As we transition into the new year, the sports business landscape will continue to innovate and look for new ways to engage with fans, break barriers and ultimately generate as much money as possible. Those three concepts are some of the most important things we think about at 4FRONT and this month’s set of 4TRENDS are largely along those lines, but all have a digital focus. We live in a digital era and one of the most important business objectives of any sports property or brand is how they are activating from a digital perspective.
One of our expert digital marketers and my fellow desk neighbor, Derek Striegle, referenced a half-dozen potential ways that teams or leagues can continue to digitally innovate in his blog last week. The 4TRENDS you see below are the themes that stuck out in December 2019 and will continue to shape the industry into the early months of 2020. Enjoy!
Emerging forms of social media:
TikTok is the fastest growing social media platform across the world and within the sports and entertainment industry. As the major business objective of most teams and leagues is connecting to a younger audience, TikTok and its space in sports will continue to grow. TikTok, on face value, does largely appear to be the reincarnation of Vine but will be here to stay. Gen Z cannot get enough of the platform along with Snapchat and its AR/VR capabilities. These two will continue to be utilized by teams and leagues in order to connect with a younger demographic. To dive further into TikTok, check out this in-depth article from Front Office Sports!
Major streaming services earning live sports rights:
Amazon Prime and Hulu are two major streaming services that have recently acquired live sports broadcasting rights. Amazon Prime has partnerships with the English Premier League, NFL and several MLB teams to broadcast various games throughout the year, while Hulu now has live sports (in its new version) across all domestic professional sports leagues. Don’t be surprised if other major streaming services such as Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV+ get in on the action as we transition into the new year. Dive further into the why, what and how of 4FRONT’s OTT expertise here!
Mixed-reality implementation for fan experience:
During Week 13 of the NFL season, the Baltimore Ravens introduced a mixed-reality concept that featured a large raven flying over the stadium in the middle of the game. The raven was visible at several points during the game on the digital boards within M&T Bank Stadium leaving fans in awe of what they just witnessed. A Spanish soccer club implemented a similar concept recently as well. Watch as professional and collegiate sports teams take this innovation to new heights in 2020.
The end of paper ticketing and investment in technology:
Let’s have a moment of silence for paper tickets. They provided us with some cool collectibles, but the last month of 2019 could potentially be the last significant month of paper tickets. The Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers and dozens of other pro teams have gotten completely rid of paper ticketing and invested heavily in in-venue technology to improve fan experiences. These investments include 5G WiFi, card-only concession stands, and self-ordering kiosks. In our new digital age, nobody wants to be that one fan who has no cell service and is unable to share their sporting event experience with their social media followers. Teams and leagues understand how important this concept is and will continue to invest in technology so all fans, regardless of their cell carrier, can access the internet within the venue. Let’s pour one out for paper tickets and cash-only concession stands as they are on their last legs at the start of the new year. Traverse deeper into the world of technology with 4FRONT’s newest vertical, 4FRONT Technologies!
2019 was an incredible year in our industry. There were sports marketing hits, misses and everywhere in between. Some teams and leagues tried to change the game, while others stayed the course.
At 4FRONT, our goal is always to find the best and most innovative ways to solve our partners’ business objectives. Whether it’s digitally advertising on a new streaming service, devising a marketing plan around new forms of social media or consulting on venue technology upgrades, our team is eager to continue to innovate on behalf of our partners as we move into 2020.
If you have any thoughts or comments about 4TRENDS, feel reach out to me at Jared@Team4FRONT.com.
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