Digital Innovation Awards Profile: Developing a successful high school football contest in Detroit

As we get closer to the May 1-2 Digital Revenue Summit in Chicago, we’ll profile some of the winners from our Digital Innovation Awards contest. Some of the winners from that contest will present at the conference.

Today, we’ll feature Dustin Block, WDIV, Digital Executive Producer. The Detroit TV station won for best contest.

Name: Dustin Block

Title: WDIV, Digital Executive Producer

Tell us a little about the contest?

4Frenzy engages high school communities with “Fan Choice Awards” driven entirely by user nominations and voting. The awards were designed to celebrate the hard work and commitment all athletes, not just the stars, make to their teams and schools. We also included marching bands, student sections and spirit squads.

The contest built on a WDIV franchise called Friday Football Frenzy. We rebranded and opened up the campaign to a wider audience and sponsor pool.

Football remained a key piece to serve our broadcast newsroom, but we changed voting for the “Game of the Week” to creating a schedule of featured games that allowed us to plan a tailgate party, feature marquee matchups and plan social coverage around the schools.

What do you think made it so successful?

Success this year came from opening up our high school engagement to a wider potential audience — more sports, more athletes, more parents, etc — and thinking beyond just football. We continued 4Frenzy into the winter and spring seasons, and are looking at how to extend beyond sports to drama programs, choirs, academics, student journalists, robotics clubs and other positive school activities that highlight the best of our market’s teenagers.

Internally, success came from assigning people to manage the campaign and giving them freedom to make it work. Our team experimented with outreach methods — covering events worked well — built through social and efficiently handled customer service, including tech support.

We also moved the campaign to the Second Street tool, which offered stability on the back end we’d lacked in recent years.

What are you thinking about doing next in contests?

Next year we’re looking at an event to honor 4Frenzy winners, plan to build and improve our email campaign, design new branded medals or patches we give out to winners and pitch new ways to monetize.

*Register for the Digital Revenue Summit here.*