The network’s MaxPreps website is rolling out in the next few weeks, starting in New York, Denver, LA and other cities late last month. It will launch in Kansas City on Sept. 19.
It sounds like MaxPreps is going to be populated mostly by scraping the Internet, Journatic-style, but its founder says it will deliver the “most comprehensive” high school coverage around.
“Our comprehensive content delivered in innovative formats will allow the student-athletes we cover to truly see themselves ‘in lights,'” Andy Beal, the site’s founder and president.
From a press release:
Each site will provide users with local rankings, upcoming game schedules, recent scores, coaches and players of the week, and stat leaders, including weekly stat stars and season-high leaders. When users on MaxPreps.com search for a high school in one of the 40 metro areas, they will have the option to visit the new metro-focused site. Utilizing responsive design, the local site will feature iconic imagery of games, players and teams, including full-screen slideshows that will adapt to all digital platforms.
The sites will also feature top games of the week, determined by algorithm, and more localized content including the MaxPreps score stream. Social integration of local school and reporter Twitter feeds will allow fans to stay up to the minute on the latest news. Additionally, users will be able to upload their own photos and videos.
Some of it sounds pretty cool, actually. I’ve always thought The Star’s Varsity Zone microsite is an underutilized resource that could use the sort of integration MaxPreps is talking about. By forming partnerships with high schools, student papers and athletic organizations, the site could be filled out using reports from the source, which could be especially useful in a time when fewer reporters are doing more than ever.
I envision a site that features networks of local schools and fans, coupled with feeds from high school newspapers, photos from student media and fans, discussion from supporters, stats, schedules, match ups, etc.
In 2010, I wrote about this: “VarsityZone could also become a haven for local athletes looking to promote themselves to college recruiters. Users could pay to build a profile, complete with pictures, videos, stats, etc., selling themselves to college recruiters. The Star could provide exclusive content, such as stories on recruiting, interviews with coaches, and a directory of college sports recruiters.”
Looking back three years later, some of this is a bit short-sighted. But the point remains: using community partnerships, offering exclusive content and a marketplace for discussion and ideas, high school sports coverage in Kansas City might never be the same.