By: Jared Levin
Hello #sportsbiz professionals. Checking in for another edition of #4TRENDS. Before I dive into the key trends to look out for as we move further into 2020, let’s recap some of the most impactful events in our industry from the past month.
February 2020 started off hot with the Chiefs beating the 49ers in Super Bowl 54 with that same weekend also marking the end of the 2020 Australian Open. A few days later struck National Women in Sports Day and the start of XFL 2.0 began just shortly after – one key trend will come from the newly established XFL below.
Moving further into the month, we saw NBA All-Star Weekend completely take over the Windy City. As somebody who lives and works in Chicago, I have never seen anything like it. The NBA team representatives, players, sponsors, media and celebrities transformed the city into a basketball paradise, and it was incredible to see what the NBA did for their tentpole event.
Towards the end of February, we saw the Daytona 500 and ICC T20 Women’s World Cup begin as well as MLB Spring Training and Wilder v Fury 2.0. February was a busy in the sports world, culminating with the beginning of the MLS season on Leap Day.
As you can see, February 2020 was packed with sporting events and as a result here are this month’s #4TRENDS:
Alcohol Pricing Deflation:
If you have ever attended a sporting event, you know regardless of the venue you’re in that beer or other alcoholic beverages will be marked up due to the demand of the product. BUT, if you’re like the Ottawa Senators and are struggling to bring fans to your venue with a 16% decline in attendance from the previous season, lowering the price of beer and alcohol can really turn the tables for those fringe fans. The Senators have simply lowered the price of beer with the expectation of getting more fans into the arena and, so far, this has worked. Whether you’re an NHL team, MLS team, NBA team or even a NASCAR track – lowering the price of alcohol can steer fans towards your event. Watch as this develops amongst teams with poor attendance numbers in 2020.
Gambling Emphasis within TV Broadcast:
During the second weekend of February, XFL 2.0 debuted on ESPN & FOX. Through it’s first few weeks, the XFL has been moderately successful in terms of ticket sales, broadcast viewership and sponsorship dollars, but the league’s YoY sustainability is yet to be seen. One innovative move the XFL has established is its emphasis on gambling and connecting to that audience.
The scoreboard bug on ESPN features both the spread and the over/under throughout the entirety of the game. The betting lines also fluctuate in real-time according to how the game is going, which accompanies the broadcasters chatter on the betting odds. This has certainly been one successful initiative from the XFL with the purpose of connecting to a specific audience that will only grow as sports betting becomes more and more legalized within the U.S.
The MLS has adopted similar initiatives by partnering with Second Spectrum & MGM Resorts to use player tracking data to offer live prop bets to fans within the MLS app. Watch as other upstart or well-established professional sports leagues adopt this trend as we move further into 2020.
Mixed Messaging Apps to Connect Internationally:
According to an article posted in Digiday, Adidas has been using WhatsApp to digitally engage with their international audience. This innovative, direct-to-consumer marketing approach adopted by one of the largest brands in sports has proven effective with several of their marketing campaigns being launched on WhatsApp.
With the number of mixed messaging apps growing to reach over 2 billion people in 2019, watch as this trend begins to develop among the biggest brands in sports or within sports properties with newly built international marketing approaches.
The Continued Rise of Women’s Sport:
The rise of women’s sports is continuing and is being highlighted by some extraordinary attendance numbers. Australia is currently in the grip of women’s cricket fever as the Women’s T20 World Cup culminates this weekend as reports come in that over 50,000 tickets have already been sold for the final.
This is an incredible number that the organizers should be extremely proud of and the way that they have managed to get to this number. From having pop superstar Katy Perry as a headliner, to a savvy digital plan run by 4FRONT, it is a testament to the rising power of women’s sport.
Meanwhile, in the UK, the Women’s Super League (the English Premier League equivalent) saw a record 38,262 people attend the North London Derby late last year. As attendance rates drop in other sports as well as the markets in men’s sports, the rise in women’s sports is an exciting development.
As you can see, February 2020 was not only a jampacked month of sporting events, but also key industry innovations that will continue to shape sports business. Whether you’re trying to bring in new gambling-centric or female fans using data or attempting to connect to fans internationally, 4FRONT can assist in the strategy and execution of those plans through several of our verticals.
If you have any thoughts or comments about 4TRENDS or are interested in discussing ways to work with 4FRONT, feel free to reach out to me at Jared@Team4FRONT.com.
ICYMI: Here are 4TRENDS from January.