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“ One of the essential questions facing sports organisations today is how to grow in an increasingly competitive and globalized market place while, at the same time, staying true to their roots and core values.” Burson-Marsteller, a leading strategic communications and public relations firm, has teamed up with international tour organiser Match IQ to get to the heart of this issue. We invited some of the thought leaders in the industry to give their expert insights on how best to engage with audiences abroad.
In collaboration with:
Burson-Marsteller, a leading strategic communications
and public relations firm, has teamed up with international tour
organiser Match IQ to get to the heart of this issue. We invited
some of the thought leaders in the industry to give their expert
insights on how best to engage with audiences abroad.
Today’s technology means that audiences are no longer
limited to regions; they have access to content on a global
scale. The growth of a global middle class, urban migration
and increasing mobile accessibility allow sports rights
owners and brands to expand far beyond their traditional
base. But many have struggled to adapt to this new
environment and found it difficult to identify the
right path to international growth.
Significant international expansion requires new forms
of engagement, new products, new markets, and often new
employees or partners. Finding the right balance between the
traditional and the new is no easy task for any organisation - and
certainly not for stakeholders rooted in their local communities.
A certain tension will always be there when it comes to determining
why, when, where and how international expansion should (best)
take place to ensure success in the decades ahead.
But how much stability and how much change is required to get
the balance right? It is clear from our report that every sports
organisation needs to seek change if it is ambitious. The process of
international expansion is an unstoppable force and the status quo is
not an option.
Embracing the new realities and engaging with the new opportunities
is a strategic imperative for all decision-makers in the industry.
We would like to thank all contributors and organisations who helped
to make this report possible. We hope that you will enjoy reading it
as much as we have enjoyed researching and developing it.
“ One of the essential questions facing sports organisations today is how
to grow in an increasingly competitive and globalized market place while,
at the same time, staying true to their roots and core values.”
THE PATH TO
Discover the international
Pre-Season Tours 2017/2018
on the Global Map
Senior Advisor Sport
Chief Executive Officer
PRE-SEASON TOURS 2017/2018
CHAMPIONS IN THE
Alexander Bielefeld, Manager,
IMPERATIVES12WHICH HELP DRIVE YOUR
UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR
AUDIENCE IS CHANGING
Centennials are digital, mobile and social natives.
They are your audience of today and tomorrow so
don’t be afraid of the new and engage
PLAY THE LONG GAME
Sport often suffers from an inherent tendency to
think short-term. Instead set out a longer-term
vision and put structures in place to deliver
People are looking to live a broader purpose
through the organisations for whom they work
and with whom they engage
EMBRACE THE NEW
Take part in the new opportunities
of the digital age and communicate
directly with your fans
Domestic markets will always be key but as they are
close to saturation stakeholders need to carefully
select future growth markets to stay competitive
NEVER FORGET YOUR
Increasing fan engagement from across the
world makes the relationship between the club
and its location ever more important
MANAGE SPORTING AND
Commercial strategies need to be
aligned with sporting needs by the
coaching and medical staff
International strategies need to be tailored to the identity,
capacity and expectation of each individual organisation
and ensure presence and engagement all year long
International tours need to be planed as an
integrated part of a wider market access and
ATHLETES WILL DRIVE
People engage with people rather than
organisations. It is the athletes and fans who
create authentic interactions
THE BOX PARTNERSHIPS
New and creative partnerships at local and
global level are essential to allow for authentic
and credible engagement
THERE IS NO
STATUS QUO IN SPORT
The process of internationalisation
and trans-nationalisation of football will vigorously
run its course since there is no force on the horizon
that could even temporarily divert it
AT A GLANCE
Alexander has a deep understanding of sports business and
governance. He advises a wide range of international sport
clients, is involved in EU sport governance and is leading on
award winning multi-market campaigns. He is currently a
candidate of MESGO IV, the Executive Master in European
Centennials are digital, mobile and social natives.
As the most diverse generation ever they seek
experience, passion and engagement. The same
behaviors make centennials elusive to marketers.
Two thirds use ad blocking software and 84% prefer ‘dark
sharing’ social networks (Snapchat, Whisper, iMessenger).
They are cautious with their time, their money and
their data. They would rather pirate stream than pay
for subscription TV which creates an imperative for
brands to attach their narrative to things about
which they actually care.
CENTENNIALS ARE DIGITAL,
MOBILE AND SOCIAL NATIVES.
By Dominic Grainger,
CEO EMEA, GroupM and CEO,
The WPP Sports Practice
The sports industry is rich in opportunity for rights owners and brands to take
advantage of the truly global market of passionate, engaged sports fans. The
growth in the global middle class, increased urban migration and growing mobile
accessibility is allowing sports rights owners and brands to expand beyond
their traditional, local audience bases – appealing to new geographies and
demographies in the pursuit of broader long term brand relationships. Centennial
audiences – the future lifeblood of any competitive industry – will represent 40%
of consumer purchasing power by 2020 and are a key target in this expansion.
Dominic is the CEO of GroupM Europe,
Middle East and Africa since 2008 and
also serves as the CEO of The WPP Sports
Practice, the global entry point to WPP’s
collective sports services and expertise.
The good news is that, validated by the US Center for
Digital Future, Centennials actually like ads with their
sport more than any other generation. They are also
the most informed sports fans in history, even if the
sports they are informed about aren’t the traditional
ones (they prefer e-Sports, Action Sports, Ultimate
Fighting Championship (UFC) and sports content
like Dude Perfect) and they are not just consuming
them on traditional marketing channels like linear TV
or VOD. They live stream, watch pirated highlights on
YouTube, short form content on Snapchat or alternative
‘secondary’ content – talk shows, reality shows,
documentaries – all on mobile devices. ‘Live’ is at the
center of the experience but not the whole experience.
They are ambivalent towards valueless interactions, but
aware of their importance to marketers and open to
transactions from which they gain emotional, financial
or social value. To take advantage of this, a shift in
marketing strategy from attracting eyeballs to building
fan groups is required. Fans can no longer be viewed
as just a revenue source. Building robust relationships
through deep engagement will allow more effective
commercialisation. Uber’s recent in-car content
partnership with Manchester United demonstrates how
to deliver value whilst forging deeper relationships.
AND AUTHENTIC INTERACTIONS
FOR AN ENGAGING GENERATION
AT A GLANCE
AND THE CHANGING FACE
OF SPORTS MEDIA
“Fans can no longer
be viewed as just
a revenue source.”
Effectively commercialising those relationships in an
age of cable cutting is difficult but ultimately rewarding.
Centennials demand customised, editable content they
can interact with. If brands and rights owners don’t
provide this, they will find it elsewhere. The guarded
approach major rights owners are taking toward
access to their media assets is unlikely to bear fruit.
Looser controls on content and more engagement
on relevant social channels will help drive affinity.
Accepting that ring-fencing valued content will not
deliver results, shared commercial models that leverage
centennials proclivity towards co-creation can flourish –
driving both revenue and engagement. Fans are now end
users, influencers and distributers. Partnering with them
to deliver authentic, scalable content will help generate
organic reach, bypassing expensive media buys.
Ultimately, the source of good content concerns
young audiences less than it’s quality and accessibility.
More skinny, direct-to-consumer offers that are flexible
and provide a more involving experience (choice of
commentators, camera angles, replays etc.) will be
welcomed. Working with athletes and owned talent
to develop engaging, authentic content stories is also
essential in appealing to an audience who increasingly
relate more with stars than teams. Partnering with
brands to deliver this will create a world of more
profitable content packages.
Looking internally, leveraging owned data, merchandise
and content assets into fit-for-purpose sponsorship
inventory will help deepen revenue streams and
satisfy brands demanding more accountability.
As content aggregators like DAZN follow in the
footsteps of Netflix and Amazon – disrupting the
content distribution model – advanced technology
is helping turn rights owners into broadcasters with
sellable media inventory. The LA Clippers retention
of their digital broadcast rights is just the tip of the
A conscious focus on utilising emerging technologies
(virtual reality, over-the-top streaming) and loosening
controls over content is helping the NBA appeal to
young audiences in Asia. Providing access to iconic
talent and engaging with centennials on native social
channels has unlocked significant audience growth.
For brands, making the shift from sponsor to rights
holder offers considerable commercial advantage.
Establishing equity in emerging, put popular,
niches like e-Sports may allow brands to build
new revenue streams and own a more direct
relationship with fans. No longer do brands
have to be stuck on the outside, looking in.
With the advances in broadcast and content
distribution technology, they can begin to take
more ownership of the sports platform that
was so attractive from the beginning.
The same old strategies aren’t working.
Centennial consumers are fundamentally different.
They demand more value from their interactions and
more meaningful experiences. In an interconnected
world where local and global markets are increasingly
indistinguishable, brands and rights owners must work
harder to provide them with this. Marketing Directors
should view this necessary shift as an opportunity to
broaden appeal, access new markets, build revenue
streams and create more effective sponsorships.
Embracing innovative technology and new commercial
models are the solutions. Partnering with fans and key
influencers to publish more authentic content stories
are the methods. Doing all this requires a degree of
bravery, an acceptance of new risk and a willingness
to abandon accepted wisdom. But change is needed.
How quickly it happens will determine the shape
of the sports landscape for years to come.
TO A NEW SPORTS
“ Embracing innovative
technology and new commercial
models are the solutions.
Partnering with fans and key
influencers to publish more
authentic content stories are
AT A GLANCE
IN COLLABORATION WITH
MATCH IQ GmbH
The WPP Sports Practice
WPP plc. 27 Farm Street
London W1J 5RJ, UK
Square de Meeus 37
+32 2 7436611