247Sports to launch new platform on Thursday

Image

We are excited to announce that on Thursday at 11:59 p.m. (Central) 247Sports will start the process of launching our next generation network platform.

The new infrastructure has been in development over the past 12 months and will allow 247Sports to aggressively release new products.

We had originally planned to release the platform in August 2013, but decided to spend more time in development and not risk downtime or user interruption during the high traffic football/basketball season leading up to National Signing Day.

The new platform includes updated message boards, improved administrative tools, Community Threads and our new short-form news feed that we call Bolts.

Noah will follow up with full details on the new product enhancements, but here are a few tidbits:

Bolts: Short form content in a feed format.

The idea is to have a single feed of original and curated content that gives users/fans all the news on their favorite teams and athletes. For so long, our great content from experts has been hidden in the message boards or in long-form articles. We will continue focusing on articles, updates and boards, but will be adding a news feed that fans can check frequently for the latest news and info on everything concerning their team. We are releasing a beta version with a full release in Summer 2014. Bolts will easily convert into an app and allow for 247Sports to go beyond college and recruiting coverage.

Integrated Publishing:

247Sports has created a revolutionary (for our industry) publishing platform that allows experts, moderators and curators to post short form updates (Bolts) directly to the message boards, front page, social media and the network-wide Bolt feeds from a single interface. This allows reporters to work more efficiently and insures that fans/users can easily get the news on their teams.

Community Threads:

When we released All-Access VIP (AAVIP) in 2013, we had Community Threads in mind. With Community Threads, admins will be able to launch message board threads on multiple sites and allow conversation to take place among different fanbases. Users from different message boards will be able to engage in a single topic without leaving their home message boards.

Message Board Enhancements:

Noah will have the full scoop of the board enhancements in an update on Thursday, but several popular features added with this release include: Twitter and Instagram embed in post, video and image vault, multi-quote, flag post, and other administrative functions.

***

It is an exciting time to work at 247Sports. We are now in the product phase of our business. Our team has spent the past three years laying the groundwork so that we could get to this stage – creating products and services we believe will define our category for years to come, while also allowing us to expand our coverage and take advantage of more mainstream opportunities.

We have one more significant hurdle, and we respectfully ask for your help.

As I mentioned above, the team will begin the infrastructure release Thursday night just before midnight Central. This is the most significant release in our company’s history; every administrative function has been rewritten to the new platform.

We have tested the platform for many months, but there are aspects we cannot replicate in a test environment. We ask for your patience following the release as we work through anticipated bugs and potentially an unstable environment. Our team has a plan in place to deal with the issues as they arise, but we anticipate a somewhat unstable environment for 5-10 days.

We ask for your understanding as we migrate to the new platform. The immediate benefits and schedule of new products and message board enhancements coming this spring and summer will make this obstacle well worth the minimal nuisance.

Again, thank you for your support and belief in 247Sports. We are committed to bringing fans great editorial products and services and will continue to work overtime to create the best content and experience possible.

Shannon

 

BOOM! POW! ComicBook.com crushes traffic goals in March

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 11.53.03 AM

Behind increasing popularity in AMC’s hit television show, The Walking Dead, and increased content focus, ComicBook.com crushed traffic goals during the month of March 2014.

– ComicBook.com registered a record 2.712 million unique visitors, a 313.22% increase over the same period in 2013

– ComicBook.com grew page views by 343.86% in March

– ComicBook.com reached ~20,000 concurrent user sessions during the month

– ComicBook.com surpassed its previous high month for traffic (Nov 2013: 1.693 million uniques) by 60.19%

ComicBook.com was founded October 31, 2012 and was reorganized in January 2014. The company plans to relaunch in May 2014 with an increased emphasis on expanded coverage, new social media initiatives and a next generation publishing platform, with proprietary products to enhance fan experience as they follow their favorite superhero/comic book inspired television shows, movies, video games and more.

 

247Sports reaches traffic milestones & team site superlatives

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 7.08.16 AM

Highlighted by an ultra successful National Signing Day 2014, 247Sports continues to earn market share, meeting traffic and new member goals in February 2014.

February 2014 Notes:

– Through the first two months of 2014 (Jan & Feb), 247Sports registered 250.9 million page views.

– Registered 4.01 million unique visitors in February 2014, after recording a company best 4.61 million in January 2014.

– Registered 30% YOY growth in unique visitors and page views in February 2014.

As previously noted, a few NSD 2014 Highlights:

– Reached a single day record 1.033 million unique visitors on NSD 2014, a 49.68% increase over NSD 2013.

– Recorded 14.9 million pageviews (all-time high), up 66.55% over NSD 2013.

February’s Super 12 Team Sites

Gold Medal

1). Dawgs247 (Georgia) … breakout month for traffic and new member growth … registered 130.75% growth in unique visitors and 126.35% growth in page views in February 2014 vs Feb 2013 … moved up to the 9th largest traffic site in 247Sports network.

Silver Medal

2). Lions247 (Penn State) … continues as one of the fastest growing team sites in the industry … registered 94.40% growth in unique visitors and 114.69% growth in page views in February 2014 vs. Feb 2013 … ranked the 6th largest traffic site and 10th largest subscription site.

Bronze Medal

3). Geaux247 (LSU) … moved up to 13th largest traffic site in 247Sports network, after registering 192.10% growth in unique visitors and 91.27% growth in page views in February 2014 … now the 9th largest member site in the network.

Other winners.

4). Gigem247 (Texas A&M) … moved up to the 12th largest traffic site in 247Sports network … recorded 74.50% growth in unique visitors and 89.53% growth in page views.

5). TheBigSpur (South Carolina) … breakout month with unique visitor growth of 64.56% and page view growth of 23.15% … finished February as the 5th largest traffic site and subscription site.

6). Bucknuts (Ohio State) … led the network in page views in February, beating its peer team site BamaOnLine (Alabama) by more than 14%. Bucknuts remains one of the iconic team sites in our industry and one of the top 5 largest overall team sites, regardless of network … ranked no. 1 subscription site.

7). Vandy247 (Vanderbilt) … breakout month and quickly becoming the market leading site … grew unique visitors by 205.29% and page views by 295.83% in February 2014.

8). Badger247 (Wisconsin) … reached a major traffic milestone in February 2014, registering 155.54% page view growth … moved up to the 23rd largest traffic site in the network.

9). Horns247 (Texas) … registered 40.65% growth in page views in February 2014 … 7th largest traffic and member site in the network.

10). VTScoop (Virginia Tech) … registered 66.17% unique visitor and 65.60% page view growth in February 2014 … 19th largest traffic site in the network.

11). OUInsider (Oklahoma) … starting to breakout and return to prominence in our industry … Moved up to no. 16th largest traffic site in the network after registering 46.85% unique visitor growth in February 2014 … 8th largest member site in the network.

12). HuskersIllustrated (Nebraska) … breakout month with 72.16% growth in unique visitors and 36.48% growth in page views.

ComicBook.com scores TD during Super Bowl XLVIII

Image

 ComicBook.com registered another record traffic month in February 2014.

 Highlights:

 –  Registered YOY unique visitor growth of 290.45% and page view growth of 274.35% in February 2014, compared to February 2013.

 – Registered 1.608 million unique visitors in February 2014, just below an all-time high of 1.693 million in November 2013.

 – Second highest traffic day in company history on February 2nd as ComicBook.com was a go-to destination for Super Bowl XLVIII commercials/trailers featuring the summer’s upcoming action blockbuster movies. ComicBook.com registered 172,389 visits.

 – Through the first two months of 2014 (Jan & Feb), ComicBook.com registered unique visitor growth of 288.98% and page view growth of 269.05, compared to the same period previous year.

 – Will re-launch on a new proprietary platform with expanded products and coverage in May 2014.

247Sports: Transitioning to Product Phase

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 1.36.25 PM

Our mission at 247Sports has always been to work with the highest quality editorial staff while building the next generation of disruptive products in sports media.

Since launch in August 2010, 247Sports has experienced torrid growth.

In fact, our somewhat unexpected attraction of top talent and market-leading sites actually slowed our ability to deliver innovative products.

Our leadership group struggled to find a balance between building and supporting a traditional team and recruiting network with our overall mission of building game-changing products for our category.

We’ve taken the approach of supporting our large market team sites and their fans/users as first priority and building innovations secondarily, with hopes of some day completing our traditional platform and launching the company down the path we intended 3½ years ago.

Last September, our engineering team all but completed our core platform – which will serve as our foundation for the next several years.

We opted not to launch the new core at that time because we did not want to disrupt user experience during the high traffic season.

This decision was extremely difficult because our engineering team was tasked with supporting two systems – an outdated legacy platform and our new platform that will launch us into the product phase of our business.

Now that we are through the high traffic season, culminating with a record National Signing Day, our team is preparing to launch our new core – which will come with several message board enhancements.

The team is shooting for a March 15 launch. The two weeks after launch we’ll be fine tuning and working through any issues that we couldn’t test for without the heavy traffic loads of going live.

After the launch, 247Sports will enter the anticipated product phase and turn our focus and vast resources to building the next generation of products and services.

***

Screen Shot 2014-02-19 at 1.31.32 PM

Even though we’ve been tasked with building the team and recruiting network from scratch, the 247Sports product and engineering team led by Noah Stanley (CPO/COO), Cory Lovelace (CTO) and Riley Bryant (Chief Architect) have launched many game-changing products and innovations – which serve as a sampling of what fans/users can expect from 247Sports in the future.

All-Access VIP (AAVIP), Class Calculator and Recruiter Rankings have all received high user adoption. However, most 247Sports releases in 2013 were overshadowed by the immense popularity of the Crystal Ball and 247Sports Composite.

Crystal BallIf you’re forced to drive a horse and buggy, you aren’t going to be pro-automobile.

I believe the 247Sports Crystal Ball is the most polarizing and disruptive product the recruiting media industry has seen since broadband allowed highlight videos to play seamlessly online.

Crystal Ball compiles predictions from the industry’s recruiting experts into an intelligent projection of which school a recruit will choose.

The product removes much of the unwanted drama with a recruit’s decision, and can be expanded into an unlimited number of categories and user-interaction products.

247Sports is just scratching the surface with the data applications and interactivity of the product.

247Sports Composite:

Can a recruiting network claim to be the best when 75%-80% of its staff has moved on to work for its competitors?

Can a recruiting network claim to be the best when a large percentage of its scouts/evaluators are twenty-somethings just out journalism school?

Can a recruiting network claim to be the best because it’s the “world-wide leader in sports” – or the “No. 1 brand” in recruiting for that matter?

The answer is — it can’t.

With that said, I am a staunch believer the recruiting industry as a whole has never been stronger or more accurate.

The proliferation of camps, all-star games, access to more video, larger recruiting media travel budgets and the cultivation of relationships with college coaches over the past decade have helped all the participants in the category deliver an outstanding product.

All the major players in the recruiting industry do an outstanding job, but you will never convince me that one group consistently outperforms the others year after year.

Everyone has strengths, and all have weaknesses – and that includes 247Sports.

That is why we created the 247Sports Composite.

The 247Sports Composite offers fans/users the most comprehensive and unbiased prospect rating and ranking in the industry. The 247Sports Composite is the featured ranking for 247Sports – powering our Team Rankings, Recruiter Rankings and Crystal Ball points. It will also be used in a wide range of rankings planned for the future.

The 247Sports Composite is quickly becoming the most widely used and sourced recruiting rating and ranking by media, fans and bloggers.

***

It is an exciting time to work at 247Sports. After three tremendous years, we are now 30-45 days away from transitioning into our product phase.

Our team has spent the past three years laying the groundwork so that we could finally be at the stage to create products and services that we believe will define our category for years to come, while also allowing us to expand into more mainstream opportunities.

Our investors believe in our long-term vision and have provided the investment capital necessary for our team to continue to enhance and broaden our product offering – at a time when our competitors continue to remain OK with status quo.

In addition to improving the existing publishing platform, we will enhance message boards, further develop interactive products like the Crystal Ball and adapt our editorial practices with new technologies to best fit the way fans/users consume content.

We understand that sports business – especially college and recruiting – is a highly competitive landscape.

However, we embrace competition! It takes true competition for us to reach our full potential, and it takes competition to create the innovative products and services that benefit consumers.

We appreciate your support!

 Shannon

ComicBook.com: Burgers and a porcelain turkey

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 9.25.32 PM

Today’s story in the Tennessean: ComicBook.com helps millions of fans keep up with superheroes

Why ComicBook.com?

That’s the first question I’m asked these days, and not unexpected considering 18 years in sports media.

I dig into the business details below, but for me, there’s a lot more to it than a great opportunity to build a pop culture media brand.

I entered first grade in 1975 at Woodville Elementary in Woodville, Ala.

My mother (Carolyn Terry) worked an hour away in Huntsville at Redstone Arsenal, so my grandmother, Lois Hodges, picked me up from school every afternoon.

Lucky for me, “Grandmother Lois” was the owner/operator of the most popular (and only) restaurant in the small north Alabama community.

Lois was a salty entrepreneur and developed a reputation as a great cook. She was especially known for her pies and cakes.

Some of my best memories from childhood came from those three hours after school each day hanging out at her restaurant.

It was those afternoons in my grandmother’s restaurant where I developed a love for comic books and superheroes.

Almost daily, Grandmother Lois would let me dig into the “turkey bank” (antique porcelain Turkey that stored loose change) so I could walk next door to the local market and buy a comic book.

On Oct. 31, 2012, former Magazines.com and Rivals.com marketing guru Joe Blackmon, with former Rivals.com Chairman of the Board William B King, took over ComicBook.com and officially launched it as a full-time venture.

The move by Joe and Bill piqued my interest, and I started to consider joining the team. However, 247Sports was just beginning to reach critical mass so I put the opportunity on hold.

Fast-forward to late 2013. After several months of record traffic increases, it was becoming clear that Joe and Bill were on to something very big.

ComicBook.com was just too good of an opportunity to pass up.

What Joe and Bill accomplished in just 15 months was staggering. On a shoestring budget, ComicBook.com grew unique visitors 194.8% and page views 198.8% in 2013, including a record 1.7 million unique visitors in November.

By all accounts, traffic totals would have been significantly higher; however, Joe’s hosting provider capped traffic due to bandwidth limitations.

I officially joined ComicBook.com in early January and commenced formalizing our strategic plan for the next 24 months.

Our team’s immediate objectives:
– Recruit the ComicBook.com team
– Define our brand
– Build a branding, editorial and technology plan that went beyond the world of comic books into the superhero-infused world of pop culture entertainment
– Stabilize existing platform to handle Jan. – April traffic
– Develop a monetization strategy
– Raise expansion capital
– Create product roadmap and re-launch plan on new platform

2014 is off to another record start. Through nine days of February, ComicBook.com’s unique visitors are up 320% and page views are up 280% compared to the same period in 2013.

 ComicBook.com goes well beyond the subculture of comic books.

ComicBook.com focuses on pop culture, which is clearly influenced by the robust comic book industry. Iconic comic creations have become the driving force of mainstream entertainment and are the focus of blockbuster movies, hit TV shows, best-selling video games and more.

From our youth we watch comic book inspired cartoons and dress up as our favorite superheroes. In our teenage years and through adulthood, comic book characters continue to be an entertainment focus through video games and blockbuster movies.

Since 2007, a comic book-related movie has led the yearly U.S. box office 57% of the time.

In 2012, Marvel’s The Avengers shattered the opening weekend record at the U.S. box office, bringing in an amazing $207.4 million on its way to a chart-topping $623 million domestic gross and $1.5 billion worldwide gross. Marvel’s The Avengers currently sits as the top-grossing Disney film ever and the third highest-grossing movie of all time.

In 2013, comic book movies once again dominated the box office, with Man of Steel, The Wolverine, & Thor 2 among the top 15 films worldwide. Iron Man 3 led the worldwide box office at $1.2 billion.

Beyond the big screen, comic book characters have also provided some of the most captivating and highest rated TV shows of the modern era. Based on Robert Kirkman’s Image Comic series, AMC’s The Walking Dead is the highest-rated series in the history of cable television and is the #1 show on TV among the coveted 18-49 demographic.

Focusing on geek culture, The Big Bang Theory dominates network television as TV’s #1 comedy, regularly attracting more than 20 million viewers. Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave ABC its best drama debut in four years, and Arrow was the highest-rated new series on The CW in five years when it debuted.

Screen Shot 2014-02-10 at 11.05.36 AM

 Almost 40 years later, and thanks to my mom, I still have the porcelain turkey and my entire collection of comic books.

There’s about 200 titles, mostly the basics: Justice League of America, Superman, Batman, Fantastic Four, Captain America, Green Lantern, the Avengers and Super Villians.

I’m not sure why my mother kept my comic book collection, but I am very thankful she did!

Many are in average condition and contain my printed name on the first page –removing most of their collection value, if any existed.

Over the past two months, I’ve re-read many titles.  I find it interesting, and not all that surprising, that I remember most of the storylines.

There’s something that happens when I glance over one of my comic books. I remember sitting on a barstool at my grandmother’s restaurant … I remember shooting basketball with my dad … I recall spending time with my grandparents on the farm … I remember family meals on Sunday afternoon … I escape to my youth.

I think that is one of the main reasons that comic book-inspired creations have become the driving force of cinema, TV and media today.

At one point or another, we are all looking for an escape to innocence – or seeking help from someone “faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.” We all need our superheroes.

For me, anything that brings me back to my childhood is worth the time from my crazy schedule, and that is why I am so energized about the opportunity to lead ComicBook.com.

 ###

 Favorite superhero: Green Lantern. About the age of 5, I started developing a passion for fighter planes, outer space and comic books. Before basketball and the Internet, I spent my afternoons as a card-carrying member of the Justice League of America. What better character to embody these passions than the Green Lantern – whose ring could wield control over the physical world for those with the willpower and strength to command it.

Official presser announcing role with ComicBook.com

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 7.35.43 AM

A few weeks ago, we sent an informal note to the staff at 247Sports about the opportunity with ComicBook.com. Following is the official presser which was released today.

Tomorrow: Why ComicBook.com?

###

Nashville, TN (February 10, 2014) – ComicBook.com today announced that Shannon Terry would become Chief Executive Officer, overseeing the company’s corporate strategy and day-to-day management.

Along with his responsibilities at ComicBook.com, Terry currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of 247Sports, an independent digital sports media-company consisting of a network of market-leading college team and affinity sites. With 20 years of digital media experience, Terry previously co-Founded Rivals.com, which was acquired by Yahoo! for an estimated $98 million. Company’s Founded/Co-founded by Terry have generated more than $250 million in online revenue over the past decade.

“I’ve watched ComicBook.com from the sideline for the past two years and what (President) Joe Blackmon and William B King (Chairman) have accomplished is remarkable,” said Terry. “They have positioned ComicBook.com into the fastest growing brand in the comic book influenced pop culture space, which is quickly becoming the driving force of television, movies, and video games.”

“After two consecutive years of triple-digit traffic growth, we are betting big on the category,” said. Terry. “Along with unique editorial content, we are building a new cutting-edge technology platform, with a focus on social platforms, message board communities and mobile technologies.” ComicBook.com plans a relaunch by early Summer 2014.

Digital media veterans Noah Stanley (Chief Product Officer) and Cory Lovelace (Chief Technology Officer) are also joining the ComicBook.com team. “Noah and Cory bring a combined 30 years of product & technology experience to ComicBook.com,” said Terry.

“Noah’s vision has led to the development of many sports media product innovations such as Crystal Ball, Player Database and Composite Rankings, while Cory has previously managed the technology expansion of Rivals.com and 247Sports, with both digital properties registering in excess of one billion annual page views. “

Joe Blackmon will continue to serve as ComicBook.com President and oversee all editorial and marketing efforts. The company is planning a relaunch on May 1, 2014.

ComicBook.com focuses on pop culture, influenced by the robust comic book industry, whose iconic creations have become the driving force of mainstream entertainment behind today’s blockbuster movies, hit TV shows, best selling video games, and more. ComicBook.com provides fans with the latest news, vibrant communities, social platforms, events and industry scoop through innovative technology products and mobile platforms.

Contact: Joe Blackmon joeblackmon@gmail.com

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.