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Thanks ESPN for Removing the Secrecy of The Elite 11 Camp

August 6, 2009

What do Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Jamarcus Russel, Mark Sanchez, Mathew Stafford and Tim Tebow all have in common?

They all attended the Elite 11 Quarterback Camp.

Unless you are a real football nut (much like myself) you might not know what Elite 11 is.  Elite 11 is an organization that goes across the country each year, searching through thousands of high school quarterbacks to find the best 11 of the very best; The Elite 11.

These best 11 quarterbacks go to a football intensive 4 day camp taught by some of the nations best quarterback coaches.  It is a chance of a lifetime.  If you get invited to this camp, every Division I football school is offering you a scholarship; you are that good.

This year Elite 11 is doing something they had never done; opening their doors.  In the past years the camp took place in closed facilities where no one besides the players, coaches and their families could attend.  This year Elite 11 and ESPN are changing that.

ESPN announced that they teamed with Elite 11 to have coverage like never before on http://www.elite11.com.  On the site they will have bi-weekly webisodes going over what happened as the camp progressed.  Along with the webisodes they will release weekly interactive QB Competition games.  These games will let users compete against each other through their virtual Quarterback which they create, level up and improve throughout the release of the three games.  The whole camp will wrap up in a one hour finale on ESPNU.

This is very exciting for football fans, a chance to get a glimpse of the next great quarterbacks.  Unless you attended one of the 12 Nike Football camps (one of which I was lucky enough to be a participant in the year 2003) or one of the 11 EA Sports Elite Regional Camps, you couldn’t get a glimpse of the top prep stars competing in this exclusive camp.

Kudos to ESPN and Elite 11.  Their multi-platform coverage of the camp is one of the first of its kind.  The fact that it spans TV, internet episodes, and interactive gaming is an interesting  attempt at gaining attention to a camp which was so secret for so long.  They are doing a good job making sure that their portal is going to receive lots of traffic throughout the whole series.  The teared release of episodes and games is a very strategic play which will keep users returning to the site for the multiple weeks.

The games will give users a tool to connect with Elite 11 and compete with those all over the world with those that have the same interests that they have.  It really will keep the bounce rate to a minimum and ensure they have lots of repeat traffic.

As media keeps becoming more prevalent in our lives, ESPN and Elite 11 are setting the trend for media coverage in the future.  No longer will you see just tv coverage or just internet coverage.  You will see multi-platform integrated media which will draw the user much deeper into their coverage.  Elite 11 is starting this tomorrow, but who is next?  Sports and entertainment are both good fits for this type of coverage, and you will probably be seeing more of this in the future.

This will be a big hit with Gen Y because of their need for interaction with their media and need for the deepest coverage possible.  If ESPN does a good job with the episodes it will be a hit.  ESPN’s planning has been great, lets hope they can execute it well too.

Now excuse me when I go cry, wishing that 6 years ago I was invited to the Elite 11 camp and instead didn’t almost fall on my face while running the 40 at the Nike Combine.

Glory Days!!!

Follow Todd on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/toddliss

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