Why sport is the ‘business’ in the digital content space

According to Ant Pascoe, General Manager at TEAMtalk media – a division of the Ole! Media Group – sleeplessness makes for the best marriage (and keeps newsrooms alive and kicking)

Monday to Friday, nine to five, that is when business generally occurs and when most corporates take the opportunity to speak to their clients. But sport is very different. While it cannot be denied that there is a very corporate side to sport these days, the business that drives the revenues and gives the suits their raison d’être happens on the field, and it never stops. Matches happen every day at all hours and it is around these events that conversations are started and around which, content needs to be created.

Social media is the ultimate guerrilla-marketing tool and in the sporting world, you can insert yourself into a conversation and hijack an audience without necessarily paying top dollar to acquire the audience. Meaning you don’t have to be a global airline and sponsor the FA Cup in order to have a conversation around football. Anyone with a degree of budget can capitalise on the second screen experience across a gamut of sporting events, because they are all passion points. They drive conversations like: “Who’s playing well? Who’s playing badly? What needs to change? What are they doing wrong?” – and, if you can insert yourself into the conversation, there’s momentum and there’s mass.

What’s great about sport as a marketing medium is you know when and where your audience is going to be, as well as the certainty there are going to be hundreds of thousands if not millions, of digital conversations going on around the event. ‘Audiences’ are going to be posting commentary on social platforms, as well as searching for updates and reviews for the event; and, best of all, because there is almost always a sporting event happening somewhere in the world at any one time, that’s 24/7, 365 days a year of potential engagement.

Sport never sleeps and digital never sleeps. When you marry the two together, you’ve got the most dynamic form of media, meeting the most active and consistent form of news. It’s a winning recipe that is hard to beat.

And as with a good marriage you want to make sure that if you aren’t sleeping that you are making magic. In that regard digital commentary is both objective and subjective. For example, you can open a website that has a live score feed running and know what the score is: that’s objective. It’s pretty helpful, but you also want to get a bit more of a feel for what’s happening in the game and what other people are saying about it. What are the experts thinking? This could be people you will follow on Twitter, commentators and former players, but also: what do your peers have to say? What’s the sentiment around the referee’s performance, or the decisions that have taken place? You can also post your own thoughts and opinions – this is subjective.

Sport generates a broader conversation.  Smart brands are now fully prepared to insert themselves into the conversation as soon as it happens. This is possible because of technology that tracks data and, as a consequence, serves content that users expect and desire. The conversation is also facilitated by the human element – the people who create the content, have the necessary sports knowledge, and who are ready to ‘break’ the story when and as it happens.

Of course, I may be biased, but whether it is football, rugby, cricket, F1, tennis or even the Olympic games, sports are major passion points and are the business when it comes to content in the digital space, especially for brands who don’t want to get caught napping.

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