Digital Challenges in Sport

Posted by in Chris Jordan, Commercial, Digital, Sales, Sponsorship, Will Banbury

Following on from our previous post exploring the digital opportunities in sport, this week we examine some of the digital challenges facing the sports industry.

Who are the “Broadcasters”?

Will digital platforms/businesses become closer to becoming a broadcaster? They have gone from creating native digital content, to shorter-form 90-120 second videos and clips. What is going to stop them from producing a 10 minute show designed for the web? Once they have built a significant audience and are attracting a large number of unique views, they effectively become a broadcaster and will be competing with traditional linear models.

Keeping Control of Rights

How far will rights holders go to deliver direct to consumer? Currently, streaming and OTT services such as Netflix, Now TV, Amazon Prime are very active in the direct to consumer subscription space, developing non-ad funded models. However in sport, very little has happened in the mainstream, so far.

Yahoo bought the rights to the live broadcast of the NFL International Series in London for 2015. Although there are still challenges in distributing live free-to-air video content, once the technology and broadband speeds improve and connected TVs become more mainstream, it will give rights holders a direct to consumer option that will help maximise revenues.

Tailoring Content to the Younger Generation

Personalisation is becoming more and more important, which is underscored by the increasingly intelligent use of data to create tailored content and deliver it to the right audience. This includes making sure digital teams are aware of the changing trends, such as video content to cater for the millennials’ shorter attention span and understanding how they consume their content in the future.

Staying Relevant to the Younger Generation

Are younger consumers moving away from sport as consumption? The challenge for some sports will be staying relevant to consumers in general, not just relevant to sports fans. The next generation already see the same value in watching Esports, someone else playing video games in a tournament environment, as opposed to watching athletes. Challenges remain for the likes of the MLB who are known as one of the most sophisticated sports rights holder in the digital space. Despite everything they are doing with their content and data, the average age of their fans and consumers is ever increasing.

The Challenge of YouTube

YouTube is a great marketing device, it is a leading platform that young people regularly use to consume content. It also has the ability to target people for remarkably good value, allowing rights holders to use the platform successfully to create brand awareness. However, the challenge is to then retain and manage these users, ideally bringing them into the rights holders’ own platforms to monetise them.

Attracting Talent to Deliver

Attracting the right talent will be an absolute critical challenge. Organisations are shifting to provide a broader range of services and therefore need a much greater range of skills. In the digital space, they will need to rethink how they sell themselves to potential candidates, in order to compete against the likes of Google, Facebook, Twitter and other digital companies. However, due to the improving business platform that sport offers, coupled with the popularity of the industry, there is a real opportunity to attract best-in-class talent from other verticals.