Creator Community, Video Inspiration

How to prep your video strategy around every major sports event

By Erik Mathes | Jan 25, 2019


People are extremely passionate about sports, and it goes way beyond the games themselves. From storylines that make matchups more compelling to in-depth information about the players themselves, fans are constantly seeking out content related to their favorite teams and athletes. This is especially true when major sporting events hit the calendar, and with Super Bowl coverage on the horizon, brands have to start considering how to make a sports highlight video that maximizes this peak period of sports media consumption. Thankfully, brands have plenty to pull from beyond simple sports highlight videos when creating valuable content around major sporting events like the Super Bowl. From capitalizing on the local buzz surrounding the event to making motivational sports videos that fans will find inspiring, here’s how to prep your video strategy around every major sports event going forward.

What sports brands can learn from USA TODAY Sports Media Group when ramping up for Super Bowl coverage

USA TODAY Sports Media Group consists of more than 50 national, local, and interest-specific sites providing exclusive content geared toward fans of specific professional teams and athletes. Think HoopsHype for basketball lovers, For the Win for serious fans, and LebronWire for all things, well, LeBron. For the small editorial team managing this multitude of channels, keeping up with every story and score was enough of a challenge that creating real-time video content seemed akin to breaking Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA single-game scoring record.

But everything changed when they discovered that they could leverage the Wibbitz platform to create engaging videos with a quick, seamless process, allowing them to start capitalizing on major sports before their competitors. When brainstorming how to make a sports highlight video for your Super Bowl coverage, consider how Draft Wire piggybacked on the popularity surrounding the NFL Draft. 

CASE STUDY: See how over 50 USA TODAY Sports Media Group brands are creating over 1200 videos a month around peak sports media consumption

While it pales in comparison to the Super Bowl, the NFL Draft is still a major sports event for fans hoping their favorite football franchise improves. But what could a site that’s based entirely on the NFL Draft do when considering how to make a sports highlight video many months before the next draft or once the hoopla leading up to the big event has passed? Take a look at the videos below to see.

How to create a sports highlight video long before a major sports event

While the NFL Draft was not for another eight months when Draft Wire published the first video below on their site, they still made it compelling by discussing the top college football prospects who are projected to go high in the NFL Draft, thereby creating content that’s linked to the event far in the future while still remaining relevant. They also made sure to stay on top of the buzz surrounding pre-draft trades, especially transactions including picks that would shake up the order of the draft, as they did in the second video. Check out what the Draft Wire team created in the Wibbitz platform when considering how to make a sports highlight video for your brand.

Riding the wave of excitement after the NFL Draft

Draft Wire prides itself on its unique ability to cover the NFL Draft better than its rivals with a team of only three people who also manage dozens of other sites. Using a video template created in Wibbitz, Clark and his team mapped out all 256 prospects in their Draftwire account – and once a player was picked, they would Rebrand his video to the Wire site of the corresponding team that selected him. Check out an example of what they did in the video below that highlights the number one pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Baker Mayfield, who was selected by the Cleveland Browns:

We use the Duplicate and Rebrand tools to cover events that impact multiple brands. For the NFL draft, it just took 3 of us to cover all 256 picks, for all 32 teams, in 5 minutes. Once you start using Wibbitz, you find ways to innovate it to your needs, and using this efficiency in a way that other people wouldn’t be able to.
– Will Clark, Operations Manager at USA TODAY Sports Media Group

The McGregor-Mayweather fight as inspiration for motivational videos sports fans will love

When MMA champion Conor McGregor crossed over to boxing to challenge the undefeated Floyd Mayweather to come out of retirement, the media outlets went wild. But only the savviest media creators were able to capitalize on making sports highlight videos before and after the event. Here are examples of publishers that were able to harness the popularity of this major sporting event with pre- and post-fight video coverage:
Capitalizing on sports media consumption before the big bout

Before the fight was officially announced to the public, The Big Lead took a big leap on rumors stemming from Tweets put out by McGregor and a tease by Mayweather about making a comeback against an unnamed MMA fighter and published this short clip asking, “is it really on?”

How to make a sports highlight video for after a major event

Once Mayweather earned a victory against McGregor, smart publishers continued to produce sports highlight videos related to the event because they knew people would still be interested in the fight for at least several days after. One such site is MMAJunkie, which created this video highlighting the career-high payday McGregor received in his losing crossover effort, as well as the original crossover bout between boxer James Toney and MMA fighter Randy Couture, which took place inside an MMA Octagon and went to the native combatant:

How non-sports brands are joining the conversation around this year’s Super Bowl

You don’t have to publish videos for a sports-centric brand to tap into this year’s Super Bowl coverage. Here are some ways that non-sports brands are leveraging the spike in sports media consumption with innovative sports highlight videos.

Make motivational videos sports fans can relate to by showcasing your fandom

You know Dr. Oz as a surgeon and TV personality. But did you know he also loves the Philadelphia Eagles? If you happen to root for the same team, perhaps that endears you more to the doctor, and if you’re a Giants fan, then you’ve probably dropped him down several notches in your book. As a marketer, though, you should respect the doc’s game by joining the conversation swirling around Super Bowl coverage when his favorite team was in the mix. Here’s the clip:

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Who are you cheering for this weekend? There’s only one team for me: the @philadelphiaeagles! #flyeaglesfly 🦅💚💙 . . . . #football #eagles #nfl #philadelphia #goteam #eaglesnation #eagles #eaglesfans #superbowl #superbowlchamps

A post shared by Dr. Oz (@dr_oz) on

Create content around controversial topics to stir things up (and boost engagement)

No year of Super Bowl coverage would be complete without some kind of drama du jour making headlines, and there’s no reason not to dip your marketing fingers into the fray. Check out how BET called out the controversy surrounding the chosen performing artist for halftime at this year’s Super Bowl. The network did a great job of engaging its audience by suggesting local artists of color who could have been selected instead, and encouraged viewers to respond with a clear call-to-action asking “who else should perform?” with a nudge to DM them or comment below with your choice.

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Erik Mathes

Content Marketing Strategist

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