ABOUT THIS ENTRY
Multiple teams across Yahoo Sports (video, social media, graphics, product, engineering) converged to create an interactive product designed to help people vote.
How does this represent “Excellence in Engagement”?
Despite this being consistent with a trend over the past few years, reduced tv ratings across the sports landscape in 2020 gave rise to the theory that perhaps the resurgence of the “athlete activist” was a turn-off for sports fans. Although Voting Playbook was a non-partisan venture in that the project did not instruct viewers to vote for specific candidates, surely the project could be viewed as “political.” And if that’s the case, the user interaction is a good indication that sports fans don’t have a problem mixing sports and politics. This disproves the “shut up and dribble” notion held by some in the media landscape, and indicates that perhaps we should continue exploring the relationship between athletes and politics.
Objective: Blending novelty and utility to provide an entertaining product used to drive voter participation among the Yahoo Sports audience. Voting is quite complex and confusing in several states and counties across the country, so Voting Playbook also aimed to offer clarity and simplification of the process.
Strategy & Execution: Boldly refute the “stick to sports”/”shut up and dribble” narratives by embracing the fact that sport is a microcosm of society and thus meeting the cultural moment of the 2020 General Election. We wanted the project to signal to users that Yahoo Sports understands the role of sports in our society and is a strong platform for athletes to share their opinions and values. We also wanted users to trust us as a legitimate source of factual and useful information.
We worked with our talent booking agency to pitch the idea to hundreds of athletes across the country. We used a pilot episode in our pitch, along with the promise of a social media campaign/toolkit and exposure across multiple Yahoo/Verizon Media properties. Those promises were kept as we delivered unique social toolkits to each of the 46 participating sports figures (46 hosts fronted 51 videos).
Voting Playbook videos were streamed 4M times, but what was more important to us is the engagement on the landing page/interactive map. We were pleased with the landing page’s engagement rate (16% of users who landed on the map clicked around on the page) especially when we measured the number of clicks on the state-specific links, which helped users accomplish the various stages of the voting process depicted in each video. 68% of users who clicked on one of those button links clicked on more than one. While we can’t possibly know if these users did register, request an absentee ballot, track their ballot, volunteer at the polls or utilize our information on accessible voting, we look at clicks on those links as likely signs of success for engagement in our democratic process. Social media reach had a 92% positive sentiment (which is unheard of, in our experience) and our potential impressions were 76.2M across Instagram and Twitter. The vast majority of the athletes who participated in the project (which were selected with the intention of reflecting the gender, race/ethnic, orientation, physical ability, etc. of the nation) enthusiastically shared the project on their social media platforms multiple times.
Yahoo Sports, Yahoo, Verizon Media
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May 12-13, 2021 (Virtual)
TRANSFORMING THE NEXT DECADE
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