They don’t talk about business hours for nothing. Monday to Friday, nine to five, that is when business takes place and when most corporates take the opportunity to speak to their clients. But sport is very different. While it cannot be denied that there is a very corporate side to sport these days, the business that drives the revenues and gives the suits their raison d’être happens on the field and it never stops. Matches happen every day at all hours and it is around these events that conversations are started and around which content needs to be created.
Social media is the ultimate guerrilla marketing tool. You can insert yourself into a conversation and hijack an audience without necessarily paying top dollar to acquire the audience. Meaning you don’t have to be Emirates and sponsor the FA Cup in order to have a conversation around football. Anyone with a degree of budget can capitalise on the second screen experience in all sporting events because they are all passion points. They drive conversations like: “Who’s playing well? Who’s playing badly? What needs to change? What are they doing wrong?” – and if you can insert yourself into the conversation, there’s momentum and there’s mass.
What’s great about sport as a marketing medium is you know when and where your audience is going to be and there are going to be millions of digital conversations going on around the event. That means you potentially have access to an audience of hundreds of thousands of people (even millions) for every single sporting event. They are going to be posting commentary on social platforms as well as searching for updates and reviews for the event; and, best of all, there is almost always a sporting event happening somewhere in the world. That’s 24/7, 365 days a year.
There are two things worth saying: sport never sleeps and digital never sleeps. When you marry the two together, you’ve got the most dynamic form of media meeting the most dynamic and consistent form of news. It’s a winning recipe that is hard to beat.
Digital commentary is both objective and subjective. So, for example, you can open a website that has a live score feed running and know what the score is: that’s objective. That’s pretty helpful, but you also want to get a bit more of a feel for what’s happening in the game and what other people are saying about it. What are the experts saying? This could be people you will follow on twitter, commentators and former players, but also: what do your peers have to say? what’s the sentiment around the referee’s performance, or the decisions that have taken place?
It’s a broader conversation that is going on and smart brands can research scenarios that may or may not happen. They can then be prepared and ready to insert themselves into that conversation as soon as it happens. This is why it’s crucial – if you want to be active in the sports space and talk to the huge audience for whom things like football, rugby, cricket or tennis are major passion points – you need a well-staffed and knowledgeable newsroom ready to engage around the breaking story or event of the hour.