Sports marketing: 5 biggest trends in 2023
The future of sports marketing is currently undergoing rapid change and development. The digital transformation in the world of sports is upon us and heavy investment is being made in improving digital experiences in the sports industry.
We have taken a closer look at which trends we see in the coming time and how it will change the sport.
Collect valuable first party data on your fans
Within the marketing world, there is currently a lot of focus on the value of 1st party data. The importance of owning your own data and owning insights on your customers and target groups has become extremely important for future success.
”….88% of marketers say collecting first-party data is a priority…”
(Merkle’s 2021 Customer Engagement Report)
With the recent changes in the digital media landscape, where the big tech giants such as Facebook, Google and Apple are fighting over users’ attention and data at the same time as a world aiming for a cookie-less future, there is a need to make the right strategic decisions within digital marketing.
The tech giants closing down around themselves in so-called “walled gardens”, where it has become much more difficult to track and measure performance and it has become more difficult to get direct speaking time with the right target groups.
Therefore, in the marketing world, a lot of focus is being placed on how you as a company can take back control and own more of your data around the users themselves, as an important parameter for future success.
And thus also in the world of sports, where your fans move on a number of digital touchpoints every day. It has become extremely important that you as a club know who your most important target groups are, what they buy, how often they come to the stadium, what interests they have, where they live, who participates in quizzes, competitions, uses the app, website, etc.
Important first-party data, which clubs and rights holders are increasingly asked to generate new digital revenue in dialogues with sponsors.
The sponsors setting higher demands when they have to sign new sponsorship agreements, where it is no longer enough to be able to provide hospitality, LED-Banner ads and exposure on social media.
The sponsors will have deeper insight into who the target groups are, how many of the fans have you collected first-party data on, what is their behavior and so on.
By gaining deep and comprehensive insight into the users’ 1st party data, you as a club and rights holder will achieve better and stronger partnerships with your sponsors. Read more about this in the example with FC Barcelona below.
Therefore, it becomes even more important as a club and rights holder to collect 1st party data on its fans. As well as targeting communication and marketing based on this.
Customer-data-platform(CDP) for 360 degrees data insight
As a follow up on the collection of 1st party data, it is important to keep things straight when trying to collect the data sources. It is not enough to just have an independent e-mail marketing system, an independent ticket system, webshop, website, app, etc.
Rather than silo-divided data systems, it is important that you manage to connect your data sources in a unified system, from which you can act on the basis of the data.
By investing in a CDP, where you connect all data sources in one system, you can more easily act on all the touchpoints on which your fans move.
Leverage your data to segment and target your communication and marketing to the right segments. Create segments on all fans who have not downloaded your app and create a targeted campaign against them to get them to download your app.
Reactivate fans who bought tickets at the stadium a year ago with targeted campaigns in the app that keeps them coming back.
Or use your insight into your fans’ purchase data in your webshop and target products that they might be interested in buying based on their behaviour.
In this way, you as a club have a central data hub from which all your touchpoints and data sources are integrated.
Contact us and hear more about which customer data platforms (CDP) we recommend integration with and hear more about how we can activate our segments with other data sources via our app data.
Interact with your fans outside of match situations
In the past, the matches were the most important window for the clubs. It was here that the sponsors got their showcase, it was here that they received hospitality services and it was here that they created visibility towards the club’s fans.
With the digital development comes a wider window for how and when you can interact with your fans, which naturally opens up more opportunities for sponsors.
By building digital campaigns where fans can interact with the club or the club’s sponsors, you gain a direct voice to your fans.
Take advantage of the moment with gamification options, where you can run digital campaigns around the clock and thus far more windows than limited to the number of home games in the season.
Develop unique concepts that can be activated in collaboration with sponsors and thereby increase the commercial value for the clubs.
Digital campaign examples for sponsors:
- – Player of the match vote
- – Goals of the month
- – What type of player are you? (Personality test)
- – What type of fan are you?
- – Grab balls with our mascot
- – Battle Quiz
- – Discount coupons
- – Banner messages in app
On average, our digital campaigns in the app have an interaction time of 2-5 minutes with fans.
Read more about how we have helped sponsors activate their sponsorship digitally here.
Women’s sports in rapid development
Interest in women’s sports is developing rapidly, where in Denmark we see very encouraging figures on interest in sports that have previously been very male-dominated.
Just under 400,000 Danes watched when England-Germany played the final in the women’s European football championship. (Source: Nielsen, 2022).
“Out of the general sports fans, 84% find women’s sport more progressive and inspiring as per a Nielsen sports report, than the male versions which people find more driven by and for money. The figures reveal the reception people have for women’s sports and the opportunities they offer for sports marketers to utilize.” (talentresourcessports.com)
Also from a sponsorship perspective, there is increased interest among companies who want their brands to be associated with sports that fight for equality, diversity and inclusion, which are very much on the agenda these days.
At the same time, women also often have a large influence on consumption patterns in many homes, where it is estimated that 80% of purchase decisions are influenced by women (Source: Forbes, 2019).
We believe that the interest and attention here will gain even greater traction in the future and lift the sport both commercially and from a fan perspective.
Interconnection of the physical and virtual world
As mentioned, the technological development within the sports industry is undergoing strong development. New trends are emerging such as augmented reality, VR, betting platforms and more recently growth in NFTs.
Here they try to connect all the best from the virtual world with the physical experience. We believe that this development will accelerate further in the coming years.
We believe that the development in NFTs in particular is a trend that is here to stay. Here, sports leagues, athletes and partners can offer digital collectibles that you, as a fan, can buy, win or be rewarded with on the basis of behavior, e.g. loyalty points. Obtain or purchase access to a unique virtual “special edition Mikkel Hansen jersey” in the virtual environment or other unique collectibles that will gain even more attention in the years to come.
”…there will be more than US$2 billion in sports-related NFT transactions in 2022. Leaders in this field are raising hundreds of millions of dollars in investment, and all the major leagues now have NFT partners.” (2022 sports industry outlook, Deloitte)
Although we do not yet see the same trends in Europe, we believe that development will pick up speed here as well. As a club, it is an important step to investigate what the market for NFTs can do for you as a company. What needs are demanded from a fan and sponsor perspective in order to live up to the rapidly developing trends.
We at Many Digital are already investigating how our app platforms can support the need and demand for NFTs for increased fan engagement.
This was just a sample of some of the trends that we are currently seeing in the rapidly developing sports industry. Although there are many new trends and trends that pop up, not all trends end up as a success. However, the 5 we have listed here are someone we believe in and someone who will influence the sports industry in the future.
Contact us and hear more about how we can help you both as a club and rights holder, but also as a sponsor or advertiser who wants to take part in the rapidly developing sports industry.