Sports Brands: Get On the Scoreboard Now — with Customer Identity

Imagine for a moment that you’re the owner of a major sports franchise. Would you hire a head coach who didn’t study the players and coaching strategies of opposing teams in excruciating detail? How about a general manager that was resistant to new revenue models or opportunities to expand his team’s fanbase?

The answers to these questions seem obvious, yet many sports brands still don’t put significant effort into understanding their fans’ likes, preferences or patterns of behavior. In other words, they don’t really know their customers. Gigya has just published a playbook that explores how the leaders in sports marketing are using Customer Identity Management tools to identify their fans, drive engagement and loyalty, and boost revenue.

Consider the growing popularity of less traditional large-scale competitions: think big wave surfing, world cup skiing and snowboarding, the X Games, and next-generation concepts like drone racing. Many of these sporting events take advantage of new video and data tracking tools to drive over-the-top (OTT) multimedia experiences that go far beyond the traditional play-by-play. Also, consider that fantasy leagues — a wholly digital endeavor that’s tied directly to very analog season play — is one of the most lucrative channels in the entire business of sport.

The fact is, fans are already voting with their feet for multi-channel experiences through over-the-top digital content available on a variety of home and mobile devices. For example, according to CBS, Super Bowl 50 experienced a huge uptick in online viewership in 2016, up 75% from the previous year, with an astounding audience-per-minute volume of 1.4 million users. For the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil, an estimated 85% of viewers watching the games on network television simultaneously engaged with Olympic content on mobile devices.

So, what are some of the key areas sports brands should focus on as they expand their digital presence and optimize the fan experience?

  • Identify and segment fans and drive them to customized experiences on team, club, or league channels
  • Understand how fans engage by understanding their behaviors, then use that intelligence to make smarter investments and decisions
  • Create programs that drive involvement and reward the most loyal and passionate fans

Looking at some recent examples of sports organizations successfully innovating their way to 1-1 relationships with fans, common themes revolve around digital identity. When an online user is registered and profiled as an account holder, the context of their experience can be dialed in and their engagement ramped up to new levels, no matter whether they’re attending a live event, enhancing their home viewing experience, or absorbing content on the go.

It’s absolutely worth the effort for sports companies to invest in digital technologies to extend their reach and enhance the value of their brand, but they should do so with a measured eye and a focus on establishing and maintaining their fans’ trust. Implementing a modern Customer Identity Management platform is a great place to start, since these solutions are all about eliminating anonymity from the online experience and driving better experiences through the responsible use of first-party consumer data.

To learn why digital identity is at the core of today’s most effective digital strategies for sports brands and other customer-first businesses, download our free white paper now.

By David Kerin