Aug. 21, 2014
MADISON, Wis. - Where do Badgers fans like to get their news from? The choices are almost endless with the web, TV, newspapers and magazines all providing terrific coverage of Wisconsin athletics. Increasingly, fans are looking for that coverage on their smartphones or tablets.
For many years, UWBadgers.com, the official web site of Wisconsin Athletics has been a destination for fans looking for information on UW's 23 varsity teams. A terrific addition to the Badgers' web presence has been Varsity Magazine, the weekly digital magazine which features in-depth profiles from UWBadgers.com Insider Mike Lucas, columns from UW Director of Athletics Barry Alvarez and "The Voice of the Badgers" Matt Lepay, along with terrific photography and fun student-athlete stories.
In 2013-14, Varsity Magazine's 37 issues garnered more than 500,000 total views. Of those views, more than 50 percent were from a mobile device. With that in mind, the UW Athletic Communications Office looked to enhance the mobile delivery of Varsity Magazine through the use of Adobe Digital Publishing Suite.
Used by a number of magazine publishers and athletic departments, the Adobe DPS experience is very interactive, with scrolling text, swipe-enabled photo galleries, embedded video, animated photos and much more.
"The more we looked at the Adobe DPS solution and how some other schools and magazines have used it, the more we knew it was the right fit for us," Director of Athletic Communications Brian Lucas said. "We feel the content in Varsity Magazine is terrific and a must-read for Badgers fans. With the number of mobile viewers increasing every week, we needed to make the content more readable on a smartphone and a more interactive experience, especially on tablets. We have definitely accomplished that."
The first issue of Varsity, appropriately titled "What's Next," hit the App Store and Google Play earlier this week. The free app is available for iPhones and iPads as well as Android phones and tablets. A web viewer for fans accustomed to viewing Varsity Magazine on their computers, is available as well.
In addition to Varsity Magazine, Wisconsin Athletics will now be producing digital game programs for football (home and away), volleyball, men's hockey and men's and women's basketball games. Printed game programs will no longer be available, but a roster card with stats, home and visitor rosters, notes and a short player feature will be available for purchase for $2 at concessions stands and Bucky's Locker Room locations.
The digital game programs, titled Varsity Gameday, will include much of the information formerly available in the printed game programs. Rosters, stats, depth charts, notes and player features will now be augmented with video, large photos and interactive features. Varsity Gameday will be available to download for smartphones or tablets a couple days before each game for fans hoping to have the information at their fingertips on gameday, whether in the venue or enjoying the game at home.
"We saw this as an opportunity to expand our reach with the game programs," Lucas said. "The success of Varsity Magazine, coupled with declining sales of the printed game programs, led us to this decision. We think the game programs will continue to be a valuable source of information for our fans with an enhanced interactivity that will make them more enjoyable."
Varsity Magazine and Varsity Gameday will both be housed in the same mobile app. Fans can search for the "Varsity" app in the App Store or Google Play. The app, as well as Varsity Magazine and Varsity Gameday issues, are free.