“Coming up next in sports, we’ll have the highlights from tonight’s game.” Now ask yourself, does anyone out there think your sports segment won’t contain highlights? Highlights are a foundation of most sports segments, but solely promising highlights means promising the expected coverage. We would never write a news tease that says “coming up next we’ll have all the stories of the day” because that what a newscast always contains. Well sports always contains highlights. If you have a great video clip that merits teasing, then skip the “highlight” moniker and get very descriptive on the one very best piece of video. Think micro, not macro. “Up next, an ugly showdown at the mound. The fighting words that got coach Smith tossed from the game.”
What we’re doing here is creating a cliffhanger. Whet their appetite with an attention-grabbing clip of video, but make sure you promise a reason to return. The audience should always have a specific motivator that makes them stick around through the break. That’s about promising specific video or interesting facts not generalities like “highlights.” Was your tease so scintillating that the audience will willingly endure your long commercial break? Did you prove that your sports coverage is more than the standard Xs and Os?
No question, teasing sports pieces can be tough. Often times, we must write the teases before the game has even been played. The key to successful sports teases is concentrating on the individual players and strategy of the game, not the score and final outcome. Everyone expects us to have the winners, losers and highlights. Promising these components is like selling a car by promising “it has tires, a steering wheel and an engine.” We must go beyond these obvious components and promise something better.
When writing these blind teases, concentrate on the individual battles that will take place within the game. Ask yourself, what is different or unusual about either team? Will one forward’s quickness be matched against another’s superior height? Promise to show viewers the battle between these two stars. Will an injured player require changes in the line up? Promise to show how that substitution will change the intensity of play. Will one coach’s losing streak change his play selection? Promise the mental battle between the coaches.
We can promise these components before the game is played, then report on their effect in the story. Perhaps the injured player had a big effect, or no effect at all. Either way, it’s news. We are teasing the one-on-one battles that take place within any game. These teasable elements give depth and vitality to any game…even before it’s been played.
Graeme Newell is a broadcast and web marketing specialist who serves as the president and founder of 602 communications. You can reach Graeme at firstname.lastname@example.org.