This post first appeared in Modern Marketing Exchange
Sports has always evoked passion amongst fans. Whether it’s
baseball, tennis or soccer – watching a live sports game brings with it an
unparalleled experience, intensified only by the presence of smartphones.
There’s no doubt that mobile devices have changed the way we consume sports,
and brands have an opportunity to leverage each event to connect and engage
with their consumers.
Mobile, Sports and
Going for Gold
The beginning of 2016 witnessed an interesting trend on
mobile, particularly around national and global sporting events. In the run up
to the Super Bowl 50 in February, American smartphone users began downloading
NFL related gaming apps. These gaming apps witnessed over a 100 percent
increase in downloads, and by the last week of the Super Bowl, users consumed
150 percent more of their favorite sports app than usual.
Similarly, during the COPA America Centenario in June, users
from the 16 participating countries went on a downloading spree of gaming apps,
increasing app installs by more than 70 percent. Fans were constantly scouring
sports apps to check scores, game schedules, and to keep track of the latest
updates, results and commentary, which saw a 200 percent increase in content
consumption of sports apps on mobile devices. According to Accenture, 87
percent of consumers use a second screen device while watching TV. It’s not
surprising then that sports fans were glued to not just the TV, but they had their
mobile devices handy for that second-screen viewing experience.
Expectedly, all this excitement was too much to contain and
clearly needed an outlet – after all, sports is about teamwork, community and
sharing. Particularly during the last week of Super Bowl 50, sports fans spent
45 percent more time on social apps than normal, connecting with family,
friends and sports fans around the world who cared about the game enough to do
the same. Fans shared their opinions as they celebrated wins with their teams
and mourned a loss or expressed frustration. It was all about connecting with
fellow sports fans and feeling the adrenaline in real time, while having a good
time with their dear ones – online or offline.
The Opportunity for
If Super Bowl 50 and COPA America are any indication, major
sporting events represent a huge opportunity for advertisers. There are various
micro-moments that present themselves throughout the event, and advertisers
need to find creative ways to engage an audience that is constantly
In a world where 57 percent of consumers use more than one
device at a time, namely the smartphone, it only makes sense for brands to
break the shackles and reach out to their audience on a channel that users will
always have in their hand. While there are fans who rarely shift their eyes
away from the TV during a game, there is also a substantial ratio of fans who
get distracted by their mobile devices, engaging with friends, or checking
social apps at the same time. The biggest opportunity for brand advertisers
today is to find ways to grab shorter consumer attention spans on the “one
thing” most people claim they can’t live without – their mobile device – and to
show game specific content.
2016: The Year of
Numerous sporting events have taken place this year
including Super Bowl 50, COPA America, UEFA Cup, and most recently the
Olympics. These events, amongst others, offer advertisers a chance to reach a
larger audience, across the various micro-moments that present themselves
during an event. Revelling with your audience in their joy, sharing their hopes
and anxiety and showing support during hard times are just a few opportunities
where brands can connect with their consumers. Timely messages and push
notifications can do wonders, and brands need to make each experience about the
customer, and cater to their wants and needs, contextually.
The shift to mobile and online video is expected to draw
millions of eyeballs away from traditional television viewing, providing both
content creators and advertisers significant new opportunities to reach fans.
Mobile as Number One
Mobile is now seen as the first screen and can no longer be
an afterthought or an add-on. Instead, mobile is at the centre of every media
company’s content and engagement strategy. It provides advertisers with a level
of customization and on-demand accessibility, so it’s no surprise that we’re
seeing consumers turn off the TV and turn to mobile to stay connected,
especially when it comes to some of the biggest sporting events of the year
such as the 2016 Rio Olympics.
However, brands still need to think long-term and how they
can create an experience that’s compelling enough to obtain and maintain
consumer attention. It’s important to make use of the incredible amount of data
every mobile interaction provides. These insights can help better understand
your audience and ensure you’re delivering the most relevant, and impactful,
Smartphones aren’t just enabling real-time updates, but they
also enhance the in-stadium experience. Many stadiums now offer high-speed
Wi-Fi that enables in-seat ordering, video streaming or directions to the
closest bathroom, which is taking the experience of watching live sporting
events to a more comfortable and fun level. Teams have also started accepting
mobile tickets for entry into the stadium, and many are even collaborating with
ticketing apps to offer fans additional features and services.
Mobile ticketing now offers a segway into loyalty programs
for fans. The possibilities are endless when smartphones solve real world
problems by taking consumers online. However, for a brand, large sporting
events are a boon – they are responsible for gathering millions of users in one
place at the same time. The next move is for brand advertisers to decide on how
they target users, via which channels, with what content, and when is the peak
time to catch their attention.