Sports Mate

Sports Mate

Organisation: Seven West Media (Australia)

Publication Date: 05/31/2018


What is the problem? Unless you are a die-hard supporter, it is often far too difficult to understand sports reporting. This is because each sport has its own language. The technical words, jargon and cliches used by journalists in their reporting makes the stories and live coverage we produce on our website inaccessible to the many people who only have limited knowledge. What is the solution? It is Sports Mate, a translation tool that breaks down the language barrier of sport and makes our journalism accessible to a wider audience. It will enhance the content our reporters already produce for our website, such as match reports, analysis and play-by-play coverage. When prompted, readers will have the choice to click on a word or phrase to receive a brief, pre-built explanation about what it means, using easy-to-understand text and graphics that are informative and fun. Who would use Sports Mate? The tool can be applied to any major sports competition. For our prototype we have used cricket’s Big Bash League in Australia as an example. Seven West Media recently purchased the television rights to the competition so a focus of our company right now is how we get people watching on our TV station to also read our website. The Big Bash League is a fast, entertaining version of cricket which is attracting a new audience to the sport, including many children and women. Our typical user is new to cricket and needs a friend to explain what is happening on the field. They enjoy the spectacle on TV, but wouldn’t know the difference between a duck and a golden duck, where on the field is cow corner or why you should never tamper with your ball. Our user wants an explanation of what they’ve just seen live on TV or for a report on the weekend’s big match to actually make sense, without them having to search Google for answers about the laws or jargon of cricket. How does it work? It’s important to emphasise that we are not proposing that we change how we report on cricket. We are not dumbing down our journalism. Our match reports and live blogs would be written in exactly the same way as they already are, but thanks to Sports Mate they will be easy for anyone to understand. Sports Mate has a database of explainers that use text, graphics, GIFs, memes and photographs to help the reader understand potentially hundreds of cricket terms. These explainers will be automatically added by the tool to every story or live blog we publish online about the sport. In summary: Sports Mate is designed to be an effective solution for a real problem in sports reporting. It does not create any extra work for our already busy journalists and is there purely to benefit the reader. Our company already produces thousands of words everyday about cricket, so our goal is to make this content accessible to everyone by making the language easy to understand.

Technologies used for this project:

Sports mate is a new collection of pages and enhancements to our existing website, which is a React single page application and is server side rendered. The recognition of the phrases are simple text matches of the different phrases and terms as we don't think we need anything more for the moment. For the prototype the terms are a static list, in the future they would be moved into our CMS so they can be updated by journalists.
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