Sports are a powerful form of entertainment. They establish common ground across generations and tell stories of family history and treasured memories. They can bring together the most unlikely of people, putting aside cultural, economic status, political views, and religious differences through a shared passion and hope for one team. 

Sports are also a form of escapism, distracting us from the worries of the world with a sense of camaraderie, excitement, and sometimes, a little dismay. And that’s exactly what makes them entertainment. So it’s no real surprise that sports programming has the same power to achieve all those same things, but in a very different way.

With our clients’ hit series like KELCE, God. Family. Football, One Shot: Overtime Elite,  and more breaking streaming records, SMITHHOUSE knows what it takes to maximize the impact of sports programming. So we’re uncovering what exactly makes these programs so successful — and how media companies can amplify that success to another level.

  1. Revealing Behind the Curtain
    It’s pretty common for sports fans to determine their favorite players by their game-day performance and stats. That’s because when that player steps on the field or court, that’s all we see. Sure, we can see who’s a hot head or a good sportsman, but overall, watching games only gives us a surface-level view into the types of people these athletes really are.

    Sports programming opens the door to the human interest side of sports. The viewer is in a totally different mindset — they’re ready for a deeper level of consumption that reveals who that athlete really is as a person, when they’re not in the spotlight. Just like every professional athlete gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night, they have their challenges, their failures, things that shaped who they are, and things that make them relatable to someone like us.

    Seeing this side of them gives us a better understanding of what those on-field/court successes mean and, even further, why we would want to ever root for them. When a docuseries can purposefully uncover those unseen aspects of their lives, they can create a common ground for sports and non-sports fans alike — simply by humanizing a “superhero.” 

  2. Merging Unique Forms of Entertainment 
    Sports documentaries and the behind-the-scenes look can oftentimes be a hybrid of entertainment and sports — the perfect example: Travis and Taylor. Thanks to the pop star, Kansas City Chiefs fans and hardcore football followers are no longer the only ones who know his name — or own his jersey. Not only has his recognition been boosted to a new level in his own world, but also in hers. Millions of young girls are tuning into football games and showing interest in sports, opening up a whole new audience to a form of entertainment they never cared about before.

    Today’s docuseries create content that reaches much wider audiences, extending far beyond sports fans to lovers of drama, romance, music, and more. Knowing the rules of the game is no longer required to appreciate the people involved in it or what’s inspiring the journey behind it — from the controversy to the triumphs.

    With SMITHHOUSE’s WOW - Women Of Wrestling partnership, the team not only targets niche wrestling enthusiasts but also capitalizes on the diverse, unique backgrounds and elite athleticism of the incredible women in the organization who step into these superhuman identities — after their day jobs.

    SMITHHOUSE tapped into both premium press, spotlighting Jeanie Buss, Controlling Owner/President of the Los Angeles Lakers and Co-owner of WOW in outlets like Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair, as well as other entertainment PR outlets, such as the Sherri Shepherd Show and Tamron Hall, who understand the value of covering these inspirational women to their audiences. 
  3. Finding the Story 

    Another angle that sports programming has seen be successful is impactful storytelling — like many documentaries and series. Even the athletes of the past can be some of the most sought-after to cover. In fact, it often makes them even more interesting. Instead of following a current athlete in their day-to-day, filmmakers have to rely on an icon’s story through archival footage and interviews with people who knew them best. While still a unique look into that person’s life, it also has the layer of history, which requires the right people and angle to bring it to life again. 

    Like in many of these cases, the foundation lies in compelling storytelling and how to strategically capture a look into someone’s life that you’d never see otherwise. The goal of a PR firm is not just working with the sports writers with an appetite for that specific beat, but also bringing in the usual TV and entertainment press that live in this space to expand their audiences outside the sports world. And that often means finding ways to tie what’s in the current cycle to stories of people from the past to bring even more interest across younger audiences. 

  4. Playing into a Competitive Niche 

    When compared to musicians, actors, and other high-profile public figures, athletes have a uniquely innate layer of competitiveness and resilience that offers a captivating dynamic in itself. Let’s face it, the level of mental and physical endurance and pressure these stars have to face regularly is incomparable — and only makes them more interesting when it’s placed somewhere else. For example: covering the lives of retired athletes embracing new endeavors. In these stories, there’s a compelling angle into how the qualities that made them successful as elite performers parlay into other areas of the industry and beyond.SMITHHOUSE is currently embracing this approach with partner MoonBall Media, a new media company started by two former MLB players. Their high-profile content lives in the unscripted space with an array of current and former athlete appearances and a mix of unique programming and platforms across the sports spectrum. While this programming support is nothing new to SMITHHOUSE, the team is excited to be working with athletes who are leading the charge to give a new perspective into the business side of sports and how that world impacts so many others.

To learn more about how SMITHHHOUSE can help you amplify your sports programming across unique audiences, contact us today. 

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