Post-Game Analysis: Notre Dame Gameday for iPad
We've had the good fortune of working with the University of Notre Dame and Adobe on Notre Dame Gameday, an impromptu digital magazine for iPad built around the BCS National Championship game played last night in Miami.
While Notre Dame's football season ended abruptly last night, the conversation about interactive gameday programs for major universities is just getting started. We've been contacted by a slew of universities about developing similar products, both as one-off publications and weekly editions. It may be that the next revolution in digital publishing takes hold in college athletics departments nationwide.
What we're telling prospective clients considering products like Notre Dame Gameday:
• A college sports app is more like a book or magazine than a newspaper. It does not replace your website — it supplements it by making content more fun and more accessible. The goal is to engage your audience so that they look forward to spending time with your app, which builds a stronger relationship between your brand and your audience.
• A college sports app allows a university to monetize its athletics programs, rather than sitting back and letting other media sell advertising against news and event coverage of your school. Apps can be subsidized by a single sponsor, a source for advertising revenue from multiple sponsors, sold by issue or subscription to consumers, leveraged to help sell merchandise, photographs and more.
• A college sports app provides a way to leverage the increasing volume of multimedia generated by university athletics departments, by packaging that content into a premium product and making it accessible to a worldwide audience. Fighting Irish Digital Media produces incredible content, and Notre Dame Gameday packaged that video in a way that made it even more special.
• Don't regurgitate. Reinvent. Notre Dame Gameday was built from the ground up, curating the very best audio, video, photography and text from blogs, websites and printed brochures to create something entirely new. It was conceived for the iPad with an emphasis on interactivity. And fans love it, judging from the tweets and Facebook posts with which they continue to share their enthusiasm with other fans.
• One-off apps are a great place to start experimenting. Think media guide, preseason preview, or recruiting brochure. Once you move into a publication model in which issues are distributed through an app storefront, take into account the expense of an Adobe Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) platform license and download bundle. These costs are in addition to our creative and production fees, and only affect recurring publications, not one-offs.
• Costs vary. Notre Dame Gameday is packed with bells and whistles — 3D-rendered starting lineups and animated stadium diagrams — that add expense. If budget is an issue, better to simplify your offering. Pick your spots, and make them exceptional. Then add only as many features as your budget can comfortably accommodate. Understand that the more you invest, the more likely you are to differentiate your offering from competition.
• An iPad app can be readily converted to an Android app, as the screen sizes are comparable, but an iPhone app is another story. Tablet publications are intended to be consumed slowly, like a glass of wine. Mobile applications are intended to be chugged, like a shot. More than likely, an app designed for a large screen won't be legible on a small screen without significant changes. Android and iPhone versions are doable, but take into consideration the potential costs and intended user experience.
• Consider partnerships with other members of your university community. We're working with UCLA Anderson School of Management to produce an iPad-only alumni magazine called Assets Digital — check it out! — and hope to someday work with UCLA's football and basketball programs and admissions department to deploy digital publishing solutions. Together, these departments can share costs and accelerate adoption by working as a team.
We're happy to answer questions about digital publishing opportunities at universities, in particular the athletics department. We're currently taking on a limited number of new clients for the upcoming year. Be sure to explore our site to see what other apps we've developed, and e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.