CSN Chicago Expands Digital Strategy, Reports Increased Traffic

Comcast SportsNet Chicago has announced a number of significant digital media developments for CSNChicago.com, including a redesigned look, a content partnership with SB Nation, and the appointment of a new digital sales manager.  Despite an increasingly crowded multimedia market following the launch of ESPNChicago.com, CSNChicago.com has seen substantial audience and traffic growth over the past year. Since CSNChicago.com re-launched in Aug. 2009, the site has experienced increased visits by over 238%, increased page views by over 243%, and an increased in unique visitors by 213%.

“To complement the continued success of Comcast SportsNet Chicago, we are proud to announce CSNChicago.com is generating increased web traffic, including sizable increases in visits, page views and the unique visitors categories,” says T.K. Gore, director of digital media for CSN Chicago.  “With a fresh look for our website featuring our high-quality, local video content, a new partnership with local SB Nation blogs and adding Joe Marino in the newly created position of digital sales manager, we are delivering the highest quality local sports digital coverage.”

New Partnership with SB Nation
As part of a overarching deal between Comcast Sports Group and SB Nation, CSN Chicago has entered into a content-sharing and cross-promotional partnership with the the fan-centric blog network.

Chicago sports fans will be able to access selected breaking news, analysis, and other local sports content from both outlets on each other’s websites.  Among the SB Nation blogs now appearing on CSNChicago.com include: BleedCubbieBlue (Cubs), BlogaBull (Bulls), SouthSideSox (White Sox), SecondCityHockey (Blackhawks) and WindyCityGridiron (Bears).  CSNChicago.com has a content module published on local SB Nation blogs and CSNChicago.com includes an SB Nation module in the site’s blog section.

“This partnership is an important development in our digital growth strategy because it adds authentic fan voices from SB Nation to our on-the-ground newsgathering and production expertise,” says Gore.  “This combination enables us to provide our growing audience with even more insightful and passionate local sports coverage.”

CSNChicago.com Debuts New Look

CSN Chicago has redesigned CSNChicago.com with new user-friendly features, including the ability to easily comment on and share videos and play top local videos directly from a rotating slideshow.  The site boasts a comprehensive Chicago sports video library featuring team video pages for the Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, White Sox and Bears.

In addition, CSNChicago.com now offers Facebook Connect, allowing Facebook members to log onto the site using their Facebook credentials, and Facebook-like buttons, allowing visitors to promote and share CSNChicago.com articles or blogs.  CSNChicago.com also launched a new blog user interface and network that includes on-air talent, reporters and writers plus an expanded rumors section to stay on top of the latest buzz in Chicago sports.

Joe Marino Hired as Digital Sales Manager

CSN Chicago has also filled the newly created position of digital sales manager with sales executive Joe Marino.  Marino will be responsible for all facets of digital advertising sales for CSNChicago.com. Marino comes to CSN Chicago from Emmis Communications’ WKQX-FM, where he spent three-plus years as an account manager increasing monthly revenue goals for the Chicago-based alternative rock station.  Prior to WKQX, Marino spent five-plus years WDRV-FM.  Raised in Glenview, IL, Marino graduated from Chicago’s Columbia College in 2000 with a B.A. in advertising.

In Other News… CSN Chicago Debuts Documentary Bill Smith: Lasting Impressions

CSN Chicago will provide viewers with behind-the-scenes special entitled Bill Smith: Lasting Impressions, detailing the story of how Chicago sports team photographer Bill Smith and his wife Lauren’s 2002 visit to Cambodia changed their lives forever.  This half-hour documentary premieres Memorial Day, Monday, May 31 at 7 p.m. exclusively on Comcast SportsNet.

Bill Smith: Lasting Impressions, narrated by CSN Chicagos Chuck Garfien, introduces viewers to Bill Smith, who is the official team photographer for the Chicago Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears.  Smith has taken an annual trip with his wife Lauren to Cambodia in 2002 that opened his eyes like never before.

During their 2002 Cambodian visit, their guide on this particular trip suggested they “visit the children.”  What they witnessed was beyond heart breaking.  Families were actually living in the garbage dump. Bill and his wife Lauren then, on-the-spot, sponsored some of the young children, got them out of the dump and organized a scenario to send them to school. Over the next several years, the Smiths’ dream became a reality as donations continued to pour in and they were able to form a foundation called A New Day Cambodia and officially became a 501c3 non-profit organization and a verified NGO (Non-Government Organization) in Cambodia. After visiting an orphanage in Cambodia, Bill and Lauren adopted two children, making them official members of the Smith household.

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