The philosophical way to make digital sports content (or all creativity is theft)

The philosophical way to make digital sports content (or all creativity is theft)

It is a combination of being good at finding a way to market and offering a product that is a clever twist on a familiar theme.

This quote is from a review of "Hit Makers: How Things Become Popular", a book that has received significant publicity in the UK this week.

It is not about digital sports content, the examples used are from film, musicals and plays. But the principle is the same.

To have a "hit", you should:

  • Use a well-known distribution format
  • Use a well-known style of content
  • Engage through innovation – not too much, not too little but juuuuuuuust right

It is a simplistic enough and fits with the notion that there are few truly original new ideas. Therefore you should concentrate on the nuances of execution. 

There are plenty of examples in digital sport and beyond. So here's my list of simple, clever twists on existing platforms that changed the digisport game, moved the needle on that day for that team or, at the very least, got a bucketload of attention. Let me know if you agree.

Hyde United in 2014

Football clubs do not like to name trialists in friendly games as these unsigned players can be nabbed by other clubs. Traditionally "A Trialist" or "AN Other" was denoted. 

But non-League side Hyde United decided to protect identities a different way. By publicising them as a team of left-wing revolutionaries. 

And then they live tweeted the game in the same vein.

This came after a series of gallows humour tweets poking fun at their own 30-game unbeaten run. 

Hyde's Pythonesque approach was back in 2014 and would help win them a cult following. A deal with a ‘lads' title followed. 

LA Kings in 2012

They started with a little snark and then moved on to vying with celebrities. Back in 2012, the LA Kings began a trend in US sports team's social media that is still copied five years later. 

The "you're welcome" tweet has become one of the most quoted posts in digisport. Of course, it helps to have a winning team but modern imitators lack the charm of the Kings, who moved on while some others are stuck in the groove they created. 

"The Post" wins West Ham's Man of the Match

It has been done before but, if the occasion fits, it works. The not-so-happy Hammers have had little to smile about this season. So when the woodwork saved them three times against fellow strugglers Hull in December, they added "The Post" to the options for Man of the Match.

It polled 57 per cent. 


Fenerbahce's goal graphic of Moussa Sow

Senegalese striker Moussa Saw has a penchant for spectacular goals from overhead kicks. After a superb effort in the Champions League, Fenerbache simply flipped the usual goal graphic by 180 degrees. 

Cue a stack more retweets and they soon started selling his shirt with an upside down number on the back.

Upside down Sow shirts for sale at Fenerbahce

Upside down Sow shirts for sale at Fenerbahce


And outside of sport...

James Blunt

THAT song brought him fame and fortune. But, since then, his star had fallen while his mainstream credibility had plummeted even lower.

Then Blunt started trolling his own trolls with a wonderful mixture of self-deprecation, wit and innuendo. 

He has opened up a new audience to his music through the cleverness of his comebacks.

There is nothing new in what he is doing. It is all about the way he is doing it.  

Parkinson's NSW Mannequin Challenge

The Mannequin Challenge fad has passed, thankfully. This type of phenomenon is always based on the ease with which you can execute the content effectively and the ability to riff on a theme. Everyone does it, then stars names get involved (who saw LeBron and Michelle Obama's?) and then clubs put their professional seal on it.

Parkinson's NSW contribution was a fitting finale for the Mannequin Challenge. It was a brilliant twist to illustrate their cause. 

* So what have I missed? There must be lots of examples that could belong on this list. Put them the comments and I'll tag the best as an appendix to the article.


Why I love... Andrea Pirlo's fireball

Why I love... Andrea Pirlo's fireball

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