How Audience Insights Empower the Sports Industry

“We in the sports business don’t sell the game, we sell unique, emotional experiences. We are not in the business of selling basketball. We are in the business of selling fun.” – Mark Cuban, team owner, Dallas Mavericks

The professional sports industry is growing, and sports marketers face new realities: fans have less time, more choices, and high expectations. Today, the success of a team relies on their relationship with fans – not necessarily the scoreboard. The truth is, it’s easier than ever before for sports fans to get up close and personal with their favourite teams and athletes. To compete and stay relevant with the modern sports fan, sports marketers must focus on putting the audience first and using data intelligently to engage with them.

Here are six ways data-driven audience insights empower the sports industry to take an audience-first approach:

Understand and Engage Your Fan Base

If fans feel a meaningful connection to a team, they will be their biggest brand advocates. You know, the ones who drink out of their favourite sports mugs at work? Teams must understand the lifestyle of their fan, their consumption habits, and their interests and passions on an intimate level. With more consumer data available than ever before, it is now possible to tap into the sports fan culture and find out exactly what makes them tick.

Empower Your Content Strategy

By leveraging interest data, sports teams are armed with the insights needed to create personalized content for their current and potential fans. To create content that sticks in a content-heavy sports world, sports marketers must understand what content is already resonating with key fan segments and why. Marketing intelligence empowers the sports industry with insights such as the keywords, hashtags, images, influencers, and media sources needed to create compelling content that fans will find engaging.

Identify Ideal Sponsorships & Brand Partners

Understanding the brands or organizations that influence key fan segments gives sports marketers a strategic advantage when aligning their team with what matters most. The wrong pairing can alienate sports teams from their fans. What sports drink should be the beverage of choice for your team? Using a data-backed approach to select the right pairing will build and strengthen fandom and justify your investment.

Grow and Monitor Fan Loyalty

Audience insights are essential when it comes to growing and maintaining a fan base – especially when the scoreboard doesn’t translate to seat sales. Sports teams can actually amplify their fan loyalty by implementing data-driven campaigns for upcoming games and events and by monitoring how audience interests change over time. By leveraging these insights to inform communications, sports teams can grow and reach the right audience, increase ticket sales, merchandise, and more.

Perform Cross-Channel Promotion

The sports industry is constantly looking for new ways to innovate, distribute, and monetize its content and get fans engaged. Teams can leverage large data-sets and insights to inform strategies across all of their marketing including other digital and traditional efforts. Perhaps data shows your fans have a high affinity to Snapchat? A team could activate this insight and launch an in-stadium Snapchat geo-filter.

Gain Global Insights

Audience insights are invaluable to sports marketers when it comes to identifying untapped geographic audience segments, uncovering geographic nuances, and understanding how well competitors are performing regionally or globally. While geography often plays a significant role in fandom and choice of team, sports marketers can leverage data to appeal to potential fans far and wide.

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