Digital is seen by many decision-makers in the sports industry as a marketing platform rather than a channel for delivering great content and experience, said Frank Arthofer, global head of digital and new business at Formula 1, in a report entitled Show Me the Money: The Commercial Transformation of Global Sports in the Digital Age by Tata Communications.
He said: “The direction of travel — which we believe is correct — is to evolve digital platforms like official websites and social media channels to become content hubs for fans and a place for brand partners to integrate authentically into storytelling.”
The new report that examines the commercial transformation of sports identified 2019 as a “defining tipping point” for the global sports industry, with digital technology innovation set to kick-start a new era of commercial growth for broadcasters, rights holders and sports organisations.
The Show Me the Money report — featuring insights from Formula 1, MotoGP and European Tour as well as global players HSBC and DAZN — revealed that streaming platforms, eSports, virtual reality (VR) apps and other technology innovations are becoming new revenue drivers for sports alongside media rights, event attendance, sponsorship and merchandising.
Besides the ability to help grow the volume of sport’s global viewership, these elements have the potential to enhance engagement among fans, thus creating more values for sponsorship and advertising.
According to the report, regardless of the role an organisation plays in sports, it should have a unified strategy to unleash new opportunities for growth. The report further described digital technologies as the “secret sauce” for monetising fan engagement, and suggested that a successful digital strategy is about augmenting the fan experience. Some examples include enabling people at the stadium or trackside to experience sports in new ways, or connecting people around the world to the live action in immersive ways possible.
Mehul Kapadia, managing director of Tata Communications’ F1 business and the company’s global head of marketing, said: “It’s important to remember that digital technologies are friends, not the enemies, of the live experience.
“So, as the digital fan experience gets better, the pressure is increased to ensure that fans at venues can engage with the action in new ways too.”
To read the full Show Me the Money report, click here.