Optimising your sports marketing campaign.

Marketing Has A Huge Impact on the World of Sports. 

In this webinar, Josh Tumbridge, the Director of Client Services here at Crunch and Alex Hunter, the Commercial Director at Spark, talk about how sports clubs can drive sales through digital marketing. Every month, Spark delivers research across the different agency groups to help marry together digital insights with quality market research. To gather the data talked about within this webinar, Spark spoke to a nationally representative sample of people within the UK which allowed us to report on the population as a whole.

Digital media needs to be contextual to succeed. Contextual advertising, according to research carried out by Radio Centre, delivers 23% more engagement. Research like this gives us an understanding of where our audience is spending their time, who they are, and what times they use which channels. With this information, we can meet the target audience at their most active point. If we can drive 23% more engagement, that means we’ve got better messaging, better placements, and ultimately a better spend on your digital media.

Today, we aim to gauge what the sports fan of today looks like to help clubs market their 2022 sporting events.

Strange Correlations

When collecting research on the UK population, it became apparent that audiences aren’t necessarily all we expect them to be. We decided to compile some of the data that we found a bit strange and some that appeared as expected.

Affluent Sports Fans Can Attend Live Games Much More Often

  • 64% of high household income go to sporting events regularly.
  • 29% of low-income households regularly attend sport events.
  • 43% of medium household incomes attend sport events regularly.

There is a certain perception of sports in the UK like football and rugby as the ‘working man’s’ sport.’ Live events have often been deemed a form of enjoyment for all, but with the rapid increase in ticket prices, lower economic demographics are becoming more and more excluded. For example, major sporting events like the Six Nations have been selling tickets for a minimum of £99. When you consider other cost factors such as food, travel, and accommodation – all of which increase their prices on big game days – attending a live game has become a huge expense.

If your digital media strategy is to sell tickets, this research should directly influence your targeting. Who are you talking to when trying to increase ticket sales? Is your messaging positioned in the right way? All this should be considered when thinking about how to market a sports event.

If You Love Black Friday Events, You’re Twice as Likely to be Attending Sport Events.

There is a value-seeking audience interested in live sports events. With this information, we are once again reminded that we cannot make assumptions. It’s not as simple as figuring out high-income households attend games more regularly because you could be discarding a huge demographic of discount-seeking buyers. In response, we need to give our campaigns that extra level of thought. Are our audiences looking for these kinds of deals? Should we be factoring this into our campaign incentives?

Sports Crowds are Full of Flower Buyers.

Those who buy flowers as a gift for easter have a higher likelihood of being regular attendees at sports games.  

  • 32% of people who buy flowers as a gift for Easter are regular attendees.
  • 20% are irregular attendees.
  • 12% never attend live sports events

When gathering this information, we looked at high correlation areas. It’s important to remember that correlation isn’t causation, people aren’t buying tickets because they like to buy flowers, but this is what makes the correlation so strange and so fascinating.

Though this kind of correlation was used to reiterate the fact that our audiences are not always what we expect them to be, there could be a way to utilise this way of thinking into your sports campaign.

Is there the opportunity to attach gift-buying to our ticket sales and marketing strategies? Could people be buying sports club t-shirts and other forms of merchandise for their loved ones at a certain time of year? There are plenty of holidays where gift-buying is expected, it would be worth utilising days like these to market towards people consuming in this way.

Sustainable Sports Fans.

Live attendees had a good understanding of COP21.

  • 65% of people who understand what COP21 is about regularly attend live sports events.
  • 59% attended irregularly.
  • 33% never attended live events.

Another strange result is this correlation between an awareness of the UN Climate Conference and attendance at live sports events. When we think a bit more about these results, it could be a result of strong coverage. Many sports fans will more regularly turn on the news, pick up a newspaper, or read online updates to check game results. Because of these factors, they are much more likely to have a general awareness of events like COP21 when they occur due to the high coverage of the event.

As well as this, people are becoming generally more conscious of sustainability. Various clubs are making a conscious effort to become net-zero, with the Forest Green Rovers being the first and labelling themselves as the ‘greenest football club in the world.’ If sustainability is something people are resonating with, we need to consider building this into our messaging.

What Can we Take from This?

So, what is the key to successful sports marketing? Put simply, it’s all about understanding your audience.

After looking at the research, we can come away knowing that we can’t make assumptions about people and their behaviour. As marketers, we must constantly challenge ourselves by collecting relevant data and catering to the people most likely to convert. When we’re building our strategy, we need to ask ourselves, what do we know about our audience, and how can we use this to guide sports fans along our campaign’s path?

To conclude the webinar, the hosts ran through some statistics regarding the sports fan of today.

Sports Fans: Going to a Game is Still Popular Despite the Pandemic

  • 41% of the population are going to live sports games at least once a year.
  • 20% go weekly.
  • 71% of the surveyed audience are football fans, proving the sport is still the most popular in the UK, especially amongst men.
  • 21% of the surveyed audience are female tennis fans, but football still ranked as their top sport.

Season Tickets – A Big Draw

We asked people when they planned to buy season tickets, if ever.

  • 47% of those who planned to buy season tickets for sports events this year were not regular season ticket buyers.
  • 48% of season ticket buyers were young families.
  • 46% were Londoners.
  • 38% were 18–34-year-olds.

With this data, we are exposed to a range of different audience segments to potentially target. We now know the percentage of the UK population who are already likely to buy, as well as those who rarely attend live events. With this information, we can begin to create different kinds of targeting. Ultimately, these results drive a need for a marketing strategy and remind us that segmenting the user will challenge our thinking.

Social Media Gives Additional Channels.

It’s easy to get caught up in the headlines when it comes to different social media channels. For example, many people think that Facebook is dying out in favour of platforms more popular with Gen Z such as TikTok and Instagram, but that’s not true.

  • 57% have used social media when looking for tickets to sport events.
  • 34 % have used Facebook to access tickets.
  • 32% have used YouTube.
  • 28% have used Instagram.
  • 81% of 18–24-year-olds have used social media to access ticket websites.

What this tells us is that people aren’t being driven away from Facebook. The people not using Facebook aren’t the ones you need to be concerned with, as sports fans are still accessing tickets through channels like Facebook regularly.

We can then take this information and create user journeys and funnels. Social media gives the presence and ability to talk to your users, it’s all about driving urgency and relevance.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Sports fan stereotype has evolved – we can’t rely on assumptions about an audience, we must know them.
  2. Promote the right messaging throughout the journey – how can we tweak the message to give the most optimal drive?
  3. Facebook is not dead – the users you are targeting are there.

How Crunch can Help

We hope we’ve provided some valuable insights to start optimising your sports marketing campaigns. But, if you want to make your campaigns go even further, why not work with us? We will work alongside your club to target your existing and new customers, generating more business, revenue, and profit.

Could your sports club benefit from a top-of-the-line digital campaign? Get in touch today to start setting up a slam dunk digital marketing strategy.