The modern sports fan is always connected, anywhere, anytime.
The rise of social media, OTT apps, and other mobile platforms have revolutionized the way fans want to watch and engage with sports. Expectations have shifted from traditional TV game viewing to fans demanding a deeper, more personal connection with teams and players across multiple platforms and devices.
Mobile platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are providing athletes, teams, leagues, and federations with a chance to connect with fans away from the on-field action and create personal connections outside of sport.
It’s this, authentic, behind the scenes, mobile-first content where sports federations and teams need to focus their efforts if they are to make the most of the digital rights available to them and create a truly fan-first content strategy.
What kind of content do fans want to see?
Fans are looking for experiences that go beyond watching live games. They want to see unique video content that allows them to interact with and discuss topics in real-time. Q&As, training content, pre-game shows and press conferences, player stories, and interviews and viral challenges are all content types that work well for mobile watching, both live and on-demand.
Providing exclusive access to athletes and talent on social media gives fans an authentic inside look at their favorite players and stars, but not all social platforms offer the same exposure. Video content needs to be tailored to the audience on each social channel, taking into account which formats work best for which fans, understanding where your audience lives is as important as the content produced.
What video content works best on each social network?
Instagram: In-feed, viewers can’t get enough of game highlights, recaps and compositions of individual players’ best moments, the NFL are a great example of a federation using Instagram feeds to share real-time moments. Instagram stories present the perfect opportunity to offer exclusive behind-the-scenes looks, different camera angles, user-generated content and player takeovers intertwined with interactive features such as live quizzes and polling.
Twitter: With a shorter discovery time, it’s important to include videos and imagery in tweets. Sports organizations should use Twitter to post the key in-game moments while they are happening live. In addition to real-time highlights, the Twitter audience also wants to see GiFs and short loop videos accompanied by important game score and time updates. The Professional Darts Corporation used Twitter to share each crucial moment from the 2019/20 World Championships to great effect.
WHAT A SETUP SHOT THAT IS!— PDC Darts (@OfficialPDC) December 17, 2019
Sherrock hits a 165 to leave 36 which she pins first dart in hand to take this to a deciding set! pic.twitter.com/jaA3nPzJjE
Facebook: The perfect place to create and share digital-first live content. Facebook Live is a powerful tool for much more than just broadcasting live content to dark markets. Fans want to see more one-of-a-kind live activations here, including Q&As with players where fans can have their questions answered in real-time, the Portland Trailblazers did this to great effect ahead of the 2019 NBA Finals. With a growing watch time ‘Facebook Watch’ is the place to share full game recaps and original on-demand content.
YouTube: With the longest watch time of all the platforms, YouTube has become a leading OTT video platform in its own right. Long-form, episodic content works brilliantly such as The English FAs’ Lions Den, Lionesses and Sky Sports Heat Check NBA show. Being the first to deliver trending video such as condenses match highlights and exclusive interviews is a must for success on the platform.
TikTok: Pure, unfiltered entertainment aimed at a largely young demographic. This is the place for short and unconventional story-telling, it’s important that videos posted here are fun and entertaining. Use amusing filters, lively background music and engaging graphics. AC Milan are the latest soccer giant to join the platform offering behind-the-scenes content from the club, including videos of special celebrations, challengers for followers, match highlights and live content created with a focus on the club’s youth teams.
How can you ensure you are maximizing the value of digital content?
Offering premium content on digital platforms at no cost to the consumer generates significant interest and views.
UK broadcaster BT Sport has done this incredibly well with the UEFA Champions League Final the past four years. Broadcast to YouTube, the BT Sport app and website, 4.8 million people tuned in to watch the match across these digital platforms in 2019. Which was a 166% increase on 2016. All viewers are exposed to BT Sport branding, product messaging and calls to action.
Digital platforms can also be used for customer acquisition and OTT promotion. A great example is global sports OTT platform DAZN, its approach to content distribution varies by market. It delivers short, real-time highlight clips of premium content such as UEFA Champions League & Italian Serie A matches on Twitter and Facebook, as well as live streams of undercard fights from Golden Boy Promotions, Matchroom Boxing & Bellator events on social media for free.
Streaming undercard fights on big fight nights enable DAZN to entice viewers to subscribe to its paid online video platform. Content will include branded advertising of DAZN’s services and links to easily click through to subscribe. Making the customer journey as frictionless as possible, while providing content that sports fans want to watch.
Finally, monetizing content directly across social media has probably never been easier. Through Twitter in-stream advertising, or in-video ads on Facebook or YouTube, platform side advertising allows algorithms to serve ads over your content, sending ad dollars your way.
The vast size of social audiences and the engaging nature of social video viewing also makes premium social content very attractive to sponsors.
This could be branded content, pre-roll bumpers all the way up to unique, product-led content. Such as Hyundai’s partnership with Copa90, which drove user-generated sports content and told new, inspirational stories from across the world.
To partner with Grabyo to increase your digital content capabilities and monetize multiple platforms with both live and real-time video, get in touch with us today.