USA Today Establishes New Digital Subscription Experience, USA Today Sports+
Gannett Co. has launched USA Today Sports+, an all-new premium digital subscription experience. USA TODAY Sports+ enables subscribers to curate and customize their local sports experience with immersive content including interactive video, audio and augmented reality features to realize a stronger connection to their devoted sports teams.
USA TODAY Sports+ launches in 7 markets, including Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Indiana, Michigan, Tennessee, and Wisconsin to complement the start of the 2021 National Football League (NFL) season. The subscription offering provides users with an engaging format to fan harder as they consume real-time sports news, content, betting odds, and insider analysis with premium sports reporting from over 300 local, niche, and national publications across the USA TODAY NETWORK. Subscribers will have access to USA TODAY Sports+ journalists and USA TODAY writers, who will deliver exclusive insight, robust reporting, and interactive experiences such as SMS texting and live group chats.
USA TODAY recently launched a premium digital subscription model which aligns its Pulitzer Prize winning content along with its powerful local and national brands with a goal to reach 10 million subscribers by the end of 2025. As USA TODAY continues to enhance its content for subscribers by expanding subscription offerings with significant investments in sports to adapt with evolving media consumption. Gannett also entered into an exclusive strategic sports betting agreement with Tipico U.S., the U.S.-based sportsbook of Tipico Group Ltd., the leading sports betting provider in Germany. Tipico will provide odds integration and live, real-time NFL scoreboards and gaming data across USA TODAY Sports+.
“Gannett is betting big on sports. We are well positioned to reach our sports audience of over 53 million sports fans and capitalize on our large network of over 500 dedicated sports journalists, offering access and local perspective that is unrivaled,” says Michael Reed, Gannett Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our strategic agreement with Tipico, our incredible sports journalism and our USA TODAY Network footprint will ensure Sports+ engages our existing subscriber base, attracts new audiences as we provide exclusive content, experiences and product offerings so fans can literally fan harder.”
To coincide with the launch, USA TODAY’s creative and brand marketing team, in collaboration with KesselsKramer, debuted the “Fan Harder” campaign, through mid-November in launch markets to promote the new USA TODAY Sports+ subscription experience and spotlight sports superfans and their extraordinary team pride. The campaign includes radio ads, out-of-home billboards and banners, a geo-targeted social media campaign with TikTok and Twitter, digital displays and sponsorships at local events.
USA TODAY Sports+ is available across desktop, mobile web and a mobile app, providing subscribers with “Hear This Story” audio listening features, “It’s a Football Podcast!” original insider podcast, homepage customization, sports gaming insight and odds and premium augmented reality (AR) features. The first available AR experience will showcase Tennessee Titans super fan, Yolanda Dixon, and Indianapolis Colts super fan, Rick Stevens, their passion for the game and their team loyalty. These sensory experiences immerse subscribers in storytelling through multi-surface tracking, geolocation support, and volumetric video support. Subscribers will have access to a new AR experience monthly, delivering industry leading interactive features, data visualizations, interactive photos and videos with 3D elements and audio experiences.
USA TODAY Sports+ is enhancing the strength of the team and investing in top-tier talent, hiring journalists across the news organization, including NFL insiders, reporters and producers providing subscribers behind the scenes access to their favorite local teams.
Josina Anderson, an NFL expert and veteran with over 20 years of experience, is joining USA TODAY Sports+ as a senior NFL insider. She is the creator and host of Undefined with Josina Anderson and The Crew. She previously worked for ESPN and was named the network’s first female national NFL insider in 2015.
“I am thrilled to announce the launch of USA TODAY Sports+, an interactive experience that allows us to engage in new ways while building personal connections with local communities across the country,” says Alicia DelGallo, Managing Editor, USA TODAY Sports+. “The investment in our diverse talent and emerging technology is particularly exciting for me, and I know that it will translate to a deeper connection with fans and their teams.”
The product is free for existing digital subscribers of select Gannett properties in launch markets, including The Indianapolis Star, Detroit Free Press and The Enquirer. New users can subscribe via the USA TODAY Sports+ App or directly on the website and receive a three-month free trial. Non-subscribers can access three non-premium articles and view the first AR experience. Registered users can access all non-premium articles and also view the first AR experience.