Northcliffe has brought its standalone sport sites in the north east onto the same platform as its newspaper websites for Hull, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Lincoln – as reported by HoldtheFrontPage – e.g. the sports section on each of the thisis sites for these areas now redirects to SportHull.co.uk, SportGrimsby.co.uk etc.
There’s a big push for interactivity with a Virgin Media video player of sporting highlights alongside in-house videos; CoveritLive blogs for match days and an aggregated feed of local sports news from a range of sources (see left).
Sports coverage is a huge traffic driver to regional newspaper websites and breeds interaction and buzz (one story on the SportHull page posted yesterday morning had already attracted 113 comments at time of writing this post).
The section is more differentiated from the rest of the site now in these four examples, so will it have an impact on traffic to other news areas that may have benefited from the traffic generated by the sports channel. While the sports sections do have a link back to the main website they are more heavily demarcated than previously.
With the new features these pages offer a one-stop shop for local sports fans – I can’t spot a link to a message board or forum on the new sports’ sites however. Other Northcliffe titles still use this format – are the new sites hoping the other interactive features will replace these?