One of the challenges/frustrations of writing a book is that you know the minute you hit “send” on the finished manuscript, submitting it to your publisher (in my case, the esteemed Routledge who did an incredible job for me), you know that you’re going to want to update or edit it even more then you’ve already done so. But as pointed out to me by Callum MacGregor (a loyal and valued colleague of over 5 years who is now moving on to pastures new) you have to stop fiddling with it at some point – a lesson he learned when writing his thesis.
Thanks to the opportunity I was giving to moderate a panel at Host City titled “Engaging with Audiences through Technology” and featuring a combination of rights owners (Andy Edwards, Erich Wolf of Red Bull Air Races and Benedict Brandmeier of Drone Champions League) and a major figure in broadcasting (Stefan Kuerten) I ended up discussing a key and very valid point that I didn’t mention in my book, Winning with Data: CRM and Analytics for the Business of Sports.
In the very last chapter, “Where do we go from here?” I share my thoughts on the opportunity that rights owners will have to go d2c (direct to consumer) when it comes to OTT (over the top) broadcasting if they have a deep and rich database of their fans. The principle I state is that even if you choose always to work with intermediaries in sharing your video content (linear, digital, live, on-demand, etc.) you’ll be in a stronger negotiating position if you can tell those broadcasters how many fans you can directly engage with, their level of engagement with you, their household demographics, their viewing habits, and most importantly, their propensity to spend on their favourite sports content – yours.
My proposition is, when you have “the option” to go straight to your fans, you could change the position of the decimal point in your broadcaster contract.
But thanks to a question posed by one of the panellists this morning – “why does a rights owner need to know more about their fans” – I responded with a different and more relevant answer that is “current state” not “future state “thinking.
It’s because your broadcast partner will have their own business objectives and to demonstrate how your content can help them meet them, you need to have this type of information to hand.
Whether it’s a commercial broadcaster that needs to sell advertising and sponsorship around your content, a pay platform that needs subscriptions or a PPV model, or a public/state owned channel that needs to demonstrate its continued relevance to the population, knowing who will be watching and being able to directly engage with them – at an individual level – gives them more tools to achieve these objectives.
This is the fundamental role of data for #sportsbiz (on the business side, not performance). Whether your task is to increase revenue through sponsorship, advertising, content or merchandise, to increase participation in your sport, or to improve your reputation, awareness and engagement, your chances of success are exponentially increased when you know more about your fans, stakeholders and audience.