How Digital and Social is Driving Sports Consumption

By : |August 8, 2018 0
How Digital and Social is Driving Sports Consumption

By Rajan Navani, Managing Director and CEO, JetSynthesys

Today, disruption is at the heart of everything we talk about, be it banking, healthcare or even entertainment for that matter.

The way users today are viewing and interacting with content of any form is changing drastically as the digital world spreads out to consume the physical. The same stands true for the world of sports. Gone are the days when you needed to wait for the morning paper for the latest updates. Everything today is available online for consumers, literally at their fingertips, from scores to match highlights and the latest signings.

Sports fans are now more connected to their favorite games and players than ever before; it’s common for sports viewers also follow the sport online, especially millennial male fans who spend a majority of their Social Media time on sports-based content. In fact, based on a GMR Marketing study, 70% of fans present on social media check their devices while eating, 58% do it in the bathroom, 33% even in meetings!

Rajan Navani, Managing Director and CEO, JetSynthesys

Rajan Navani, Managing Director and CEO, JetSynthesys

This doesn’t mean that audiences are spending less time actually watching sports, but the platform and medium have changed. OTT Content viewership has been on the rise in India, for all types of content including sports. On April 10th Hotstar hit its own record of 5.5 million users tuning in at the same time for an IPL League Match. In 2010 IPL became one of the few sporting events to be entirely broadcasted live on YouTube. Fans today expect more options for viewing.

What does that mean for Sports Channels? Well anyone who is watching the game at home will still prefer to watch it on their 43-inch HD television than an iPad or laptop, rather the digital & social integration complements traditional viewing. For sports channels that are embracing this and creating their own online presence, it opens up new revenue streams.

Star Sports India’s Mauka Mauka Campaign received over 10 million views making it the 2nd most watched campaign in the first quarter of 2015. Between 2013 – 2014 nearly every major sports channel had launched its own app. This amalgamation of Social Media and sports not only effects the consumer but has a direct impact for the teams and clubs as well, boosting ROI for ticket and merchandise sales.

There are more than 650M sports fans only on Facebook, so it only makes sense that a majority of sports organizers use social media as one of the primary channels to promote their events. In India itself, sports advertising took a significant jump in 2017 rising to Rs. 7300 crores and overall sports sponsorships grew by 14%.

Not only the teams but even players are reaping the benefits. Athletes in today’s day are not only part of a team but they also their own personal brand, boasting fan followings in millions on social media. They are capitalizing on this trend using it to promote their own brand and third-party brand endorsements; did you know that Christiano Ronaldo generated a whopping $500 million a year for Nike in 2016?

Not only limiting themselves to social media, players have even launched their own apps. Sachin Tendulkar launched 100MB where fans receive regular updates on him, participate in auctions for signed memorabilia and connect with other superfans. The app has seen a tremendous response from fans with downloads in millions.

While esports in India is still at a fairly nascent stage, social media and the rise of #DigitalIndia is turning out to be a catalyst to it. It has made competitive gaming in India more accessible than ever as gamers are able to discover new tournaments.

The mobile esports platform for Sachin Saga Cricket Champions saw over 20,000 mobile gamers compete against each other and win prizes worth Rs. one lakh and other prizes. Social Media has given esports players a platform to create their own brand identity, giving rise to eSports celebrities like Professional League of Legends player Yiliang Peter Pang, better known as Doublelift, who has 860K Twitter followers but would go unnoticed in the real world. Twitter especially has helped bring together a fragmented global community which previously depended on online forums for communication.

Sports has always been bringing people together since the very beginning. With the addition of social media, fans across the world are now better connected than ever before. This is a whole new era for sports fans who can engage in a ‘full fan experience’ and learn more about their favorite teams and athletes, as well as for athletes and teams who reap the benefits of it.

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