The Future of the Digital Landscape in High School Sports

The Future of the Digital Landscape in High School Sports

Sports themselves are always changing. There are new ways to train, new approaches to student learning, new ways to coach, and so much more. One of the ways that school athletics programs have changed, especially in high school sports, is the interest and application of digital content. 
Data, video, journalism, automation – the digital landscape for high school sports has evolved dramatically over the past several years and continues to be something that both students and parents interact with and consume at a high rate. It’s why we’re so pleased to sit down with Ryan Pensy, Director of Business Development for CBS Interactive, to get more of his thoughts on how this field continues to evolve.

Why Is There So Much Interest Around High School Sports?

CBS Interactive also runs multiple other online media programs, including Max Preps – one of the top high school sports content sites available today. In our interview, Pensy notes that these online mediums offer so much to students, parents, alumni, and coaches, including:
*24/7 Access to Information
*Live Event Streaming
*Player Statistics, and More
Pensy is especially thrilled by the value that this brings to families. As he explains in our interview, “A certain student-athlete that might be playing or participating in a sport in California, and they might have, you know, a parent who’s traveling – they might have grandma and grandpa, all the way across the country… This gives them an opportunity to be able to see these student-athletes compete in a very finite amount of time.”

How is the Digital Landscape for High School Sports Changing?

Throughout the interview, Pensy discusses some of the ways that he sees high school digital sports changing, and what that will mean for students and educators. Some of the items he mentions include:
*Original Content – For example, “Could we put together six, eight, ten episodes, and you start to think about some of the other episodic content that fans are watching from a sports standpoint?” There is a marketplace for original content opening up soon, including both true stories and potentially even scripting.
*Biographies – “I think that there’s a big desire, especially from our standpoint and looking to try and find those great stories.” He talks about the way that they are frequently looking for pitches that provide an interesting narrative to the viewer, and stories that can really resonate online. 
*Scouting – Pensy discusses the role that this content could play in scouting both collegiate and professional athletes, as they may not require expensive plane rides and other expenditures.
There are plenty of opportunities for schools or production teams to uncover great stories or ideas that go even beyond live sports, into the realm of “evergreen” items that can be viewed even months or years to come, perfectly crafted for youth and those that like youth athletics. There are also more opportunities for live streams, and more.
It also stands to reason that the experience of engaging with a digital landscape has the potential to provide more educational opportunities as well, as young people learn content creation, production, videography, and several other abilities.

The Future is Digital – The Growth of Online Content for Athletes

Pensy is one of the first to say that integration of digital media isn’t always a smooth and easy process. As he points out, “In some cases, it’s not a bad thing to walk before you run. If you don’t think that you can handle 100 events a year, maybe you start with 25. But you know that you’re going to be able to do the best 25 events that you can.”
But he also believes very strongly that the opportunities that digital content provides far outweigh the risks, and the potential – including what he and others have been able to implement thus far – has been great for high school and collegiate athletes.
If you’d like to learn more about Ryan Pensy or hear more about what he has to say about the evolution and future of digital media in youth athletics, listen to our interview below.