Appealing to the Modern Sports Fan

Today’s consumers present sponsors with a dichotomy, in a recent study conducted by Momentum Worldwide, 86% of respondents said that they wouldn’t mind more sponsors in the sports that they follow and 88% accept that sponsors can create new opportunities for their teams. That being said, an 83% of the respondents also feel like sponsors “do not consider the fans”, thus leaving them feeling marginalized and felling like an afterthought. Fans also expressed their disdain at heavy-handed branding present in arenas and broadcasts.

Navigating this dichotomy requires an insight into the consumption habits of modern day sport consumers. Arguably the biggest trend is the rise of the second screen. Data from the Mobile World Congress last year indicated that 83% of all sports fans use a second screen whilst following a game. And according to Nielsen data, American fans consumed 7.1 billion minutes of sports in the month of October 2015. 

Furthermore, when the above data is looked at in tandem with consumer needs, a clearer picture begins to emerge. Over half of all sports fans indicated that up to date statistics and information is the greatest demonstrator of their passion and that they always want to get closer to the on-field action.

So how can sponsors leverage this and generate more effective results from their properties? The answer lies in demonstrating that they always have the consumers’ best interests at heart and in enhancing their experience both inside and outside the arena. Creating content and assets that fans willfully want to interact with can help in achieving this goal. Such content should be-

•    Relevant to the fans and should be real-time – Modern fans want everything ‘in the now’ and the content should reflect that. That being said, it should be relevant to what they desire to know. The content should help them be a more complete fan and should help them show their friends and family that.

•    Should not contain heavy handed branding – Modern consumers find that overt brand promotion takes away from their experience, hence the brand should be seamlessly weaved into content that they would want to interact with.

•    Lastly, it should be global, but locally pertinent – If this isn’t done effectively, then there is a risk of alienating consumers.

When trying to appeal to sports fans, brands should go more towards the way of Heineken’s #sharethesofa

or IBM’s slamtracker