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Why should sports marketers partner with emerging platforms?

Why should sports marketers partner with emerging platforms?

Why should sports marketers partner with emerging platforms?

As emerging platforms continue to build large and loyal audiences, it’s more important than ever for brands to understand how to leverage short-form video, partner with OTT networks, and build audio into their content strategy. During Hashtag Sports LIVE, TikTok’s Harish Sarma, fuboTV’s Pamela Duckworth, and TuneIn’s Kevin Straley spoke about the ways they approach partnerships with sports teams, leagues, brands and athletes in a panel entitled “New Platforms and Partnerships: Where are Sports Fans?”

Here are some key takeaways from that conversation, which was moderated by Keith Hernandez of Launch Angle:

Hashtag Sports LIVE virtual conference sessions are now available for viewing on-demand.

Key Insights:

  1. Authentic content from players and teams plays well, particularly during the pandemic.
  2. Emerging technologies allow platforms to provide more data to partners.
  3. To reach and engage the modern fan, brands, teams, and athletes are increasingly willing to partner with non-traditional platforms.

Authentic content from players and teams plays well, particularly during the pandemic.

Audiences increasingly want to see content that isn’t perfect or scripted. They may not even care whether that content is about sports. Perhaps no platform provides more opportunity for authentic connections than TikTok. “[TikTok] is effectively a natural connection for athletes with fans,” Harish Sarma said. “lt’s a place where teams are being more genuine about their position in sports outside of the field—things that have nothing to do with highlights or live scores.” Sarma highlighted a series called #HappyAtHome early in the pandemic in which athletes and other celebrities showcased how they were spending their time—from playing the guitar to cooking to meditation—as a success.

@nba

In ##TalentTuesday, listen in as Justin Holiday shares his guitar skills with us while he is ##HappyAtHome 🎸 ##NBATogether

♬ original sound – nba


Meanwhile, Fubo Sports’ Pamela Duckworth discussed how minor adjustments can get athletes more TV airtime and exposure to build their brands. “Taking these podcasts and making them ‘vodcasts’ is a really easy, high production value way to get all of these athletes on TV,” Duckworth said. Her network recently rolled out a video version of former NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas’ podcast ‘No Chill with Gilbert Arenas’.

Emerging technologies allow platforms to provide more data to partners.

Data collection was also a key topic of discussion. TuneIn Chief Content Officer Kevin Straley provided one key example in the context of sports betting advertising. Because TuneIn has the ability to capture where each listener tunes in from, they can target gambling ads directly to the states where sports betting is legal. Straley says these highly targeted approaches help drive revenue that can be reinvested into content.

Particularly with a burgeoning platform like TikTok, brands want data that will help them understand the audience they are reaching better. “We have an insights tool that we are actually providing to our partners,” Harish Sarma said. “We’re working with them on ways that we can augment that and increase the types of data points we can provide.”

To reach and engage the modern fan, brands, teams, and athletes are increasingly willing to partner with non-traditional platforms.

Engaging with fans through less traditional outlets like TikTok, TuneIn, and Fubo is becoming more of a priority, and each panelist shared how their platform is able to maximize those opportunities. For Duckworth and Fubo, it all comes down to flexibility. “If you want to take over ‘Drinks with Binks’ and you’re Tito’s Vodka, give us a call,” Duckworth said. “We legit can take brands and integrate anything.”

TikTok’s expansion into live streaming also allows flexibility, which allowed them to partner with Jordan Brand to host “The Last Dance” after-show entitled “The Encore.” Sarma discussed how the brand wants to capitalize most on “seminal moments” in sports, whether that be cultural phenomenons like “The Last Dance” or big moments on the field once live games return.

Straley spoke about a key new relationship that makes TuneIn the host of all Oakland Athletics games this season, becoming the first major sports franchise to bypass terrestrial radio. “Teams are so sophisticated with data, with marketing, with sponsorships,” Straley said. “For both of us, it’s about sharing data, it’s about learning about that audience, and determining if we can jointly move them towards a streaming platform. Early indications are that we can.”


Learn more about how to effectively engage the modern fan & consumer at
Hashtag Sports, an annual conference designed for media and marketing professionals.

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