New athletic website aims to update fans, more changes to come

October 6, 2016

Most of the time, athletes in high school play for the love of the game. The Central athletic department has changed to a new format for their sports website in order to promote the athletes that play their respective sport, no matter what team they participate in.

One of the reasons why the athletic department transitioned to a new format was to stay updated with what other schools in the district and in the Metro area were doing. With the new format comes a new look and a new domain name, Ultimately, Central was one of the last schools to adopt the new website format.

“We really see the benefit in how we can help all the levels of sports,” assistant athletic director Jodi Nielsen said. “We can keep our community informed of what’s going on, even besides the varsity level.”

The athletic department began to consider the new format after it was proposed to current athletic director Luke Dillon around two years ago. “I didn’t do a lot with it at the time since it was only my second year,” Dillon said. “I knew initially I wanted to do it, but after I got that second year under my belt I wanted to plan the transition of [the website.]”

The athletic department has found that the new format allows them to better connect with the Central community and keep students, parents and alumni informed. This website format now allows for easier social media updating of news and the latest results of games and events, which Nielsen said was a major help for the staff that is not as technologically advanced as the students who will be the targeted audience for social media alerts. Central community members can also sign up for alerts through the website itself so they can stay up-to-date on any breaking news coming from the athletic programs.

Dillon cites communication of what is happening in all sports as a major goal and drive for the athletic department. “One of the biggest challenges we face here in particular is the varsity sports like football and basketball will be in the newspaper,” Dillon said. “But what about tennis, what about golf, what about swimming results and softball? We don’t always see those covered in the newspaper.”

One thing Dillon is focused on in the upcoming months is to continue promoting the website inside of Central. That means making cards to hand out and making sure more people learn about the website. Keeping active on social media is another major factor as well to bring eyes to all programs. “It’s more of a grassroots effort right now, coaches telling parents,” Dillon said. “As we continue to get that message out there, that is what will ultimately attract people.”

The new features and fancy social media integration came at a cost. The new format cost the athletic department around $1,400 for a lifetime subscription. However, the value according to Dillon was worth the price point. “For the presentation and what we’re spending on it, I think it’s well worth for the advertisement of what the kids are doing.”

There is also a community benefit to this website with the hope that students get involved. “I really want student involvement as much as possible,” Nielsen said. “I think it would be cool to get pictures that kids take during the games or even pictures that the yearbook takes and put those in the photo gallery.” Nielsen teaches Web Design at Central, so she wants her students to get involved in the website and manage it themselves. Helping with the website also could be something that students could put on a resume, according to Dillon.

Making the website is not the end of the journey. The athletic department has various plans for improvements as well as making the website a focal point for communication between parents, coaches and the public. It could also become a place for activities other than those on a field of play. “It’s something that I think that the more eyes we can get to it, the bigger it gets,” Dillon said. “I think the message becomes [more] circulated of whatever we are doing at Central High School, not just athletically but maybe this extends to activities and clubs. We have the capacity to do that, but it’s trying to show why it’s important and getting the community involved.”

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