While the coronavirus crisis has been devastating for most in the sports industry, some sectors have grown during this period, a panel of global leading experts revealed during the first episode of ‘Talking Sport’, a weekly webinar co-organised by Eleven Sports and World Football Summit and that kicked off on Thursday with nearly 500 participants.
Peter Hutton, Director of Global Sports Partnership at Facebook, revealed that branded content has increased by 41% on Facebook and 122% on Instagram while Ralf Reichert, CEO of ESL, confirmed that companies in the eSports business have experienced triple-digit growth during recent weeks.
Hutton and Reichert joined Eleven Sports Group CEO Luis Vicente and Ricardo Fort, VP of Global Sports & Entertainment Partnerships of Coca-Cola in a session titled ‘Sport’s Great Comeback – Fighting Back From COVID-19’ that was moderated by Dominic Quantrill, founder of The Quantrill Partnership, and hosted by Sky Sports presenter and WFS Series host David Garrido.
Speakers shared their insights and opinions on how the sports industry will be reshaped by the crisis and the challenges and opportunities they foresee. Contributions from all four panellists highlighted here:
Luis Vicente, on the need to “give more” to the fans and users:
“If I’m a fan today, and especially if I’m a young fan, I’ll start to look and think how can I really get the reward for all this time that I’m giving when there are actually so many things competing for it. I think this is one of the massive issues that we still have to solve in the traditional sports industry. We need to give much more to the users. I think the gaming industry model will be a massive influence for the traditional sports industry. I really believe that micro-transactions and micro-subscriptions will be much more key for the future of traditional sports. Digital micro-transactions in pay-per-view will also be essential and advertising will become a much more robust business. I also believe that we’ll come to a point where people will actually exchange data for the content they want to consume and that data can be a transactional item on a market that is much more consistent and more free.”
Ricardo Fort, on sponsorship strategies with no on-site activations:
“I think there is a misperception of the value of the on-site activations for the overall investments that the sponsors are making. Regardless of the size of the events, no matter how big it is, the vast majority of fans and consumers that are interacting with that content are not on-site. So, the mentality for the larger brands has always been ‘let's focus on everybody else and that's the importance of the content that we can acquire in our partnerships’. Of course, it is very important to have proper execution and a great live event experience because that drives the relationship of fans with brands and events, but just from a number’s standpoint, the out-of-venue audience has always been very important.”
Peter Hutton, on branded content and its effectiveness during the coronavirus crisis:
“I think branded content is one of the big parts of the story and branded content is way up over this period, up 41% on Facebook and 122% on Instagram. I think it is because sponsors increasingly are looking for that digital inventory that they can target at their audience. It’s a perfect combination of using the emotional pull of sports’ intellectual property with the ability to target audiences. That’s one of the reasons why branded content works. But generally, you’ve got to look at this period as accelerating a lot of different trends. One of the trends I’d say is that you need to be where your audience is and where the audience you want is consuming content, whether that be on Twitch or on Instagram or on Facebook or wherever.”
Ralf Reichert, on how gaming has exploded during the coronavirus crisis:
“For a traditional sports organisation, you need to have a gaming strategy because you need to have a game. And the games are actually the big profit part of this crisis. Gaming has exploded. Most gaming companies have grown 100%, 200% or 300%. We do amateur tournaments and they have grown five times compared to one year ago, while the viewership for eSports tournaments has grown three times compared to one year ago. So, gaming is the big beneficiary of this.”
If you want to register to take part in Episode 2 titled ‘A Pivot to Digital - Enhancing Fan Engagement Strategies in Football’, click HERE. If you missed out on this week's episode, you can watch it in full below.