How to score a marketing goal with streaming video
Oliver Morrison, CEO at Filter Digital believes there is a way to maximise the marketing potential of streaming video for sports teams.
Sports TV rights are always a hot topic, whether it’s the financial upside to Premier League football clubs as a result of the last domestic deal, or speculation about the future distribution and value of those rights in what is an increasingly fragmented broadcast and streaming landscape.
It’s the latter trend that’s most interesting to marketing and commercial teams at sports teams of all kinds – not just football.
Coaching clubs on content
Many clubs down through the Football League, Premiership Rugby and first-class cricket have tried their hands at creating their own, original video content away from live matches, but most are likely failing to get enough value in return, with channels such as YouTube and Facebook constantly tweaking T&Cs and throttling organic eyeballs, respectively.
And that’s a shame because ‘behind the scenes’ footage, youth and academy games, press conferences, pre-season camps and training sessions are in huge demand from swathes of fans looking for the tiniest morsels of information about the clubs they love, especially among those who don’t have season tickets, can’t get to games or live overseas.
But the ‘normalisation’ of streaming as a way of consuming video, plus the fact that we now have an entire generation that has grown up with digital devices and on-demand content, is creating a huge opportunity for sports teams.
An opportunity to move fans from being passive consumers of their brand via 3rd party platforms, to paying customers on a platform they fully own and control, gathering important data and new audiences along the way.
And the best part is, with ‘off the shelf’ technologies readily available the up-front investment doesn’t need to be significant, leaving a club’s own staff to concentrate on creating great content.
Pitching in with joined up thinking
This opportunity requires some joined up thinking though, with content, marketing, commercial and data teams needing to work together towards a common goal: new users and incremental revenues.
Four years ago, we started a journey with Crystal Palace FC that began with the creation of a relatively simple online portal for members to register (for free, with full access to the available content), which has now evolved to the point where Palace TV can offer personalised content, playlists and messaging to fans.
From the outset, the Club recognised an opportunity to drive engagement through their owned channels and to further build their social following, so we built them a self-service and dynamic WordPress platform where they could quickly publish news articles, video content and even live video streams using licensable tech like Brightcove.
Crucially, to help add to the club’s understanding of their fan base, it was agreed that the site would incorporate both sign-up and social login options for access, to encourage fans to opt-in to receive timely updates and notifications.
We all anticipated that the majority of fans signing up for free membership would be happy to consent to receive additional marketing communications from the club and that was indeed the case.
Valuable reward from existing data
This gave the Club a very valuable contact database that complemented their existing data, consisting of people who had a real interest in Crystal Palace and who might be encouraged to join one of the paid membership programs, or sample one of its match day packages.
All this activity has added to the recognised value of membership and helped turn the content portal into the hub of the club’s efforts to communicate in a deeper and more meaningful manner.
Today, every match day, event or competition that the Club takes part in is an opportunity to develop and distribute highly-focused and collaborative content and we’ve continued to find new and innovative ways to work with the club to engage their fans.
The platform has helped round-out the club’s understanding of typical fan journeys and the purchase funnel for tickets, merchandise and memberships.
Which brings us back to video, or more to the point, the future of video. The arrival of Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku and others offers organisations that create their own content the ability to go where their audience is and, because they can own their own content/video platform, replicate the same data collection, subscription and user experience across all of those channels.
The big TV rights deals, whether with traditional broadcasters or streaming services, will always provide the lion’s share of media income at the top level. But with smart planning and sensible investment, clubs at all levels of a sport can use fully-owned video services to grow not only their fan base, but their revenue too, while avoiding being beholden to the changing whims of a social media giant or huge set-up costs.