The18, a sports media company with a mission to create the most entertaining, viral soccer content in the world, has launched a newly designed website to create an immersive, multimedia experience for fans.
The new site is aimed at the growing number of young, diverse fans who represent an important demographic for advertisers. With soccer established as the fastest-growing sport among young audiences in the U.S. but yet still under-emphasized by major sports media, the concept is ripe with opportunity. The18 responded with a media brand entirely focused on soccer and an approach to telling stories that rapidly spread across social media.
As a result of this strategy, in August 2016, The18 generated more than 25 million content engagements across platforms and ranked as a top 100 sports site in the U.S. and top 200 site overall in the U.K. (based on Quantcast audience data). With the new website live, The18, which is currently raising a round of Series A funding, anticipates an even greater ability to create and distribute content that drives high engagement.
“In redesigning the website, we focused on creating an experience that is the digital equivalent of a high-end magazine,” Pete Burridge, president and CEO of The18 said. “We want fans to be wowed with the visually appealing experience. We also designed the site for exceptional performance on mobile and social media. This means ensuring fast load times, presenting videos and photos in ways that encourage sharing, and introducing more intuitive navigation.”
Rather than basing its organization on geography or team alone, The18 also lets fans navigate based on the type of content they want and the mood they’re in. This mirrors how fans interact with social media – and makes it easier to find content that interests them.
“We believe it’s more meaningful to think about soccer fans in terms of their attitudes and behaviors instead of simply the team they support or where they live,” Matt Jenkins, COO of The18 said. “After all, two fans of the same team might have nothing else in common. So we’ve spent two years building a deeper segmentation of users based on their interaction with our content and built the new site to reflect how fans think.”
The evolved website offers users a diversity of ways to interact. Sections are organized around key types of frequently engaged content: News, Entertainment, Videos, Photos, Learning and Gear (with the opportunity to link directly from content to e-commerce). Within each tab, The18 allows users to navigate by geography, interest area, or by whatever interest is top of mind.
Additionally, the site features an always-evolving Topics section that aggregates content around subjects currently buzzing in the soccer world or where there is significant user demand. This allows The18 to explore aspects of global soccer culture in greater depth.