Engaging with Sports Fans

by Matt K on 20/05/2016
Tagged under Sports, Engagement, Online

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Sport; it’s the lifeblood of Kiwi culture. We watch it, play it, and love companies that support it. In fact, across the top five sports, 67% of fans feel more positive about companies that invest in NZ sport.

But, just like we’d frown upon a family member who supported anyone but the All Blacks, our sensitivities require brands to understand how, when, what and why we’re engaging, for them to achieve cut through.

As a whole, Kiwis have moved from traditional team sports towards a personal focus on health and wellbeing. Walking now occupies the top sports and active recreation spot, having grown by 29% since 2010 with Soccer, the big winner of the traditional sports, growing by 18%. Rugby league has seen the sharpest decline, while car racing and netball have dropped out of the top 10 altogether. 

Does this mean New Zealanders love affair with major sports is over? No, it’s a reflection of changes in personal priorities. In fact, 87% of us say we’re interested in sport. Opportunities exist for sponsors to commercialise our passion for sports. It’s about reaching the right audience and creating a connection strong enough to drive a positive reaction. The fan base is big, but our drivers for engagement differ wildly. We’re increasingly spoilt for choice; news content, live events and options to ‘watch the game’ have never been greater; which has, in part, lead to live attendance levels and participation rates having taken a hit.

Online engagement among New Zealanders is skyrocketing, with sport content as one of the major growth verticals. Publishers are developing streamlined options for mobile sport video viewing. Live streaming and short-form content designed for mobile consumption are all trends gaining momentum. There’s an appetite to read articles, reviews and browse photos online. We are increasingly seeing engagement strategies shift from a one-to-many approach to a one-to-one approach, allowing fans to get much closer to their sporting heroes.

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