The world of sport is constantly evolving. New sports are being created all the time, while some that we thought we knew entirely differently are taking the world by storm.
Traditional sports like football and baseball have been around for centuries, but they’re still considered ‘legacy’ sports by many. This is partly because fans have grown accustomed to seeing the same old games day in, day out. However, new technologies have made it easier than ever for sports to stay fresh and interesting to fans.
This is particularly true when it comes to American football, as a passionate group of fans have used the internet to keep their beloved sport trendy and innovative. As a result, many consider it to be among the most technologically advanced sports in the world. (Perhaps we should call it ‘sport’ rather than ‘football’, by the way.)
Why Are Fans Embracing New Technologies In Sports?
The reasons behind why fans are jumping on the technological bandwagon in sports are fairly obvious. First of all, the internet makes it possible for fans to learn almost anything they want about their favorite sport. (The information is usually easy to access and free of charge.)
For instance, fans can now learn about the rules of American football, pinpoint the locations of minor-league baseball teams, and stay abreast of the latest news and rumors in their favorite hockey league. (Not to mention the countless statistics and facts that fans can access with just a few clicks of the mouse.)
Furthermore, mobile phones have made it much easier for fans to keep up with everything happening in the world of sport. Apps like Yowza! and Scorecaster enable fans to follow their favorite teams and players wherever they go, regardless of whether they’re at home or on the road. (On the road, in particular, as travelling to follow a sport is much easier and more affordable these days.)
How Can Marketing Execs Help Build a Tech-Savvy Sports Culture?
If you’re a sports marketer, you know that gaining the support of fans is of paramount importance. This is especially true for new sports and new technologies, as fans that embrace these things are usually much more valuable than the average fan.
To ensure that your efforts are fruitful, you need to consider what types of fans you’re targeting and how you intend to gain their support. Here are some suggestions:
Pay Attention To The Emerging Audiences
One of the most effective things that you can do for your sport is to pay attention to the emerging audiences, those who are just beginning to follow your sport but who have the potential to become hardcore fans. (To put it simply, pay attention to your ‘early adopters’.)
These are the fans that are most likely to benefit from and value new technologies and other innovative strategies that you may introduce. (Remember that older generations might not fully understand the technological advances made in sports. So, it’s important that you educate them about the changes that are made for the better.)
Experiment With Different Campaigns And Measure Their Effect
Another important thing that you can do for your sport is to experiment with different campaigns and measure their effect. (The idea is to find the one that works best for your sport and then scale it up. In addition, gathering data through A/B Testing is extremely useful for establishing a baseline and then measuring future improvements. (This is how you find the ‘right’ formula for your marketing plan.)
The growth of eSports has been massive and it shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, the amount of people that participate in League of Legends matches each week increased by 58% in the summer of 2018.
What does this mean for your marketing plan? It means that you need to experiment with different methods of promoting your sport and measuring the results of those experiments. (You know that metrics and data collection are important to establish an effective marketing plan.)
Make The Game More User-friendly
Another important aspect of maintaining a healthy sports culture is to make the game more user-friendly. (You can’t expect gamers to tune in if the gameplay is difficult or confusing.)
However, this can be difficult and it requires a lot of work. One of the best examples of a newly tech-friendly sport is Formula 1, as the designers of the new cars and tracks made it much easier for viewers to keep up. (They also made it possible for people to stream races live, which increased viewership significantly.)
One of the main reasons behind this initiative is that cars are now faster and more maneuverable than ever before. As a result, the action is much more exciting than it was in the past. (No wonder why the manufacturers are involved in such a massive product redesign over the past few years.)
The need for speed has also made it possible for fans to learn more about their sport through social media. Instead of simply watching highlights at a game, fans can now engage with their favorite sports teams and participate in the action. This makes it possible for brands to get closer to their audience, engage with them, and drive sales.
Keep The Friction Minimal
Another important thing that you can do for your sport is to keep the friction minimal. (The idea is to reduce as many barriers to entry as possible, so that anyone can enjoy your sport and engage with it easily. (The fewer the barriers, the more enjoyable the sport. This is the key to growing a fan base. (Having a fan base is important, because it allows you to engage with your audience and establish a relationship with them. This is especially useful for selling things to them later on. (Selling is one of the most important functions of any business, and the ability to do so through a sports team or brand will give you a significant advantage. (To put it simply, having fans helps you get sponsorships, which helps you fund your operations. This, in turn, makes it possible for you to continue your operations and innovate. Furthermore, having a large fan base means you’ll able to sell more tickets for home games, or merchandise. (For more information on how to sell tickets, check out our blog post on how to market sports online.)
The Possibilities Are Endless
These suggestions above are just a few ways to make your sport much more appealing to new and existing fans alike. (Of course, you need to determine which strategy is best for your sports and your budget. This is why you want to experiment with different methods and check the results regularly. (This is how you find the ‘right’ formula for your marketing plan.)
You have an endless number of possibilities when it comes to marketing your sport online, so find the one that works best for you and your organization and then scale it up. (This is how you find the ‘right’ formula for your marketing plan.)