Yahoo Sports is more than a place for getting the latest scores and stats, says Ken Fuchs. As fans’ appetite for off-the-field action grows, his job at Yahoo is making sure they get their fill.
Adweek: Since joining Yahoo Sports last April, what’s been your focus?
Fuchs: When I joined, it was already an incredible property. They had 50 million uniques every month, tremendous talent, incredible investigations and killer Fantasy and Rivals businesses. Over the last year, we’ve continued to evolve our reputation as a top destination for sports fans online and advertisers through uncompromised storytelling, a focus on big events, the scale of our audience and innovative products.
You’ve really invested in original programming. What works for your audience?
We cover every game every single day in real time. It’s that 24/7 nature of being a news bureau essentially. And I think it’s the storytelling we weave around that with our writers—our ability to tell [a story] from the inside out. Often it’s not what’s happening on the field [but] off the field as well. We’ve really developed a knack to find those unscripted moments during games that you don’t expect.
Your latest sports prank show, Blindsided, is a bit different.
More and more, there’s an intersection between sports and celebrity, and between on the field and off the field. It’s a lighter show. It really resonates with fans when you give them another side to people they see play every single day.
As social media makes sports viewing more interactive in real time, what are you doing to keep up?
Everything we do is across screens—mobile, PC, connected TV and tablets. We have Sportacular, a sports app that lets you check into games, pick winners and check scores, but also see how people are engaging with their teams. [We have a new] partnership with MLB Advanced Media that is going to take 6 hours-8 hours of live programming every single day of the baseball season, seven days a week and do live look-ins [and] highlights. We’re overlaying [it] with the best qualities from the Web–Twitter feeds from our experts, DVR-like controls so you can find your favorite team, consumer-generated decisions on what games [to] watch.
Yahoo consistently beats ESPN.com on traffic, but ESPN.com arguably has a stronger brand than Yahoo Sports. What are people not getting?
We’re No. 1 in terms of a global site, we’re the No. 1 daily destination in terms of uniques and the No. 1 fantasy site. We have an amazing reach, and now we’re building products and writers and breaking news, defining a voice and becoming a destination for real fans. ESPN is an incredible brand. They’ve done a lot of amazing things over the last 25 years, and I think for us to compete with them is where we want to be.
There’s been a lot of change at Yahoo, such as a new CEO. What does that mean for Yahoo Sports?
I’ve been at big companies my whole life, and there’s always transition. [Yahoo CEO] Scott Thompson has incredible experience with the customer. He’s bringing in an innovative culture and [has said] serving the customer is a priority. That aligns perfectly with what we’re trying to do.
Who will you be rooting for in Super Bowl XLVI?
As a Bears fan who lived in New York for 12 years but has a wife from Boston … I’m rooting for a lot of overtimes.
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