Hoop Vision Plus: Week 1, By The Numbers (HV+)

A "business update" after one week of HV+

Hello! We’re back on a Sunday, but today we’re trying something a little bit different.

This note includes some analysis, but it’s not related to on-court happenings, offensive systems or trends in how college basketball is played.

If you’re receiving this, it’s because you subscribed to HV+ in our first week, and for that we owe you a great debt of gratitude. It’s an unproven concept; as such, we’re aiming to build trust and a sense of transparency with you as we build this thing out. So today, we’re looping you in on a (brief) “business update” after one week of Hoop Vision Plus.

If you don’t really care and are just here for hoops, no worries at all -- we’ll be back with the goods tomorrow.

But if you have any interest in what our operation looks like, how Hoop Vision is growing, and the circumstances of launching an independent sports media outlet in late 2019 -- this is for you.

The person writing this note to you right now is not Jordan Sperber; my name is Edgar Walker, and I’ve been quietly working with Jordan on Hoop Vision for nearly a year now. Jordan and I spoke at length on the Solving Basketball podcast last week; take a listen (iTunes // YouTube) for more intel on my involvement and the plans for HV+ moving forward.

And while I’ve spent several years working in the basketball industry in various roles, I will never pretend to have the basketball IQ and analytical acumen that Jordan has; my role in this production is to focus on strategy and audience growth. 

In other words, I’m the “suit” of Hoop Vision -- even though I wear a hoodie and shorts pretty much 99% of the time.

In that podcast discussion, we talked a lot about transparency and the fact that people like to get some inside info on the businesses and creators they support. So today -- after a week of unbelievable support from people like you -- we’re sharing a few more details on how things are unfolding.

Below, you’ll get a brief rundown on what the audience looks like, a light breakdown of the level and leagues for subscribed college programs, and you’ll learn a bit about HV+ content performance thus far.

Any questions or suggestions after Week 1?
Feel free to COMMENT on this email by clicking/tapping the comment icon up top, or REPLY to us with any feedback you’d rather keep private.

Who is subscribing to Hoop Vision Plus?

We obviously won’t publicly share any specific names, but here’s a look at how we’re thinking about subscriber audience segments, and how those segments are represented:

Those segments, written out:
1) College Coaches — 33% of HV+ audience
2) Fans — 22% of HV+ audience
3) Amateur / High School Coaches — 20% of HV+ audience
4) Independent Media — 11% of HV+ audience
5) “Big” Media* — 10% of HV+ audience
6) NBA Front Office / Executives — 4% of HV+ audience

*Note: We felt it would be important to stipulate between independent creators/bloggers and “big media” (what some may refer to as "mainstream” media); the Big Media segment includes those who work for large media corporations, while the Independent Media segment is made up of folks who work for smaller or individually-owned blogs/websites/channels.


Which college programs are subscribing to Hoop Vision Plus?

Again, we won’t share any specific names of coaches or programs that are subscribing, but the subscriber base of college coaches after one week is largely made up of Division I programs:

Just in the first week, we have seen the following conferences represented within the HV+ subscriber base:

ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC; Big Sky, Conference USA, Horizon, Ivy League, Mountain West, Southern, Summit, Sun Belt, SWAC, WAC, West Coast

(Note: Don’t see your school/league represented on the list above? Let us know!)


Which post was most popular?

Unsurprisingly, the longform nature of this week’s deep dive posts means that many readers revisited the posts in the days after it was originally sent, so we are seeing incremental increases in views each day. However, here’s a look at how the four posts stacked up against each other during our HV+ debut week:

So you can see, the Virginia Offense and Texas Tech Defense posts are essentially tied in terms of total views, even as the UVA post had a two-day head start.

Bonus note: each of the four HV+ posts had email open rates between 70 percent and 80 percent. The average open rate thus far is exactly 75 percent.


Are HV+ supporters mainly doing annual or monthly subscriptions?

No fancy graphic here, because it’s an easy answer: it’s (quite literally) half and half.

Observations / Takeaways / Surprises

  • It’s NOT all that surprising that college coaches are the main audience out of the gate; not only is that audience closely tied to Hoop Vision as a whole, but the esoteric nature of Week 1’s posts lend themselves well to the coaching community.

  • Personally (and this is Edgar speaking here, not Jordan), I was expecting high school coaches to take up a slightly bigger chunk of that first pie chart.

    ^However, that may be chalked up to an identification issue; it’s very easy for us to note college coaches and media members; either their name and reputation precedes them, or their employer is directly listed within email addresses. My suspicious is that a healthy amount of supporters we have categorized in the “Fans” segment may, in fact, coach a youth or high school team.
  • It’s exciting to see a healthy handful of NBA front office employees (some quite high-ranking within their organizations!) jumping in to support HV+ and consume the content we’re proudly producing. While this publication is not an NBA Draft or scouting publication by any means, there are certainly concepts and themes within HV+ coverage that may have core ties to NBA gameplan discussions and personnel philosophies.

  • We have a few college coaches on the women’s side, which is great to see. This this is a men’s basketball publication through and through, but it’s exciting to know we have supporters within the women’s game, and that coaches are potentially adapting concepts and taking lessons back and forth between the men’s and women’s games.

  • As we roll out coverage on more teams and topics throughout the next month and into the season, it will be fascinating to see how certain fanbases respond, and which fanbases convert at a higher rate. Looking at fanbase behavior and characteristics was a huge component of my work on the strategy side at Bleacher Report; it will be a fun intellectual exercise to compare those behaviors within a free mobile app versus a premium, email-based media offering.


That’s all from me today! Feedback is welcomed and appreciated; we’ll see how this goes, and potentially do a “business update” like this again if people find it to be interesting!

— Edgar Walker (Twitter: @Edgar_Walker)