Skip to content

Digital – the Great Connector

Fungai Alexander Mapondera
1 min read

Today's challenge is that sports fans want to connect with each other and with the sport, not brands or broadcasters. Our goal is to show both broadcasters and sponsors how they can leverage digital solutions and new technologies to create valuable and relevant content offerings, alongside opportunities to connect and share – thus becoming part of the conversation and enhancing the fan experience, rather than intruding and alienating.

The new football fan

Pretty much everyone agrees that building direct relationships with consumers is key; however the secret is to do so on the consumer's terms – meeting expectations and providing real value. We need to understand the things fans care about the most and consistently deliver those experiences to them.

A recent COPA90 survey underlined that the traditional TV broadcast fails to reach the younger generation (age 16-24). Rather than attend a live match or watch it on TV, today's football fan is consuming the sport via YouTube, Twitter, Snapchat, online forums/chats, video games and live streams. While football broadcasters have struggled to find growth in pay-TV, viewers are flocking to YouTube.

To be effective, broadcasters and brands need to consider the following:

  1. It's no longer about the live match – you must extend your relationship with fans by "surrounding the live event", that is capitalizing on opportunities outside the match. Today's football fan doesn't have the time or patience to watch a full 90 minute match.

  2. Fans are now the content creators - retaining fan attention and engagement means being on THEIR platforms and joining THEIR conversation. Today's football fan would rather share and interact with his friends; THEIR network is relevant, not yours.

  3. Storytelling must be personal and emotional – behind-the-scenes content and player insights are just as important, if not more, than the live action. Today's football fan wants to be closer to the players, not just the game.

By utilising digital technology to not just reach sports fans, but to better understand their needs, we can create win-win situations – consumers are able to connect with the content they want and broadcasters and brands can connect to their consumers in new and valuable ways.