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January 05, 2009

New year, new projects

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. I wanted to semi-broadcast the state of my life as 2009 will bring new opportunities, new focus, and I've been meaning to document a bit. I just got back from an amazing holiday, which included a trip to Nebraska for Christmas to meet my girlfriend's family which was really fun, and New Years in Bonaire. I learned all about farm equipment and the mid-west, which I enjoyed almost as much as seeing where Rachelle is from. As for Bonaire, Rachelle documented it quite nicely on her tumblr. I'll be putting a few photos up on mine at http://justinshaffer.muchonieve.com as well.

The national past-time in Bonaire is apparently setting off fireworks, which happens every night, but its particularly spectacular on new years. Cool to see a group display run by the entire island as the clock struck 12. Not so cool, M-80s every night at 3 in the morning.

In other news, for a little bit now I've been working on a new project, outside of MLB.com, that I've wanted to pursue for a while. I apologize to you all if i've fallen a bit off the radar - I've been focused on the early bits of this and want to have lots of individual meaningful discussion with you about what I'm doing, so I'll spare you all the details on the blog. Suffice to say, we're thinking about how people interact in and around live events today and how we can use technology to combine context and perspective to make a great additive experience for these live events. We're going to connect people attending live events with people watching on TV or elsewhere and with people who are interested in whats happening but who might not consume them otherwise. It will be a combined mobile and web based experience, depending on the user's preference. If you're interested in getting involved or discussing more, drop me a line at shafferj at mac dot com. More on this when we announce it formally.

On the family front, my Dad is working on his book, which you can check out an early version of at youshouldhavebeenwithme, my sister is working hard and studying harder, and I'm long overdue for a trip to seattle to catch up with Mom.

Hope you all enjoyed the holidays and are as excited to start 2009 as I am.

Here are a few photos from the holidays.. see http://justinshaffer.muchonieve.com for more.



Posted by justin at January 5, 2009 10:22 AM

Comments

Hi Justin,

Happy New Year.

Several of my colleagues attended the AFL forum in Melbourne, Australia before Christmas that you presented at and mentioned that you would be a fantastic contact to touch base with in relation to what we are trying to achieve here at the Essendon Football Club (EFC) (Under this email is the article that came out in the paper the next day which you may have seen)

I have read with great interest today on your blog about your new venture:

“we're thinking about how people interact in and around live events today and how we can use technology to combine context and perspective to make a great additive experience for these live events. We're going to connect people attending live events with people watching on TV or elsewhere and with people who are interested in what’s happening but who might not consume them otherwise. It will be a combined mobile and web based experience, depending on the user's preference”

EFC (www.essendonfc.com.au) has the only independent website in the AFL (The other 15 clubs fall under the Telstra deal) and receives about 100,000 unique browsers and 2.4 million page impressions per month (Avg usage 3.3 minutes v AFL Average of 45 seconds).

Being the only independent website offers EFC a great engagement opportunity and hence we completed two 80 page strategic documents:

• Virtual Connection Project (Mobile Marketing, Online, User Generated Content, Social Networking)
• Match Day Engagement Project (Focus on Experiential Marketing)

We have a robust database of 270,000, a weekly enewsletter that goes out to 60,000 fans and an EDM list that goes out to 85,000

Besides having an engagement focus, we are keen on how we can implement these 2 projects to help drive $ revenue (eg: of the 270,000 on the database, 42,000 are members of the club, how can we get the other 230,000 to spend for example, $20 with EFC)

Being the only one on both projects, I am now pulling together a strategy to pull the 2 projects to life.

Probably the greatest opportunity is how we can tap into the worldwide trend of ‘watching tv whilst being online’.

This seems to be the greatest opportunity to link the Virtual Connection and the Match Day projects together as one.

We average 50,000 people to each of our matches, but we have about 1 million people (Australian Population 20 million people) watching at home on tv with a % of these online at the same time. Bringing the match day experience into lounge rooms is something no team has done successfully in the AFL.

I would be really keen to get some feedback from you on your thoughts and if we are moving in the right direction.

Regards,

Nick

________________________________________
Nick Truelson
Customer Marketing Manager
Essendon Football Club
Melbourne, Australia

AFL urged to take back control of its website
Michael Gleeson | December 2, 2008
THE money that has underpinned football has been driven from broadcast revenue, but that money will be increasingly derived from new media and the AFL ought to regain control of its website to potentially produce a better product and generate superior cash.
That was the sentiment of Justin Shaffer, senior vice-president new media for Major League Baseball, who was brought to Australia by the AFL to address the two-day football conference last week and explain the success of the MLB's website.
Going by the MLB experience, the AFL appears to have erred in outsourcing its website to Telstra, which could never understand the product as intimately as the AFL. "I can't speak highly enough about having a go at it yourself with the right group of people," Shaffer told the conference.
Fifteen of the AFL's clubs committed to the centralised management of their websites — only Essendon stood apart — and the AFL sold the design and management of the site to Telstra which then on-sold content provision.
Fundamental to the MLB's approach is that the online business does not cannibalise the TV viewing business, because given choice, people will always prefer their TV to watch the game on than a small computer screen.
"What we have got online to date has made the internet look an awful lot like a TV and that is a substitute when you can't be at your TV. We don't believe in cannibalisation," Shaffer said.
The MLB website won an Emmy award for its mosaic, which allows six games to be watched simultaneously.
The MLB site has more than 200 editorial staff employed to provide commentary while a dozen people are now employed to work exclusively on the mobile technology, which is undoubtedly the new frontier for broadcasting.
MLB, as opposed to the AFL, has embraced the social networking website Facebook, and has created software for a Facebook link that costs it less than $100,000 to develop but now has access to 90 million fans.
The technology is evolving to allow fans to watch a game live online while simultaneously viewing friends watching the game through webcams and discussing the game with these friends while still accessing Major League Baseball's statistics and highlights.
"These are the types of thing you only get when you spend time investing in your intellectual capital and building an organisation focused on this around the clock," Shaffer said.
"If you are outsourcing it you are following, because everything we have done here was groundbreaking

Posted by: Nick Truelson at January 6, 2009 07:05 PM