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Deloitte Analysts Peter Giorgio and Michael Vovk: Sports Properties Need To Rethink Fan Engagement

07/05/2024

Deloitte Analysts Peter Giorgio and Michael Vovk: Sports Properties Need To Rethink Fan Engagement Younger fans, particularly, want to consume sports in a radically different way By Ken Kerschbaumer

Tuesday, May 7, 2024 - 7:00 am

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For sports properties, their media partners, and fans, the future promises personalization, virtual experiences, and new ways to produce and consume sports content. But what are the right steps to turn that promise into reality? Two leading industry analysts - Peter Giorgio, global and U.S. sports practice leader, Deloitte, and Michael Vovk, managing director, technology, media, and telecom industry practice, Deloitte - have some suggestions and recently shared them and current trends with SVG.

Their report 2023 sports fan insights: the beginning of the immersive sports era notes that 56% of fans prefer watching sports on streaming-video-on-demand (SVOD) services, 35% want real-time stats and analytics as part of those services, and 59% would pay extra for SVOD that offered access to all their favorite sports events. Deloitte's most recent research predicts that, this year, revenue generated by women's elite sports will surpass $1 billion for the first time, a 300% leap since 2021.

Understanding the Macro Issues Two things are happening at the macro level in sports-content distribution, Giorgio says. First is the recognition that sports properties need to think holistically when it comes to how they engage with fans.

Deloitte's Peter Giorgio: We're in the middle of a fundamental shift to create new and different types of experiences in the arena.

It's not okay to focus on the arena experience. You have to think about your brand interaction across a wide variety of these different touch points, he explains. How do you show up in social? How do you show up on fantasy? How do you show up on linear? It's an interesting shift because, historically, a lot of that had been outsourced by a lot of sports properties, like the NBA just letting Turner handle that or the NFL letting NBC and CBS handle it. But a lot of organizations are recognizing that [although] they want consistent relationship-building, it is hard and complicated.

Second, sports leagues are confronting the conundrum of catering to an older fanbase, willing to pay $150 to sit for two hours in an uncomfortable seat and eat traditional ballpark fare, while also trying to engage a younger generation that wants something different.

We're in the middle of a fundamental shift to create new and different types of experiences in the arena because that's what that next generation wants, Giorgio points out. They don't want to sit in their seat: they want to go to a fantasy lounge where they can keep up with their fantasy team, or they want a bar that has a view of the court so they can drink and hang out with their friends. They don't want assigned seats; they want a general-seating section where they can hang out with the people they met in the tailgate.

And yes, that conundrum changes the definition of what a viewer at home is. If you expand your definition of watching to people who engage on social during a game, the people who are watching clips today, and people who are talking about it and things like that, it becomes a very different number, he explains. Sports organizations need to rethink watching if they're going to get that next generation of fans to engage with their property.

Deloitte's Michael Vovk: The outlets to disseminate content have to be differentiated in a lot of different ways because you're addressing a market that is very, very tech-savvy.

The way the younger generation consumes media is radically different from what people have done in the past and will radically impact how media is delivered. They consume in short segments, they consume through social media, they consume in little bits and bites, says Vovk. You've got to cater to that, and the outlets to disseminate content have got to be varied and have to be differentiated in a lot of different ways because you're addressing a market that is very, very tech-savvy and comfortable with needing an app for this or an app for that.

The big issue, Vovk adds, is that the younger generation is putting pressure on pricing structures of streaming services. Pricing structures designed to prevent churn and bundling of more services will continue as apps and services look to become stickier.

Although the digital-rights landscape in increasingly sophisticated, with rights sliced and diced across multiple rightsholders, there are global exclusive deals like the one between MLS and Apple, Giorgio notes. Those rights are going to live and die by how much Apple cares about major-league soccer, both in the U.S. and globally, with all the eggs in one basket. At the other end of the spectrum. you've got the NFL, which now has Amazon, Google, NBC, etc. caring about them here and others caring about them overseas.

Increasingly, fans complain in social media about how some of the packages that are spread far and wide make it too difficult (or expensive) to find the content they want, but Giorgio believes that someone, someday, will end that confusion: Somebody's going to aggregate that experience at some point so that you and I don't have to go to 17 different places to find something. You will be able to make a request for, say, women's soccer available right now, and it will just happen.

But how do you align marketing techniques? he continues. How do you create this sort of one-stop shop? How do you aggregate media rights into one place so they can sort of build on each? I don't think it's the final destination, but I think it's a step on that journey.

Think Small, Big Results A
LINK: https://www.sportsvideo.org/2024/05/07/deloitte-analysts-peter-giorgio...
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