewed content on our site.
I’m going to go into our pre-fight coverage in more detail a little later this week with a blog entry about video on newspaper sites, so, for the purposes of today’s post, I’m going to focus more on the 12 hours before the fight and the 12 hours after last weekend’s big boxing title fight.
On the new-media side, Brett and Ryan handled the live coverage duties — Brett kept the live blog updated (which was the most-read story on our site all weekend) and Ryan kept our Twitter feed humming.
Here is a look at the blog page where you can see how we referenced our Twitter feed:
Here is a look at how we integrated the live Twitter feed directly into our live blog page:
And here is a look at our fighting page on Twitter:
But it was the Sun’s post-fight coverage that really kicked some serious backside. And it worked on all levels — the right stories along with extremely well-done multimedia (video, photo, audio) that crossed platforms, with great reader interactivity (poll, comments, etc…) … all done in an incredibly timely fashion.
This was news coverage that was “of” the web, not just posted “on” the web.
First, there was Brett Okamoto’s amazing lead story — which wasn’t really a traditional post-fight story. In the print world, it would likely be called a “second-day” story, but because Brett had been live-blogging the entire fight, the fight had been covered.
The real story was what would happen next, and Brett instinctively knew that was the story we should be telling.
Now, look at the above story’s online story page and see how all of the multimedia elements are so prominently played on it:
So, you have Brett’s very well-done story.
Then layer in Christine Killimayer’s amazing fight video.
Then layer in that the Sun probably has one of the best boxing photographers in the country with Steve Marcus, and you have photos that really help tell the story. Plus, they just look frickin’ cool.
And finally, layer in the Sun’s post-fight audio podcast — which was posted hours before anyone actually received their Sunday newspaper and featured Brett, Ryan and Christine talking in-depth about the the fight.
I’m no futurist. That being said, no one can tell me that in a world where ESPN is now trying to take over newspapers’ local sports franchises that our industry’s online coverage shouldn’t be looking a helluva lot more like what is outlined above.
Or at the very least, like KUsports.com’s coverage of the Kansas Jayhawks, circa 2004.
As Las Vegas Sun president and editor Brian Greenspun said about a year ago, in the future he hopes people might say “My God, the Las Vegas Sun was so much closer to right than they were to wrong, and we all better jump on board.”
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