SJA website gets 5 million hits in 2008

The SJA website produced some Olympian performances in 2008, attracting almost 5 million hits and setting traffic records throughout the year.

With final traffic figures now in, it is clear that enjoyed its busiest year yet during 2008.

The site published more than 600 articles in the past 12 months, keeping our record number of members and the wider world of journalism posted on all the SJA’s activities, while charting the on-going changes in the business and reporting on our members’ news and activities, notably including Chairman Barry Newcombe’s Beijing Blog.

The site’s first traffic record came early in the year, with 51,096 hits on March 18 – the greatest number of articles read on the site on a single day, coinciding with the ever-growing interest and prestige of our SJA British Sports Journalism Awards.

That one-day boost helped March 2008 establish a record 519,160 hits for one month.

Better was to come in the Olympic month of August, however, when the site received 645,291 hits – an average of 20,000 every day, another example of the terrific demand for news related to the Beijing Games and promising even more impressive figures between now and July 2012 when London stages the biggest show on earth.

As well as a special section for journalism students, the website provides potential new members with application forms and offers booking and entry forms for the SJA’s annual Sports Awards and Journalism Awards. In 2008, record numbers of SJA members voted for the Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year – and half those votes came via the website.

All in all, attracted 4,994.406 hits through 2008.

“We are indebted to members – particularly Barry Newcombe, Philip Barker, Anton Rippon and Randall Northam – who regularly provide us with articles for the site and all for no fee, all to help provide the Association’s membership with interesting and intriguing material,” Steven Downes, the SJA Secretary, said.

“Likewise, photographers Leo Mason, Stuart Robinson and Nigel Farrow have provided us gratis with the many images which designer Simon Baxter has used to good effect.”

Several SJA members, including the Sunday Times‘s Hugh McIlvanney, photographer Monte Fresco and former chairman David Hunn contributed chapters for a special online series of articles to commemorate the SJA’s 60th anniversary in 2008. Several of the website’s news stories from the sports desks of the nationals have also been followed up by Press Gazette and Media Guardian.

“It all helps to generate traffic to the site, which in turn is starting to attract advertisers and sponsors, so that as well as providing a valuable service to our members, the website is starting to generate some income for the Association,” Downes said.

“Norman Giller, a sports writing legend, has now volunteered to write a regular column for us – with news articles posted online daily, the SJA website has established itself as the place to go to for coverage of our business.”

â–¡ UK Sport is the longest standing lead sponsor of the Sports Journalists’ Association, with a partnership that goes back more than a decade. Sky Bet are the SJA’s newest partners, the sponsorship being announced in October 2008.

Both partners support the SJA’s two prestigious annual awards events, including the presentation of a special UK Sport Award for excellence at the SJA’s Annual Sports Awards and the sports betting writer of the year at the SJA’s British Sports Journalism Awards.

The SJA Annual Sports Awards are the longest established of their kind in the United Kingdom, having been first staged in 1949. The 60th SJA Sports Awards were staged in London on November 26.

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