This whole stream idea is starting to catch on. Even sports blog network SBNation is adopting what CEO Jim Bankoff calls StoryStreams for a new redesign it is launching tonight. A StoryStream is “the latest news feeds, Tweets, videos, comments that move a major sports story along,” says Bankoff.
SBNation is a collection of 212 sports blogs across major sports like basketball, baseball, football, and hockey. So far it’s main site, SBNation.com, has been not much more than a glorified directory for all the blogs. But tonight it is changing to more of a true sports destination site in its own right with a small team of editors who cull the best stories from the 212 blogs, as well as articles, videos, and Tweets from elsewhere. Each different major sport will have its own aggregation page, and new items will stream in on a continual basis.
But that’s not really the stream part. A big sports story, like basketball player Allen Iverson moving to the Memphis Grizzles (what is he thinking?), will sometimes show a number next to teh headline which indicates how many individual items are showing up about that one big story. If you click on one of those headlines, you come to a StoryStream page for that particular story, with blog posts, editor commentary, videos, Tweets, and so on about Iverson moving to Memphis or whatnot.
Sports news is like financial (and tech) news in that it attracts sports junkies who like to constantly refresh their favorite sports site to see the latest scores or updates about their favorite teams and players. Why not just stream all of those stories to them so that they never leave? That is sort of the idea behind SBNation’s StoryStream, which I like to think of as more of a SportsStream.
SBNation’s 212 blogs are already attracting a quickly growing audience. Bankoff says the network as a whole is up to 7.5 million unique visitors a month (Quantcast has 3.8 million). SBNation.com is a tiny part of that. Quantcast measures a tripling since April to 350,000 monthly U.S. uniques to SBNation.com,while comScore shows a similar trend (see chart below). Turning SBNation into a central sports hub should pump it up significantly and make it less puny. Adding more content and organized headlines on the main homepage and then keeping visitors longer with a constant barrage of headlines and links to the hottest sports stories should help move those numbers even higher on both the central site and the related blogs..