CES SPORTS ZONE: Three big lessons for brands – part 2

CES SPORTS ZONE: Three big lessons for brands – part 2

Technology is affecting the fundamental nature of the sports fan

“You can change your wife, your politics, even your religion. But never your football team.” A quote from Eric Cantona that Josh Walker – President of Sports Innovation Lab – used to kickstart the discussion at CES this week. The idea being that, for the first time, there is challenge to this notion of fandom. And it’s a challenge driven by technology.

Social media, gaming, OTT and immersive media are creating a generation of sports fans that aren’t unwaveringly loyal to the team their fathers followed.

Rather, they are fans of individual athletes and of the most captivating experiences. Their preferred sports and teams might be driven as much by their favourite video game as by their home town.

For brands, this has several interesting implications.

Firstly, they will have to re-evaluate what matters to the fan to effectively engage them. Something that, according to IBM’s Elizabeth O’Brien, will only increase the importance of accessing the right data on audiences.

Secondly, the individual athlete may become a more powerful marketing asset than a team or competition. Long-term agreements with sports people could replace some traditional sponsorships and partnerships with teams may be tied more closely to access to specific players.

Lastly, we could see a significant shift in the advertising strategies of brands around sport. A combination of AI and programmatic technologies will enable brands to adjust advertising around games, as they unfold, based on how exciting any match is or the performance of a specific player.

To view part one in the series click here. To read our full report on CES 2019 click here.

Jonathan Drakes, Strategy Director, Fuse and Author of Merge Sport: How technology will revolutionise sport for the fans