Content like this serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it creates an emotional bond with fans and humanises their idols. This makes fans relate to and trust them more.
Additionally, it allows for team sponsors to receive a significant amount of screentime that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
Exclusive content has become so important in sporting sponsorships that 83% of brands deem ‘access to sporting talent for content’ as the most critical aspect of the relationship.
Fans see themselves as members of a community, rather than just consumers. With this, they expect bigger, more personalised offerings. .
Who is on pole position?
Sporting organisations have recently been developing more personalised marketing efforts that appeal directly to fans.
These efforts were accelerated when fans were unable to attend the events themselves. This forced brands and organisations to trial new methods of fan engagement.
One example of this is when video calling service Zoom was announced as an official sponsor of the 2021 Formula One World Championship.
To announce the deal, Zoom offered fans the opportunity to experience live behind-the-scenes action via their platform.
This is just one way Formula One and their sponsors have been prioritising fan engagement. The Netflix Documentary ‘Drive-to-Survive’ helped introduce the sport to a wide array of new fans, as well as successfully engage with existing audiences.
After the documentary aired, viewer ratings went up 50% from the previous year and each race is steadily increasing. Alongside this its social media popularity has boosted 6.2% to 1.71 million active followers.
Through the documentary, and their very active social media presence, Formula One can offer sponsors more screentime to an emotionally connected audience.
A Full House
With sports betting becoming legalised across America, the NBA and many of its teams have announced betting partners.
Alongside this, the NBA has launched a direct-to-consumer subscription service called ‘NBA TV’. This includes additional camera angles, chat, and live odds.
This helps fans experience the game together when they can’t be there live. Being there in person gives a greater connection and immerses fans into the event and they seek to replace that in other ways when watching from afar.
According to Nielson Fan Insights, over 50% of fans claim they will be more likely to consider a brand that is enhancing the way live sport is experienced.
The thirst for knowledge and content from fans about their favourite sport as well as the desires to talk on social media with friends and people they’ve never met is higher than ever before.
The game is no longer just played on the pitch, court or arena. For the modern sporting organisation, the game never stops. The sponsorship landscape has changed and clubs must either adapt and succeed, or resist change and falter.