OUR THREE KEY INSIGHTS FROM DOJO EXPLORE 2019
In June this year, we were fortunate enough to be awarded Gemba’s 2019 Dojo Explore Award, which is a peer-nominated accolade that sends two people overseas to experience global sporting events and accelerate their personal development. This month, we were lucky enough to travel to England and Germany to explore the European sport and entertainment landscape.
It was an amazing two weeks, meeting with some of the biggest rights holders, brands, agencies and venues. To give you a taste, we met with FIFA, Formula 1, Williams Racing, Rugby Football Union (RFU), England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and AEG Europe just to name a few. Each session covered a wide range of topics from partnership and broadcast strategies, activation trends, junior participation programs as well as social trends such as the rise of women’s sport and the impact of gambling on sport. We were also lucky enough to attend two Football matches, Arsenal vs Wolves at Emirates Stadium, and Bayern Munich vs Borussia Dortmund at Allianz Stadium, which gave us a great insight into the world of European Football.
Not only did we have an amazing time attending these events and meetings, but we learnt a lot about different market trends in the global sport and entertainment industry. We’ve narrowed down all our learnings into three key insights on the status of sport and entertainment in Europe currently:
GAME DAY EXPERIENCE – LESS IS MORE
- Unlike what we are used to in Australia, European football is a cleaner experience – no static signage, minimal LED signage, very limited sponsor activation activity, no big screen integration and in general, a low level of entertainment outside of the game itself. Clubs and rightsholders have the freedom to do this as their primary source of income is from huge broadcast deals meaning they are less reliant on commercialising game-day assets
- This aside, the experience was much more enjoyable from a fan point of view, as the focus shifts to what’s happening on the pitch rather than everything else around it
- This poses the question for rights holders and stadiums to think more strategically about creating value outside of traditional signage and exposure assets. Venues such as O2 Arena are a great example of how you can commercialise a venue through hospitality and partner reward programs that add to the experience without compromising it
- As one of the most attended sports in the world, it’s easy to see that the European Football method does lead to better fan experiences that will continue to drive passion and loyalty
THE FUTURE OF BROADCAST – FOREVER FRAGMENTED
- In a world where sport viewership is becoming highly fragmented, it is becoming harder to capture consumers share of mind and wallet. It’s forcing rights holders to have a perspective on their future broadcast strategy to ensure they can continue growing (or sustain) their audiences outside of traditional methods
- OTT is the flavour of the month, with many within the industry believing it is the way of the future. As a result, many rights holders are trying to decide if this the path for them
- There is no question that OTT provides several benefits for rights holders. There’s commercialisation through subscription, richer data on consumers and control over sponsorship assets just to name a few. If you have a large amount of content throughout the year, control of how this content is produced, scale of consumers willing to purchase and the financial means to develop a platform – it makes sense for a rightsholder to get on the bandwagon
- Our view is that there is no silver bullet and depends on the content profile and objectives of each right holder. There will always be a need and a demand for different broadcast channels, including FTA broadcasting as well as variations of PTV and OTT strategies for sport organisations
BRANDS BECOMING RIGHTS HOLDERS and RIGHTSHOLDERS BECOMING AGENCIES
- The old-school rightsholder method is to treat a sponsorship as a set of rights and benefits for a brand within a standard package. With more brands and rightsholders aiming to develop partnerships, this view has shifted to one where both parties work together to achieve mutual and separate objectives. We’re seeing this in Australia, but the level of the partnership seems to be more advanced for some European brands and rightsholders.
- In some instances where a brand has a clear sponsorship strategy, we are seeing brands wanting to have a greater influence on the dialogue and engagement strategies to obtain better access to their key customer segments. Essentially, they want a seat at the table when big decisions are being made.
- While rights holders will ultimately have the control on these decisions, there are situations where allowing brands to have greater impact could see mutually benefits; especially in a world where rights holders are having to do more with less.
- The result, as the subject matter expert, rightsholders can effectively work to execute the brand objectives in a way that their fans respond to
- It makes sense, when overall marketing spend is decreasing YoY, as brands work harder to defend their sponsorship dollar. A partnership where clear objectives are set and then met through smart sponsorship activation results in a financially justifiable outcome.
- Brands then return the favour, by providing resources and expertise to invest in research that contributes to the development of strategies that better engage with consumers as well as better utilise and commercialise consumer data – all of which is then shared with the rights holder
- Providing brands with greater say creates greater efficiencies for rights holders and allows them to focus more on delivering events and growing the sport at a grass roots level.
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