High School Sports Ballot Scores Year-long Revenue

by Megan Black Second Street

Case Study Highlights

  • $60,000 revenue for paper
  • Year-long ballot drives in recurring revenue
  • 11,000+ votes and still going
  • 2,800+ opt-ins and counting

The Idea

The Times Herald-Record in Middletown, NY was looking for a new way to increase their revenue, grow their email database, and promote goodwill among their readers. Varsity 845, the paper’s designated local sports site, decided on a High School Athlete of the Month ballot.

The Execution

High school sports campaigns aren’t just a big hit with your community, they’re also a big hit with your advertisers. Local businesses love the opportunity to show their involvement with local sports teams.

times herald record student athlete ballot

While the Times Herald-Record was able to secure seven sponsors initially, interest grew, and they’ve even added two more. From healthcare and home improvement to community colleges and automotive, their sponsors were proud to be a part of the ballot.

The year-long ballot featured new high school athletes every month in separate categories for male and female athletes. Each month, the athletic directors from each school district would submit one female and one male scholar athlete. A committee from the Times Herald-Record would narrow down these submissions to the top five.

times herald record athlete ballot mobile

Each month, the two winners would receive a plaque, a gift card for $250, and coverage in the paper. To take the honor of winning another step further, the Times Herald-Record has partnered with their local athletic association and plan to recognize all the monthly winners at their end of the year banquet in May.

Knowing a high school sports ballot will attract a large audience, the paper was sure to leverage this as an opportunity for email database growth. They included an opt-in for themselves as well as one for their sponsors.

times herald record athlete ballot opt-in

In order to attract people to the ballot, the Times Herald-Record posts frequently on their website and on social media. But the main way they get users to their ballot is through email. Each month, an email is sent to announce voting is open and remind users they can vote once a day.

times herald record athlete ballot promote

Beyond the paper’s own means of promotion, the entrants on their ballot bring a lot of their own promotion. Any ballot about children means you’re going to get tons of parents, grandparents, and friends rallying for votes and sending people to your website.

times herald record athlete ballot fb posts

The Results

While the Athlete of the Month campaign only started about eight months ago, the paper has already found outstanding success. So far these monthly ballots have brought in over 11,000 votes. More than 2,800+ people have opted-in for the paper’s database and another 2,700+ opted-in for messages from the sponsors.

But the biggest success, is revenue. This year-long ballot is bringing in revenue month after month, leading to more than $60,000 in annual revenue for the Times Herald-Record. The paper has found this to be an excellent way to celebrate the top student athletes in the community and looks forward to continuing this successful campaign.

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