So, here is the thing with sports on Patch – They don’t work really well.
Well, okay, that’s the short answer. The longer answer is that the effort to properly cover a sports beat, like a traditional weekly or daily newspaper, doesn’t seem to have as much payoff online as it does offline.
Dating back to November 2010, when Narragansett Patch started with myself as the editor, I’ve tried a variety of sports coverage. That first year, I tried to get to a bit of everything, and the following year, I stuck mostly to the successful and popular sports.
Both approaches didn’t have much of an effect on article popularity though. Basically, two things move the needle when it comes to sports:
1) Live or nearly live coverage of playoff or championship games. Our same-day coverage of the Narragansett girls’ soccer championship or the South Kingstown boys’ volleyball state title both did well from a numbers perspective.
2) University of Rhode Island men’s basketball coverage. The team has enough of a regional following to get good numbers.
Beyond this, a typical sports story gets outdrawn from a popularity standpoint by a variety of other features, like Five Things or blogs or almost any regular column we have.
I suspect the reason for this is that two other local outlets – The South County Independent and The Narragansett Times – both do a good job when it comes to the regular sports beat. While both get the usual complaints – “You don’t cover my little Johnny enough!” – I read both sections regularly, and they do a good job.
Starting with the Fall 2012 sports season, my rough policy on sports was that I couldn’t really cover stuff until the playoffs, but the election this year has complicated even that.
Thankfully, that issue goes away after Tuesday, at which point we will be back to covering some playoff sports. Specifically, there is a good chance we will be at the games for Narragansett boys’ soccer, South Kingstown girls’ soccer and Prout girls’ volleyball.
We also have no problem running any sports stories or photos submitted to us for publication. Send any game reports or photos to Stephen.firstname.lastname@example.org, or Narragansett@patch.com. Likewise, we have some regional content from time to time, like the Rhode Island Sports Media Football Poll.
I realize this isn’t an entirely satisfactory resolution to the issue, but it’s unfortunately the best I can do without drawing away from other aspects of the site, like police coverage or local government. Sports fans reading this, please stay with us for our other coverage, and join along for the appropriate playoff contests as we cover them.