31 Aug 2020

LEDE AI Sports Coverage More Critical Than Ever During Pandemic

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that we knew if Lede AI would cover any high school sports at all. COVID-19 has made the the existence of a prep sports season a nailbiter. Whole states have called off sports for the time being and for those that are playing the outcome is still in doubt, for sure.

In Ohio, where Source Media Properties (SMP) is located, the student athletes are on the field for now. SMP’s newsrooms do a ton of coverage of high school sports throughout a four county area in Central Ohio and they publish it to three sites. Richland Source, Ashland Source, and Knox Pages together cover dozens of high schools and thousands of athletes.

Last year, we drilled into how Lede AI helped them cover more games and reach more users than ever before. 2020 was… different.

Massive rainstorms combined with COVID-19 threw a number of new variables into the mix that kept fans away. Lede AI relies on ScoreStream to provide fan-driven score and game data. That’s the basis for the content we write. To say we were nervous was an understatement.

  • Ohio COVID-19 regulations strictly limited fans at the games to 15% of stadium capacity.

  • Many schools pivoted to livestreams that fans could watch from home.

  • Weather issues either delayed games by hours or forced postponement to Saturday.

The results (and the signal sent) surprised us and the team at SMP. Traffic and unique page views were up. And this on a weekend where fewer people attended games, coverage was cobbled together at the last second, and Mother Nature had her way with us.

Here’s the key data points for the traffic driven by the use of Lede AI’s automated coverage.

Aug 24 – 30, 2020 vs. Aug 26 – Sep 1, 2019

  • Year over year, traffic to AI written content grew by over 15%.

  • Over 800 game URL’s generated traffic from all over Ohio.

  • Deep-linking to previous coverage drove additional traffic from users.

  • Google searches for game results consistently showed Richland Source’s AI-driven coverage in top positions in Google News and organic search.

  • The vast majority of traffic came from organic search or via referral from aggregation apps like Newsbreak.

  • All of this coverage was written in natural language and published automatically.


First page Google search placement of Lede AI coverage shown in yellow.

No matter what your market size, Lede AI can help you cover more teams and deliver more value to your readers than ever before. To learn more about the simplest and most affordable AI tool for high school sports, set up a call today.

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