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Connecting student athletes with advertising opportunities in a marketplace designed for brand storytelling

NBC Sports Athlete Direct creates opportunities for young student athletes with a publisher-focused approach to its new content hub—launched in just five weeks on Brightspot.

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The NBC Sports brand storytelling challenge

Brightspot was the best option to go with in terms of functionality and design. It works the way you want it to. It's flexible, you can change the way things look very easily, add new things, remove things—and it doesn't have a bunch of dev work attached to it.
Sara Roy, Digital Partnership Project Manager, NBC Sports

Recent NIL ("name, image and likeness") legislation has made it legal for participants in U.S. college athletics to earn money. NBC Sports wanted to help students by linking them to interested brands and to help college administrators navigate the new framework. To do this, it set up a dedicated NIL website.

What emerged—after five intense weeks of build and customer approvals—was its NBC Sports Athlete Direct content hub, which the company built in partnership with Brightspot. Sara Roy, Digital Partnership Project Manager at NBC Sports, says they chose Brightspot due to its great functionality and flexibility.

“We really needed a CMS that was going to get us to market quickly and allow us to connect with their audience to tell their brand story,” she says. “But also one that's going to allow us to evolve with the changing NIL landscape.”

The Brightspot brand storytelling solution for NBC Sports

Brightspot’s work with NBC Sports on NIL opportunities for young athletes highlights the importance of brand storytelling for many companies.

Increasingly, they need to find a way to connect and engage with their audience in an empathetic, interesting and relatable manner.

For digital storytellers, the platform to deliver these stories also needs to be supremely fast and flexible.

At a high level, brand storytelling is really all about translating facts and data through emotions—establishing a trusting relationship with customers and trying to shift from transactional quid pro quo to a real partnership between you as a company and your user base.
Chris Hutson, Product Manager, Brightspot

For the Athlete Direct launch, the range of out-of-the-box, visually stunning and insightful material that comes ready to use with Brightspot was a big factor in NBC Sports being able to tell its story.

Chris Hutson, a product manager at Brightspot who worked on the new site launch, says: “All our different content types and templates help companies like NBC to more easily publish and connect with their audience and achieve effective brand storytelling through intuitive and customizable editorial interfaces.”

But that wasn’t all that Brightspot brought to the brand storytelling table. “We also really wanted a multifaceted site,” says NBC Sports' Sara Roy. “We didn't just want to have an interesting forum, we didn't just want it to be articles; we wanted it to be all encompassing. But we also didn't want to have to take too many steps in order to get there.”

Great brand storytelling, she adds, is ultimately what many companies are after—no matter their sector.

“I think for users of any kind, they know what they're coming to your site for,” she says. ”You don't need too many bells and whistles; you just really have to have something you believe in, so that's what we decided to go with.”

And with Brightspot, the NBC Sports team brought this new product to market in just five weeks.

To learn more about how NBC Sports is driving their brand storytelling forward to connect with their audience, watch our recent webinar with members of the NBC Sports Athlete Direct launch team.

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