The first thing you notice about the Leaders Sport Summit is the dress code – standard issue dark suits. Those who dare come in colour and jacketless. I did not.
The second is the range of sessions often leaving one at a quandary on which to attend. This presents a risky undertaking; a bout of indecisiveness may leave you banished to the ‘overflow’ room as the session you wanted may be over subscribed.
The annual Leaders conference, a regular event in the sport industry calendar, was held at Stamford Bridge on the 7th and 8th October this year and attracted a whole host of speakers, panellist and attendees from all four corners of the globe.
Broadcasters, rights holders, clubs, agencies and sponsors gathering to catch-up with colleagues, clients, and discuss the industry.
Let’s get engaged
I noted a similar if not familiar theme running through the two days – how to reach and engage fans. The below are some highlights of the discussions which in my experience can lead to positive effects:
• Authentic and authoritative content – get the basics right. Be it fixtures, results, or news.
• Hero the team / athletes – fans will make direct personal connections to their heroes so be prepared to leverage this – a fact very obvious as you walk around Stamford Bridge and see pictures of Hazard, Costa and Terry intertwined with players of generations past.
• “Inside the ropes” content – content that can’t be found anywhere else. Related to the above, access is king and can help create excellent, unique content.
• Know the user – invest in identifying the user; be it via a CRM solution or similar. This is an increasingly important step as technologies advance and can provide excellent commercialisation opportunities.
• Social reach – social channels are here to stay. Some may come and go but they have changed the landscape of sports (in fact that of the media landscape) forever – so harness and utilise this.
• Localise not translate – directly target the fans in local regions with relevant news. Often translating is the straightforward option as it will enable reach, but localised content will achieve higher yield.
• Storytelling – obvious, yes, but a prevailing factor. Finding different and innovative ways of telling the story is crucial – be it infographics, or similar aggregation tools.
You can’t buy passion
In one of the panels, a fascinating anecdote was shared from the Champions League final 2015.
After their 3-1 loss to Barcelona in Berlin, on the cry of the club, Juventus fans rallied together via social media to show their support.
This is the kind of passion you can’t buy. Solidarity in the face of defeat is a staple corner of the sport fan.
The turning tide of OTT
Now, I will prelude this by saying that I didn’t attend all the sessions or get round to all the stands so may have missed this – but I noted a lack of ‘noise’ around Over-the-Top (OTT) Platforms.
With the recent Apple TV announcement, I had anticipated more. At deltatre, we’re certainly seeing an increasing desire to understand and utilise this ever emerging segment of the market. I envisage this topic will feature heavily next year.
If you would like to discuss this topic further, please get in touch.
This will be an important change to the Twitterverse and provide a new storytelling avenue, especially for sports. Launched officially in the US early October– coming to the rest of us soon. Watch this space!
The power of video
No words needed – spare 2 minutes and watch this.
We will rock you
Even though I sadly missed the session – there was a lot of buzz around James ‘JC’ Curleigh who is the President of Brand at Levi’s and opened his session with a rendition of Queen’s ‘We Will Rock You’.
Curleigh was instrumental in the San Francisco 49ers new stadium. The Levi’s Stadium was officially opened in the summer of 2014 and is scheduled to host Super Bowl 50 on 7 Feb 2016.
The World Wide Web is changing and evolving at a rapid pace. It was referred to as the ‘what-we-want-where-we-want’ web in a session.
I would even go a step further and adapt this to the ‘What/Where/When-we-want’ web.
The pervasiveness of information provided by technological advances is significant. The answer to a question is but a few clicks away, often in our pockets. It’s no mean feat that ‘Google It’ is almost a verb but let’s not open that can of ‘legal’ worms.
So, what does this mean for sport? If the expectation that information is freely available and found is engrained in the psyche, engaging fans with authoritative, timely and unique content is even more important in order to generate loyalty.
The future is connected
On a related but tangential note – the digital landscape is rapidly changing hand in hand with advances in technology.
The ubiquity of smartphones and connectivity in developed countries is now a commodity.
I wonder how many times the phrase “Do you have the wifi code?” is uttered in offices, coffee shops and hotels in any given day.
Understanding this change and reacting to it in an agile way will help make a real and valuable difference.