Brands & Sponsorship, Digital & Media, Partnerships, Sport Business, Sports Marketing | Oct 2, 2017
The numbers swamp, the pope, commercial partner match-making and more.

Leaders Week kicked off with two specialist forums this year. One of them, Social Fanalytics, took place at the offices of Cake and delved into the social and digital platforms that are changing the world around us – and bringing sport along for the ride too – and explored the potential of the data coming off the back of those platforms.

  1. Drain the numbers swamp

There is such a thing as too much data, though there might not be such a thing as too much measurement. According to Arsenal Media Group GM Ben Ladkin, the challenge for the Premier League club isn’t in finding the numbers, it’s in knowing which ones to look at to identify trends. It was theme picked up by Milwaukee Bucks Chief Digital Officer Mike Grahl. The NBA team is in a small market and can’t hope to compete on the ‘vanity numbers’ that the big market teams still like to play with. But where they can compete, they can spotlight. And in the Bucks’ case, they’re consistently top-five in the league on the engagement-per-1,000 metric. 

  1. Does the pope tweet in the woods?

The digital landscape of 2017 can be a difficult one for a rights holder to navigate. Content is king, we’re constantly told, and to make sure you’re giving brands what they want, that content has to be yours, right, and available through your platforms? Not necessarily so, David Cipullo, Infront Sports & Media’s Media & Marketing Competency Centre Director, and the man tasked with activating Wanda’s top-tier sponsorships, assured the audience. “Don’t take yourself so seriously,” his advice to rights holders went. “You’re not the Vatican. Have fun with it. You don’t have to own everything – take some of the earned media, some of the user-generated stuff and put it on your own platform. You can afford to free yourself up.”

  1. Match made in heaven/post-season

Post-season at the Minnesota Vikings’s digital and content operation is gruelling. According to Scott Kegley, the team’s Executive Director of Digital Media & Innovation, Vikings Entertainment Group – which covers “everything that moves and makes sound” – has an immediate February post-mortem, examining all content created and distributed during the season. Tweaks, new ideas and formats are then put to the Vikings’ partnerships team in March and April, before the match-making process gets underway – a little late for Valentine’s Day – as partner brands are identified for the most appropriate content strands.

  1. Best of the rest

Are ‘secondary fans’ the next major target segment for football clubs and can they be engaged via social media? Possibly and yes, in the view of AS Roma’s Head of Social and Digital Media Paul Rogers. The idea of reaching the wider football community not with the aim of trying to convert a Juventus fan into a Roma fan, but, for example, by creating content that might make Roma a Manchester United fan’s ‘favourite Italian team’ has kept Rogers and his team busy over the summer. Travel tips for tourists to Rome and Spotify playlists are just a couple of the content types the club has trialled, much of it laced with a touch of humour. 

  1. Different strokes for different folks

In Japan, Twitter is almost exclusively used as a direct messaging service. Who knew? (Apart from the Japanese) (And Twitter).

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