How to Start a Sports Website in 2024

How to start a sports website?

How to start a sports website if you already have some webmaster experience? Is it anyhow different from the other websites? Can you become a successful publisher in the sports niche without any previous experience?

We spoke to the masters of sports content monetization and brought up this guide for you.

Why a Sports Website?

Just check out the figures: the top popular sports channel – ESPN – gets 415.5 million unique visitors per month. The biggest sports website in Latin America can boast 37 million unique users per month. 

Even if your site doesn’t beat the record of ESPN, with a certain investment, effort, and patience, you can strive for as big a number as 1,000,000 unique monthly visitors. Such traffic volumes might become available even to small sports publishers during big sporting events: World Cups, famous UFC or boxing fights, and highly-anticipated football matches. 

Now let’s do simple math:

  • The CPM (Cost-Per-Mille, price per 1000 ad impressions) can reach the range of 8 to 12 on certain GEOs when you monetize your site with, for example, Monetag Popunder or Smartlink. Suppose yours is even a bit lower – like 3, on average.
  • Now, let’s imagine your traffic is fully organic, and every user sees ads on your website three times on average. At Monetag, you can set the ad frequency yourself, so it can be three times, or less, or more. To count your approximate profit from traffic monetization, we can use the formula:

(Monthly visits * ad views per user) / 1000 * average CPM, where

CPM is the cost per thousand impressions (in dollars)

  • Profit ≈ (1,000,000*3)/1,000*3= $9,000

The potential profit of $9,000 per month (for a website with a pretty average CPM) is already the answer to the question, ‘Why shall I start a sports website?’.

Our calculation did not consider big traffic spikes with higher volumes of visitors and that CPMs can become much bigger as they fluctuate throughout your whole monetization journey.

So, how to begin it?

Running Sports Websites: Key Figures and Tips

A sports website seems a pretty wide term. Sports blogs, highlights websites, or news can be perfectly monetized, but are they the same in regard to investments, maintenance, and efforts? 

We made an overview of the three top popular sports site types. 

Sports Highlights/Commentary Websites

What you need and how much it will cost:

  • Website or App Development
  • Design and User Experience
  • Hosting and Infrastructure
  • High-end dedicated server with 40TB+ bandwidth
  • Cloud Delivery Network
  • Content Licensing

A secret of a good video highlights service, according to one of our Platinum publishers (investments – about $20,000; earnings – up to $2000 per day), is the following: 

‘There is no mystery to this. Everything works thanks to good servers, CDN, and good resource management.’ 

Let’s get a closer look at this. A website with videos must deliver content quickly and smoothly: who would want to watch match reviews with constant interruptions and poor quality? To avoid such issues, consider investing much into the following components:

  • High-performance server. Video content requires much more storage and capacity than blogs or news sites. Your website will need to manage large files and show high-resolution videos without delays, so an expensive server with high bandwidth and quick data transfer capabilities is a must. 

One of the optimal solutions here is a dedicated server with more than 40TB bandwidth and a high-quality CPU like Intel Xeon Gold or similar. Additionally, it’s recommended to use a CDN – a cloud delivery network.

  • Cloud Delivery Network. In short, a CDN allows a website to show content much quicker because it caches content copies and shows them upon request from the server closest to a user. 

Among the top popular CDN providers are CloudFlare, Amazon CloudFront, and Akamai.

  • Resource management. This actually implies monitoring the website and its content, making sure it works appropriately. For example, this may involve thoroughly checking the available resources when you expect a large traffic spike during a popular sporting event. Unless you have the time and knowledge to manage it all by yourself, you might require a system administrator, which costs $20 per hour.

Besides the essential technical arrangements, you will need to consider the source of your content and make sure you distribute it legally. This might involve spending on getting the rights ownership or paying content creators for original works.

Finally, don’t forget that sports highlights websites also need to have a good ranking in search, specifically on Google. While you don’t have so much space for search engine optimization here as article copywriters do, there is still written content you need to take care of. This includes:

  • Video descriptions
  • Summaries of the games
  • Extra content like user comments or match overviews

As our Platinum publisher puts it, the overall competition is overcome by the content quality:

‘We try to provide enterprise-level service. In this case, we beat our competitors by quality, which makes us come out ahead.’

Monetization tips from Monetag:

Users of the sports highlights content websites rarely mind seeing ads. This is why you can safely experiment with various formats, especially on the big game dates. As our Silver Publisher (invests about $2,000 per month, earns up to $4,000+ per month) claims, his best monetization option is Popunder.

Here are some top Popunder combos you can try:

  • Popunders + Vignette Banners
  • Popunders + In-Page-Push ads
  • Only 3-5 Popunders each 30 minutes during big traffic spikes

Sports News Websites

What you need:

  • Website Development
  • Design and User Experience
  • Using APIs from news organizations
  • Data Collection and Aggregation
  • Dedicated servers or cloud hosting

Sports news seems the simplest option content-wise: all you need is to monitor the events and post them as soon as possible. The best part: it doesn’t require checking what’s happening 24/7 and urgently writing a 100% unique article. 

In fact, many publishers today opt for news aggregator websites. So, the main part of the work will involve building a site itself and then setting up automatic news posting.

We asked David, a publisher, about how it works:

I own several sports news aggregators. As a developer, I set everything myself, so, as a result, my aggregator website automatically posts small pieces of full news from approximately 5,000 sources. This practice is completely legal: all my posts come with links to the original news portal. In fact, after setting the automatic posting to the right sections of my website, plus a Monetag tag, I don’t bother much about anything else.

Monetization tips from Monetag:

News websites are greatly monetized with Vignette banners that make a perfect match with Interstitial ads. Alternatively, you can try our Multitag to activate all the possible formats without overwhelming users with ads at the same time.

Sports Blogs

What you need:

  • Website Development
  • Design and User Experience
  • Hosting and Infrastructure

The blogging niche requires a lot of written content. Besides standard hosting, domain, and web design works, you will need a strong content management strategy. This doesn’t only include skillful writers. 

As one of our publishers, an owner of a small sports blog (invested only in hosting and domain name; earnings – up to $150 per month) shared,

A small website can be easily managed on your own. Still, when you want to scale, you need to consider a convenient CMS (content management system) to allow several content managers to get easy access to your blog.

Here are some tips for sports blogs from our publishers:

  • Make sure you have a flexible CMS that suits your needs and can be easily used by content managers with little knowledge of web development. Generally, it should offer a wide range of features and functionalities, such as ease of use, customization, scalability, security, and performance. 
  • Try finding a narrow niche for your sports blog if you are not sure about your SEO skills and don’t have a big team. The big media guys ranking with lots of multiple categories are hard to beat. Alternatively, you can try to become a big media guy, too!

Monetization tips from Monetag:

We don’t recommend using Blogspot, Blogger, and other out-of-the-box services with free hostings if you want to earn big with traffic monetization. So, consider investing in your own site with a customized CMS. And finally, enjoy the power of Vignette banners and Interstitials, which make a perfect match with blogs.

Alternative Options for Sports Monetization

Creating and maintaining a sports website requires investments. While you can begin all by yourself, scaling will require money, practice, and resources. If your team already has an SEO specialist, and you know the ropes of web development, you can still come across the issues you were not so ready for:

  • Urgent news posting
  • Content rights access
  • High-quality content writers

However, sports themes can be perfectly promoted with the help of other platforms and successfully monetized there, too. Here are some alternatives for those who are new to the web and can’t afford to run a website without experience:

  • YouTube Channel. Not all the content can be monetized via YouTube because of the copyright. However, so-called derivative works – when you use parts of copyrighted content to create something new, like game highlights, will not infringe that.
  • Telegram Channel. Another option is a sports channel on Telegram. Popular topics include match predictions, game overviews, and news.

To Sum Up

All sports websites are similar in terms of fluctuating traffic volumes: they depend on the season and the popularity of a particular sporting event. At the same time, they tend to have a loyal and passionate audience who visit the site frequently and spend much time on it. 

So, in short, your site must be able to handle traffic spikes and surges and provide a fast, reliable, and secure user experience. 

That’s pretty it, and the last piece of the puzzle is the good monetization tools we offer at Monetag.

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