USA TODAY Sports Re-Launches The Big Lead

Leading sports-meets-pop culture site, which has doubled pageviews over past year, moves to responsive design layout to optimize mobile experience

Aug 28, 2013, 13:00 ET from USA TODAY Sports Media Group

MCLEAN, Va., Aug. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties announced today that it has re-launched The Big Lead (, its fast-growing and highly social media property where breaking sports news and commentary collide with pop culture. 

Originally launched by founder and Editor-in-Chief Jason McIntyre in February 2006 and acquired by the USA TODAY Sports Media Group in February 2012 as part of its acquisition of Big Lead Sports, The Big Lead (@thebiglead on Twitter) is in the midst of its most successful year ever. Pageviews have grown by nearly 100% since July 2012, with pageviews on tablets (up 250%) and smartphones (up 320%) leading the increases.  The site is also attracting new (unique visitors are up 112%), young (50% within the 18-34 demo), affluent (median HHI $90K) and male (over 50%) fans that are highly engaged with The Big Lead's content (time spent is up 47%). 

As part of the site's re-launch, The Big Lead will now incorporate a device responsive layout to maximize the experience for mobile users (over 50% of traffic) and audiences coming to the site from social media platforms (over 40% of traffic).

"The Big Lead is one of our strongest and most opinionated sites, and the new design is focused on providing The Big Lead's engaged and passionate audience with a seamless user experience across desktop, tablet and smartphones," said Chris Pirrone, General Manager of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties. "The site's popularity has grown by an average of 16% each of the last six months, particularly with young audiences who love its edgy perspective on breaking news and sports personalities.

"This re-design will cater to The Big Lead's highly social and mobile audience, and provide a new look and feel that's more amenable to premium and native advertising." 

"We've grown over the last seven years from a blog into a smart, news-breaking, must-read website," said McIntyre, who has claimed an NCAA investigation into UNC basketball player PJ Hairston among the site's many scoops in 2013.  In addition to McIntyre, The Big Lead features regular contributions from fellow reporters and social influencers Stephen Douglas, Tyler Duffy, Jason Lisk and Tim Ryan, among several others.

The Big Lead re-launch is built on USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties'  new lightweight digital publishing platform that enables rapid deployment of faster, leaner and device-responsive sites to support sports fans consumption habits across desktop, tablet and mobile.  The lightweight publishing platform will be used to integrate and re-platform the portfolio of 10 independent websites that USA TODAY Sports Media Group has acquired since its inception in 2011, and launch new mobile-friendly sites focused on trending sports topics that today's on-the-go sports fans crave. 

About USA TODAY Sports Media Group:
The USA TODAY Sports Media Group encompasses all sports initiatives across USA TODAY Sports and Gannett's more than 100 well-known local media brands. It also includes the sports photography wire service USA TODAY Sports Images, leading high school sports destination  USA TODAY High School SportsFor The Win, the first mainstream sports media property focused exclusively on "social news," and designed specifically to resonate on social networks and non-traditional media channels and platforms; Sports On Earth, a  joint venture with MLB Advanced Media dedicated to great sports writing in all its forms; and the hundreds of sites within USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties, such as and mixed martial arts site, among others. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (GCI).

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SOURCE USA TODAY Sports Media Group