From little league to college to professional levels, established national (and worldwide) tournaments exist for the sport of baseball. However, there is one level that was seemingly exempt from participating: high school.
Dr. Carlos A. Gonzales, a board-certified Pediatric Ophthalmologist, realized this void in the sporting stratosphere and set out to create a tournament that would then allow for the inclusion of high school baseball. The ultimate goal was to formulate a national tournament that would allow each state in the United States to field a team.
Knowing this would be an expensive venture for players, families, and the institution in general – Dr. Gonzales sought out to establish a non-profit organization that would fund the entire event; including equipment, travel, and accommodation expenses. He then planned to utilize any remaining revenue generated by the non-profit organization and allocate that towards educational and leadership scholarships on a national level.
In June 2014, he was approached by his good friend Glen Estopinal, a former baseball coach and the founder of MVP Sports & MVP Foundation, who was, himself, working on a similar idea: developing an international high school baseball tournament. Shortly after, the two began planning the tournament details and logistics.
In early 2019, the concept had been finalized – along with the funding, venues, broadcast channels, etc. The event was, from that day forth, declared the High School Baseball National Championship (or HSBNC for short). However, despite all of the progress that had been made planning the tournament and getting everything prepared for the inaugural event, they knew they were missing one key element: visibility.
Digital Transformation Consulting with Code Authority
In March of 2019, the HSBNC team sought out to establish their digital identity. Knowing this would be an important aspect to garner the respect and attention the tournament deserved (especially given their target demographic), they requested the services of Frisco-based custom software and digital marketing agency, Code Authority.
Upon meeting, it was discovered that the HSBNC organization had no branding, no website, and no online social presence. In order to appeal to their younger audience, they needed transformative, modern, and appealing content on a variety of digital channels.
With an influx of young but creative and professional minds on the digital marketing team – Code Authority quickly had many ideas on how to transform their concept into an immersive experience for everyone involved – from the board members to the players to their families.
Building a Brand
After an initial kick-off meeting and project launch, Code Authority’s first task was establishing a brand identity. The creative team began by reimagining several prominent baseball logos, including the Little League World Series, College World Series, and Major League Baseball.
The initial round of logo design began with hand-drawn illustrations on a sketch pad. The idea here was to establish specific shapes, elements, borders, text styles, placements, etc. that the HSBNC partners would be thrilled with. Shortly after, the creative team was ready to show off over 40 logo variations (needless to say they got a little carried away with the drawings).
The HSBNC team was able to examine each of the sketches and after some deliberation, they narrowed down their selection to just 10 logos. From there, our graphic designers converted each of the hand-drawn illustrations into digital files. This is where the precise details and fine-tuning came into play. At this point, the product was beginning to take shape and the creative team was able to establish more specific font styles, curvatures, color palettes, elements, etc. to fit the needs of the client.
After several rounds of iterations and revisions, the HSBNC team was able to establish their final logo choice. However, it wasn’t quite done there - this was the logo that would be displayed on their website, on their social media channels, on their team jerseys and merchandise, on their ESPN broadcasts, etc. so it was an important, refining decision. The Code Authority team was supportive of their decisions and made every accommodation requested to provide HSBNC with the logo they wanted to represent their brand.
After much deliberation on specific colors, font placements, inclusion/exclusion of certain text and elements, etc. the HSBNC logo was finished!
The Right Web Development Services
As a prominent digital marketing agency, Code Authority is extremely familiar with creating a riveting user experience. A recent study suggests that the average attention span in the year 2000 was upwards of 12 seconds, whereas today, it is much closer to 8. With constant distractions of texts, notifications, emails, etc. it’s no surprise the aforementioned statement is true. With that being said, it is imperative to not only capture a user’s attention but to retain it as well.
The web design team at Code Authority set out to do just that – create a second screen experience for players, families, friends, coaches, scouts, recruiters, and more. The designers didn’t want to create another cookie-cutter website; they wanted something that was simple to use and navigate but at the same time, something complex enough to keep users interested and engaged.
One of the main goals of the website was to have the Home Page extremely dynamic and feature-filled while still maintaining the integrity of a baseball site. A few key features included on the Home Page were: an interactive game schedule/calendar, a countdown timer to the event(s), standings, an e-commerce storefront, ticket purchasing, highlight videos, social media feeds, etc. The design team’s top priority was to immediately engage visitors and keep them engaged.
Code Authority knew that if the Home Page could immediately capture the attention of the viewer, they would be much more likely to continue navigating through the site. The design team didn’t want the Home Page to be the only hub for site traffic, though. They wanted to create each page with a specific purpose that would achieve the same effect.
One feature added to the website was a Roster Page. This function allowed users to easily cycle between teams to see each of the players participating in the tournament and also displayed general information such as name, position, number, height, weight, high school, college commitment, etc. A roster is standard for a sporting website but Code Authority wanted to add in a more creative element.
On the Roster Page, each player had their own personalized baseball card. This was a special add that would also influence the players to become more involved in the process. Each player was asked to submit a form that included a headshot, an action shot, favorite player, favorite quote, high school stats, honors, awards, and their social media handles. Surprisingly, every player submitted information to be input onto their baseball card while, at the same time, the Code Authority team received hundreds of social media accounts to connect and engage with.
Another dynamic feature of the website was the inclusion of box scores. The inaugural event was held in Houston, and although the travel expenses and hotel accommodations were covered by the foundation, it was expected that not everyone (family and friends included) would be able to attend. So, the web developers at Code Authority opted to make the box scores capable of live updates. The HSBNC team planned to hire scorekeepers to record statistics for each game and update the website in real-time, allowing those who couldn’t travel to get live updates on the game progress. This was cognizant during the development process, as the Code Authority team knew they needed to make updating the information simple enough for someone with little to no web development experience to handle.
The HSBNC team was beyond pleased with the final outcome of website and it’s simple-to-use functionality. The front-end and back-end capabilities made updates extremely simple for their team and would allow for the website to be maintained for years to come.
To see the full website, click here.
Content Marketing Services that Engage the Audience
The social media handles that Code Authority received through the implementation of personalized baseball cards provided an immediate target audience for the social media campaigns. Keeping the target audience in mind, the social media team launched a Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for HSBNC.
Player engagement was a major priority in the weeks before the tournament so Code Authority opted for a marketing campaign that stirred up some friendly inter-state competition, providing sneak peeks at the website prior to launch to promote online visibility. This seemed to be a popular attraction among the players and families as each account quickly gained popularity.
The social media channels were also intended to be a hub for information in conjunction with the website, including: tournament news, updates, and announcements, user-generated content, blogs, videos, etc. The social media posts were well received as each of them received an influx of interactions, especially during the event.
The Road to “H Town”
To provide some information on the inaugural event:
- The 2019 tournament hosted 8 state delegations: California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, and Texas.
- Rosters allowed for a maximum of 20 players and 3 coaches, although only 135 players were active for the tournament.
- Players had to be nominated or selected by prestigious coaches and/or scouts in their respective states.
- The 2019 tournament was held from June 24th to June 27th; 3 days of pool play competition followed by the National Championship game.
- Pool play games were streamed on ESPN+ and the Championship Game on ESPNU.
Although the first year was intended to be lean, it was still a major success for the players and the HSBNC committee. During the 4 days of the event (June 24th – June 27th), the website amassed over 20,000 unique page visits with an average session duration of over 4 minutes thanks to proper SEO services. Given that only 135 players and their families were intimately involved – this was a huge win for the High School Baseball National Championship organization and for Code Authority. The page visits far exceeded the expectations, especially for an event in its inaugural year with only a couple of months to publicize. And the average page duration was a major accomplishment as well – over 4 minutes on a website ensures that the users were immediately and continually engaged with the digital content.
The social media channels, collectively, received over 15,000 interactions during the tournament, which was also a big achievement – not only for the inaugural event but for the prospects and potential for the 2020 event where the HSBNC committee plans to increase the number of teams from 8 to 16.
Comprehensive Digital Marketing at your Service
Code Authority was ecstatic that their hard work creating, building, and promoting the event was a success for HSBNC and plans to maintain a strong, healthy relationship with the leadership team as they prepare for an even bigger year 2.
With a fully-equipped digital marketing team, Code Authority is prepared to take on any internet marketing project and transform their brand into a highly recognized and highly successful organization. Code Authority provides the following digital marketing services:
- Web Design & Development
- On-Page and Off-Page SEO
- Social Media Management
- Content Creation
- Graphic Design
- Branding & Brand Management
- Search Engine & Social Media Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- And More!
If your organization is looking for an innovative company capable of a comprehensive digital transformation or simply needs any of the above-mentioned services, contact the digital marketing team at Code Authority today for your free project estimate!