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Free sports calendars

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by Inky_Wretch, Apr 28, 2014.

  1. Inky_Wretch

    Inky_Wretch Well-Known Member

    For years, we've run a free calendar of local events like golf tournaments, softball tournaments, youth league registrations, 5Ks, etc. It is a royal pain. Plus I think it's deviated from the original intent of providing a community service to being overrun with for-profit events and local coaches offering private lessons.

    Does anybody else run these free calendars and, if so, do you just run anything and everything or are there limits?
  2. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    I thought this thread was going to be about sports calendars being held in captivity.
  3. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I've written sports calendars for years and thought Inky had stolen something from the warehouse.
  4. We run a calendar like that every day. At the bottom of page 2 in 7 point (same as agate).

    We used to run items only three times, but then you had to keep track when they ran.

    If the local baseball-softball indoor training facility is holding a camp, we run it. If it is for private lessons, no.
    Same thing for the country clubs.

    We run golf scramble info. But if they want hole sponsorship, we take that out.

    We tell people the run order is by date (event happening next week will run before event happening next month) and by length/word count. I'd rather get two events in which take up two lines each then one event that takes up seven lines.

    We run them for free, but have thought about charging. We used to run complete obits for free, but now the only bare-minimum stuff for obits is free. If they want to throw in the person's life story, favorite pet and family tree eight branches down and want a photo, that's gonna cost 'em.

    Think our obit department cleared $25,000 last year.

    For our sports calendar, if we charged $1 a day or even just 50 cents a day (cost of edition except Sundays), we could cover some travel in our budget.
  5. HanSenSE

    HanSenSE Well-Known Member

    I bundle them in with the local schedules and TV highlights in a package on our front. Hold them to events in our own and two adjacent counties. Some get very long-winded, so I cut them down to the basics. And, frankly, the PR disaster that it would be charging the youth leagues, church and charity groups would not be worth the additional income.
  6. deskslave

    deskslave Active Member

    If you charge, you lose the ability to edit. One newspaper I worked out we were given permission to edit the paid obits for about a day, until someone figured out that it screwed up the per-line charging system.
  7. We bill the funeral homes after we edit and measure and send them a copy (fax printout or email) of the edited copy.

    We've been doing this for a few years now for obits and haven't had any issues.

    I get the "lose ability to edit" sports calendar items if you charge.
    And I get it doesn't look good to charge youth leagues/city tennis leagues, etc.

    You can make a case both ways. We don't charge. Some might.

    Even though we don't charge, some leagues will still take an ad for registrations. I'll take that.
  8. BurnsWhenIPee

    BurnsWhenIPee Well-Known Member

    At my last stop, we ran a Sunday calendar of things like this, and it always seemed to feel "right" where to draw the line.

    Youth basketball tournament? Fine. Youth baseball league registration? Fine. Flag football event to raise money for Project Graduation? Fine. Even the summer camp listings for the local college were OK by me, because even though the coaches profited from it, there was enough interest from readers to merit inclusion.

    But things like a local tennis pro hawking lessons, tryouts for a traveling baseball summer league or AAU basketball league where the players had to pay a fee to even try out? Or some college 4 hours away has a summer softball showcase event? Buy an ad.

    We also broke out the golf calendar into a separate thing we ran in the middle of the week. That helped ease the space crunch for both the calendar on Sunday and the golf calendar.

    And we emphasized every step of the way that this calendar runs "as space allows". It was online all the time, and most of the time on Sundays.
  9. ColdCat

    ColdCat Well-Known Member

    We're a smaller daily so we never have too many at one time (I think at the moment it's four or five items). I try to get it in there at least once a week and more if I need to fill a few inches on an inside page.
    We do edit them. If we didn't there would be some items that run 10 inches and includes several grafs of "We'd like to thank our sponsors" BS. We also take calendar items from local high school and college coaches running camps and area 5k's and golf scrambles. Iif you're from some marketing firm asking for a calendar item on a $20 a head meet-and-greet with some NASCAR driver you're having at an auto parts store 60 miles away, I'll transfer you to our ad department.
  10. Kolchak

    Kolchak Member

    We used to run them when our paper was physically larger and there were more pages. It was also online, but generated so little traffic -- the only people clicking on it were the ones who had sent in the listings to be run in the first place -- that we just got rid of it for good. A few of them complained about it no longer being in the paper, and surprisingly it's one of the few times where the higher ups didn't bend over backward to agree unconditionally with a complaint.
  11. TarHeelMan

    TarHeelMan Member

    Some papers just run the same items over and over again. We try and keep it to 10-15 items and edit them and maximize our shrinking news holes
  12. TarHeelMan

    TarHeelMan Member

    If you are a business, you should get no free deals in a calendar!. Lessons, etc. pay for it
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