Episode 94 Snippets: Dave Krikst Helps TSN Find Social Wins With Authentic Voice and Content

On episode 94 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Dave Krikst, Head of Social Media for TSN, Managing Editor of BarDown.com, Producer.

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

2017 #SportsPRSummit Recap

The fifth annual Sports PR Summit was held May 23 in New York at Players’ Tribune, bringing together leaders from the sports media and business world.

This is a collection of the best insights and quotes shared via Twitter from the event. Thanks to everyone whose tweets helped fuel this recap and to Brian Berger for putting together the event for five years now!

Episode 94: Dave Krikst is Cooking Up Content and Personality for Canada and TSN

Listen to episode 94 of the Digital and Social Media Sports podcast, with Dave Krikst, Head of TSN Social Media Content, Managing Editor of BarDown.com, Producer.


60 minute duration. Show format contains separate parts. Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or listen on Stitcher

Posted by Neil Horowitz Follow me on Twitter @njh287   Connect on LinkedIn

Content Takeaways of Sampling Sports Illustrated’s Everest VR Series

Virtual reality content seeks to transport users to another place. Put on a VR headset and the world is transformed around you and, at least for me, stimulates a desire to look around. It’s part FOMO and part exploration. As with most video content, one is, well, watching it. But it can be powerful to feel a part of it all, an active participant, too, in VR or with any content.

The Everest Series on the Life VR app (part of Sports Illustrated) is a VR documentary, first and foremost. Between watching that, amid other VR experiences, there are a couple key things I learned about content, in general: The periphery can be cool and treat users like they’re there with you.

Immersion means taking in the surroundings

While the mountain climbing, the high suspension bridges, the ice and waterfalls, were all cool, one part of Everest that stood out to me more than anything was so simple. It was walking down the streets of Nepal. The chance to see average people walking down the street, the shops and traffic; the overall scene of a foreign place.

It was the little things that mattered most – experienced only by actively looking around. What are fans missing out on, what can you show them that they’ve never seen before? Maybe it’s a unique knick-knack in a player’s locker, the hustle-bustle of players and staff and equipment managers for a hurried trip to the airport, the lunch being served after practice and the music playing in the locker room during lunch.

Give a first person perspective of the second-hand content typically being produced. And share the details, little by little.

Make Fans Feel There and Present

One of the most valuable takeaways I’ve had with VR is the power of eye contact. Of the subject looking at you like you’re there and part of it all. It was one thing to be a fly on the wall for some of the conversations on the climb at Everest, but I know it would’ve taken things to another level if the climber was talking to me, the Nepalese Sherpa looking me right in the eye, telling a story or giving a tip.

Everywhere in social and digital media, there is increasing proliferation of live video, and the opportunity for it to be and feel interactive is great. Invite fans into the content with you – show them around, talk to them, enhance the feeling of being there.

The bar for content is constantly being raised and fans these days value deeper engagement with content. Whether it’s VR or not, transporting fans to the surroundings and making them part of the story can deliver amazing experiences with content.

Build Fans For Life, Not A Consumer For A Day

We’re all after social media ROI. Consider the following two examples, coming from my own experience with my family.

Case #1: While working for the Anaheim Ducks Hockey Club, my mom, predictably, became a big fan of the team and a newcomer as an NHL fan, in general. She watched or attended just about every game, never missed a web story or social media post or video, and soon owned enough Ducks outfits and memorabilia for every day of the week, and then some. I have since moved on from the Ducks in my career, but my mom remains a fan of the Ducks. A superfan.
She still never misses a game or online post and her friends and family now know how big a Ducks fan she is. It is a constant source of conversation and, more often than not, she is wearing some Ducks swag. As a result, her siblings and nieces and nephews have attended games and consumed Ducks content and bought Ducks merchandise. Same goes for many of her friends and their families.
If you can find just a few dozen fans as evangelizing and dedicated as your mom, it can go a long way, even if the exact path of ROI is hazy, at best.


Case #2: My brother and one of my best friends have long been San Diego Chargers fans, often attending one game each season (I’m a Raiders fan, myself). For years, they talked about the team daily, consumed content, purchased merchandise, and watched every play of every game. As they grew up and started pulling in a higher wage/salary, finding themselves with disposable income, one of their first considerations was Chargers season tickets. With fantasy, daily conversations and articles and TV, a plethora of factors went into what ultimately become season ticket purchases years down the road. The path to ROI here is no more linear than that of the aforementioned case with my mom.

While ads and conversions are more track-able than ever, the fact remains that 85% of digital ad clicks come from just 7% of online users and, with “fat finger syndrome,” many ad clicks come by accident. While advertising is becoming more personalized, contextualized, and optimized, the touch points a fan has with an organization are innumerable, rendering the path to ROI very sinuous.

We’re living between a rock and a hard place as social media and content marketing managers are increasingly charged to show short-term ROI, despite playing in a long-term game. Metrics can tell a lot. They can inform strategy, resource allocation, and messaging. But building fans that think and talk about your team/brand daily, that wear your gear, that proselytize on your behalf — this is the ultimate ROI for social media, even if it isn’t shown this year, let alone this week.

Perhaps Nebraska Huskers’ Director of Digital Media Kelly Mosier said it best at the recent Q1 Sports Fan Engagement Conference, noting that their goal is to create fans who think about nothing but the team “from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep…”
You can sell one ticket today or create an evangelizing, swag-wearing season ticket holder of tomorrow. The ROI is there. It’s up to you frame it and tell the story that appreciates the short-term results, but makes its hay on creating fans for life.

Episode 93 Snippets: Jim Caple keeps chasing & telling good stories in a crowded sports media world

On episode 93 of the Digital and Social Media Sports Podcast, Neil chatted with Jim Caple, Sportswriter formerly of ESPN & the St. Paul Pioneer Press

What follows are some snippets from the episode. Click Here to listen to the full episode or check it out and subscribe in iTunes or Stitcher.

Posted by Neil Horowitz

Follow me on Twitter @njh287 Connect on LinkedIn

Lessons from Sports Illustrated’s Special Augmented Reality Issue

For about a decade now, may of us have been walking around with mini computers in our pockets. Access to media, to information, to apps, to, well the World Wide Web. So the question for content producers and brands becomes – how can that mini computer be utilized to add to experiences.

Augmented reality – and how it uses the phone’s camera to bring up content based on trigger recognition of physical objects. Pictures can literally come to life. For the most part, AR is being used to trigger content delivery, to be overlayed in the real world using the camera.

You have likely seen AR in the Pokemon Go App, and it is now making inroads in sports and sports media more than ever. From bringing up interactive games to supplemental info and content, AR is allowing content to be found and enjoyed using nothing more than the phone’s camera and some trigger.

I recently checked out an AR-fueled edition of the Sports Illustrated magazine. While their print sales have no doubt fallen over the years, they’re bringing more value by making their magazine come to life, and delivering content that goes beyond just the pages in the mag. The use of AR should evolve quickly, but here are a couple of takeaways from the SI experience (which also included 360 videos, as well as VR content – which I plan to try)…

Additive Content

There was an article about a college football player, which included quotes from his friends and family. Want more? Hold your phone over the page and a video feature story pops up that goes beyond the content in the article and greatly enhance the emotional response to the story.

Not Perfect

While the functionality wasn’t perfect at first, I was more than willing to spend a handful of extra seconds to get it going. This delay and imperfect quality is okay for now – the novelty and the ‘I gotta see this’ is still kickin’ – but it will become less tolerable over time. The Life VR app – while very large data-wise – easy to use to access the AR content and 360 videos.


What kind of content?

A story about an NFL draft pick gave a glimpse at the interview between the author and the player, allowing deeper insight into the content of the article. This was a solid supplement  and there is a certain novelty to watching the video on the pages of the magazine as opposed to directly on my phone’s screen [the only ‘AR’ thing happening here, differentiating it from a QR code pulling up a link on my phone].

The novelty of watching the video on the page was there, but even the best supplemental content is still, well, the same content I could see on the phone screen, while I continue reading the pages, too. So where can this all go? Anyone’s guess is as good as mine, but it’s going to be about making the content smarter and more aligned with the physical world aspects triggering it.

What could this mean? Maybe it’s a full page photo showing our player on behind center, and all of a sudden he takes the snap and drops back for a touchdown pass right there in front of us, almost like a hologram. Or maybe he has a tattoo that means a lot to the story and – boom – that tattoo appears on my forearm [through my phone’s camera] to step into his shoes and get a closer look.


We’re just getting started with focusing on the reality part of AR, and it will be cool to see our connected world get even cooler.

Where it can go next

How can sports media capture more and more attention and bring more fans to their real estate (apps, et al.), especially during live games – that most valuable of all time? Augment real-time reality. One can only imagine what that could look like. Hold your phone’s camera over the football field and maybe you can toggle to track the speed of a wide receiver on a given play, get a player in your phone camera while he’s in the batter;s box and check out his fantasy stats and whether he’s available in your league, scan your phone over the crowd and see small dots or spotlights noting the presence of a Facebook friend or LinkedIn connection. When augmented gets more real, the usefulness of the use cases are, well, augmented.

But there’s also VR and 360 video

In addition to the AR content, the Life VR app also had 360-degree video and virtual reality content to go along with the story in SI capturing a journey up Mount Everest. This more immersive content, which requires undivided attention, brings another element to the content not possible with just AR. With every VR and 360 experience [perhaps still because of novelty a bit], I am overcome with the desire to, well, look around. To check out of all the surroundings with an air of anticipation, not knowing what could be behind me, next to me, or above me.


There is a value to being an early mover in VR and AR, capitalizing on the curiosity, novelty, and interest [provided more and more sample the tech and adopt it] in thee new media features. The best thing one can do for now is to sample the content out there, learn about it, study it, talk to others about their experience with it (especially the newbies! And especially the youngsters!), and, then, figure out if it’s right for your fans, for your content, and for your objectives.

Remember to be additive to the experience. And remember, in the long run,  to try and heed both words in the term ‘augmented reality.’