Rapid changes in media and technology alongside comprehensive on-demand entertainment are revolutionizing fandom.
Today, there are more ways to be a fan than ever before – from live events and gaming to cultural crossovers, shared digital spaces, and beyond.
With this boom in opportunities comes a greater chance to connect with fans and create memorable experiences.
Against this backdrop, it is imperative that brands take the lead and expand their horizons.
Future growth depends on a brand’s ability to diversify and offer new, exceptional experiences on and offline.
Sport now occupies the center ground of live entertainment, just as entertainment shifts to the heart of all our lives.
Fans find sport through gaming, influencers, famous athletes, traditional broadcast behemoths, and independent start-up media.
Cultures thrive when fans borrow and learn from each other, meeting unexpected moments of joy through their shared love of sport.
The smartest brands understand how they are viewed through the eyes not just of their core supporters, but of those who seek a different meaning in what they offer.
Future business success will depend on a brand’s ability to embrace this wider cultural interest and enthusiasm.
We all know sport matters: what matters, even more, is creating new fandom opportunities that thrill audiences and make brands thrive.
Products, services and commercials
In the past, sports brands have sought a commercial approach that is more about breadth than depth. This approach tends to lead to a dependency on third parties.
Leaning on media rights, sponsorship or game-day revenues in isolation brings blind spots when what brands desperately need is a healthy ecosystem.
Changes in media and technology have built an always-on entertainment marketplace, transformed consumer expectations, and threatened a faded generation of business models.
The good news is that there are more ways to be a fan, more places to reach fans, and more ways to commercialize the relationship with fans than ever before.
In this new era, brands that invest in both depth and breadth will be ready to grow everything: discovering new product lines and platforms that make sense for their fans, innovating through meaningful data, and reimagining partnerships and rights packages.
Those who embrace that mindset will find possibilities everywhere.
Globally and locally
Sport creates global brands like little else. Crossing boundaries to unite diverse groups of people wherever they are.
To the fan, the things they care most about will always feel local and immediate. Fans want to navigate their own worlds and define their own communities, and we must develop the insights required to help them do that.
Simultaneously, we have all been reminded of the power of full stadiums and our responsibilities to the people immediately around us. We must focus on renewing those associations.
It’s crucial for sports brands to connect with new audiences in more diverse territories around the globe. We must strive to share our powerful, emotive stories and bridge the gap between what our core fans love about us, and what a global audience is seeking.
Diversity and inclusion
Sport can tear down engagement and participation barriers and render remoteness irrelevant. This ensures audiences are built and revenues realized by globally ambitious brands wherever in the world they deliver experiences.
Brands are recognizing the many backgrounds, stories, and expectations that fans carry with them – but that appreciation must go beyond the surface.
No one should be taken for granted.
By hearing what people value, desire, and hope for from sport, brands will embrace new perspectives and ideas.
A fair chance; creativity; community: that’s how sport will grow – together, inside and out.
The pandemic showed up cracks in sport’s existing revenue models. Legacy models, lucrative as they have come to be, give sports organizations limited control of their own financial destiny. Substantial incomes are generated by third-party relationships and are vulnerable to external forces.
Pandemic-era interruptions to key revenue streams underlined the fragility of this setup. Strategies that underplay the direct-to-fan approach seal off huge growth potential, while over-extended businesses run the risk of failure.
As we enter a new era of growth, sport must get smarter to keep pace with demand. As fans connect, consume and cross over in different ways, brands need to know how to tell their stories well and do so all year round.
Yet they must also harness the tools to lay down scalable processes fit for a sustainable future, staying grounded even as they strike out for new summits, remembering that in this new era, growth still begins with the fan.
Welcome to the Growth Era
The Growth Era is driven by the evolution of digital media and the rapid changes in society and culture caused by the pandemic.
Post-pandemic, brands and their partners must recognize these developments as new opportunities to achieve accelerated growth.
At WePlay, we have developed a new strategic framework that has been purposely built for the Growth Era – for brands to reach their growth ambitions.
We call it the Growth Engine.
When implemented, the Growth Engine unlocks exponential revenue growth from a foundation of fan engagement.
Now is the time to strive for growth in everything we do, working as partners for a future that amazes fans and delivers sustainable business growth.
Welcome to the Growth Era
We are WePlay, Growth Marketing Partners to the world’s most exciting and ambitious brands.
Start your journey towards accelerated growth here.Visit WePlay