Thoughts, Insights and Inspiration

Why brands need social media to win in sports

If you’ve ever been in a pub or bar during a live sports match, you’ll know that there are few things fans like more than a good debate.

Who’s better: Ronaldo or Messi? Was that really a foul? What are your predictions? The discussions are endless, and yet face-to-face interactions are just the tip of the iceberg.

We also head to social media in droves to discuss that goal, that foul, that refereeing decision. Social is now a key area for brands looking to engage with sports, and in this post, Mporium explores why.

Social Sport

Research has found that 61% of sports viewers follow a sports-related account on social media and 80% interact with other fans. Champions League finalists Real Madrid and Liverpool, for example, have over 40m Twitter followers between them, while the official NFL feed commands a following of 24.7m.

The power of social media is so significant that it’s even altering the way clubs view themselves and their sponsorship possibilities.

Barcelona worked with sporting marketing agency IMG to understand the value that social media adds to shirt sponsorship and landed on some important discoveries.

“We found there was an extraordinary amount of value that the shirt sponsor of Barcelona was receiving on social media, which wasn’t really factored into the sponsorship,” Rob Mason, managing director of IMG Consulting, told The Telegraph.

“Our work there told us that social media is the next great frontier for sports sponsorships. But sports rights holders need to understand their social media value, and sponsors need to know what they want from it.”

The greater engagement between fans and the sport they follow has also significantly reshaped the way teams engage with their fans. “This has been the biggest sea change for all sports rights holders in the past few years,” says Mark Lichtenhein, the PGA European Tour’s head of television, digital media and technology.

“We now have a dialogue with the fanbase. We never had that before. We were just a business-to-business industry selling our content to broadcasters and rights to sponsors.”

Second Screening in Sport

This fan/sport interaction is a real-time experience that’s happening as the teams are playing. GlobalWebIndex found that 96% of people who watch sporting events do so while using another device. 74% of those people are using their mobile.

Thanks to its reactive nature, Twitter is the natural place for sports fans to discuss their passions. Here, fans can find reporters, players and fellow fans discussing the events, meaning there’s a great opportunity for brands to get involved with relevant messaging.

Look, for example, at Oreo’s You Can Still Dunk In The Dark tweet that was sent out during a power outage at the 2013 Superbowl.

By being reactive and delivering a clever message that resonated with people’s interest in an unpredictable and unusual event, Oreo managed to capture the attention and engagement of a massive audience despite having no obvious connection to sport.

And with 62% of Twitter users more likely to recall brands that share sports content, it’s no surprise to see companies undertaking activity like this more frequently.

Whether it’s the Superbowl, the Olympics, Wimbledon or the forthcoming football World Cup, the sporting calendar is always bursting with events that brands can engage with.

It’s just a case of finding the right content and delivering it at the right time.

To find out how mporium IMPACT can help your business to just that, get in touch!

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