Data to become sports’ competitive advantage in attracting sponsors

Data is becoming critical to the fan experience and provides a competitive advantage for brands, sponsors and sports clubs says Simon Farrant, Perform Group’s VP of content and corporate marketing.

Sam Brennan of Nine Entertainment and Simon Farrant of Perform Group at Mumbrella Sports Marketing Summit

Simon Farrant (R) talking to Nine’s Sam Brennan at Mumbrella’s Sports Marketing Summit

“Sports data has become a really crucial part of the way we consume sport,” said Farrant as devices ranging from GPS trackers being worn by players through to movement detectors and smart stadium technologies collect huge amounts of information on events.“It’s become part of rights discussions, it’s become part of broadcast discussions, part of content strategy and the technology continues to evolve,” he said.

Carmaker Audi’s sponsorship of the US Major League Soccer is a good example of how brands and sponsors can use data, Farrant believes.

As part of its partnership with the US Major League Soccer, the auto manufacturer developed the Audi Player index using player and match data to create content for fans.

Coupled with cross promotion from the MLS marketing team, Farrant showed how Audi’s message was amplified to fans.

A more pragmatic use of data was used in New Zealand for Tui Beer’s Million Dollar Catch campaign where a share of $1m prize pool was on offer for spectators who caught balls at certain cricket World Cup matches in 2015.

The organisers turned to Farrant’s company to identify the most-likely places players would hit sixes to and estimate how many people would claim the prize.

For the clubs and leagues themselves, Farrant described a number of campaigns being used by English football clubs including ArsenalFC Tweeting out player and match statistics to increase fan engagement.

The most important fans for sports clubs are the members who buy annual subscriptions and are usually the most dedicated supporters, Farrant said as he described how one local UK club, St Marys, engaged their season ticket holders with emails detailing some of the stats from the games they had attended.

“That type of personal campaign and complex information is absolutely fascinating,” he said.

There is a challenge though with sports data, Farrant warned.

“Some clubs want to share that information but others don’t,” he said. “Who owns that information is going to be a legal question.”


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