4TRENDS January 2020

By: Jared Levin

The sports business world has gone through some tremendous growth in the first month of 2020 and will only continue to innovate and expand. Properties are going to continue to find creative ways to engage with fans, sponsors, brands and the general public.

This month’s version of #4TRENDS heavily focuses on the fan itself with the final trend of the month featuring our very own VP of Global Solutions, Eddie Fitzgibbon, where he will provide a glimpse into the international sports business world and one major trend to follow.

Without further ado, here are the trends to look out for in the sports & entertainment industry as we move into February 2020:

Non-Endemic Partnerships
& Marketing Strategy:

Sports properties all over the globe have similar attack plans that focus on sponsors that align with their target audience, but the ability to find non-endemic brands (typically unrelated) is where properties can really find new revenue streams. A handful of 4FRONT’s partners have highlighted this need as they go-to-market in 2020, but this concept will only continue to grow.

Our data divers and innovation group work hand-in-hand to evaluate the best non-endemic categories or brands to go after. For example, a baseball team might look to a furniture brand if data suggests that baseball fans have a strong propensity to purchase furniture and shop at furniture stores. 4FRONT’s analytics and best-in-class Innovation Workshop can assist with the jump into non-endemic partnerships and marketing campaigns.

Property-Themed Fitness Centers:

Several NFL properties have attempted to recreate the experience of an NFL player by building team-themed fitness centers like those at the facilities where the players workout. The franchises that have developed these initiatives include the 49ers, Browns, Cowboys and Bears with the overall goal of innovating the fan experience and building new revenue streams for the organization.

Creating the experience of an NFL player in the gym is just one way that properties are trying to connect with fans away from the stadium. Watch as more domestic professional sports organizations follow suit with this initiative. If you’re interested in how 4FRONT can assist with the design, strategy and implementation of these fitness centers, click here.

Transforming Event Experience Through Change in Venue:

This past December at SunTrust Park, home of the Atlanta Braves, a ski and snowboard event called Visa Big Air was hosted where a giant ski jump was built from scratch in the middle of the ballpark. 800 tons of snow were shoveled into the ballpark to create a one-of-a-kind spectacle. A similar concept was created at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, where the Arizona State Sun Devils competed in a collegiate wrestling event on a baseball field.

Ski jumping and wrestling events with a baseball stadium will begin to pave the way for more live sporting event fusions. Perhaps a basketball court built in a ballpark or even a UFC octagon hosted in the middle of the diamond? Watch as this phenomenon grows as we move into the early months of 2020 and if you’re in the market for this spectacle, click here to see what 4FRONT pulled off with Cavs Australia Day or the Makers Wanted sponsorship.

International Properties Migrating Efforts to U.S. Sponsors:

It is certainly no industry secret that, as sponsorship money tightens in domestic markets, finding partners in international markets is the next evolution in new sponsorship revenue.

The English Premier League has been a leader in this area for years but, until recently, North American and other markets have not been as well developed. That is now changing.

With the NBA recently allowing two international partners per franchise, the race is on to find these new sources of revenue. 4FRONT has recently partnered with the New York Knicks and Portland Trail Blazers to help them understand, through their fan’s online behavior, which markets should be a target of theirs and then, which specific industries and brands to approach.

On the flip side of this, we are now seeing European football teams such as Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam setting up offices in the United States to help them attract US-based brands to their property.

It will be exciting to see where this leads and the cross-pollination of ideas and global revenues makes for a huge opportunity for both properties and brands.

The first month of 2020 has been a great one. Fan experience and innovation is clearly a top-of-mind goal for properties and that will only continue to trend upward with there being so many ways to consume sports away from the venue.

Whether it’s a change in venue, a team-themed fitness center or non-endemic partnership (US or Int’l), 4FRONT can assist in the go-to-market strategy across several of our verticals.

If you have any thoughts or comments about 4TRENDS or are interested in discussing ways to innovate within the sports business world, feel free to reach out to me at Jared@Team4FRONT.com.

ICYMI: Here are the final 4TRENDS of 2019.

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