A perfect match

Why professional sports clubs have quickly got to grips with digital video

For professional sports clubs rooted in their community, video is the perfect way to increase loyalty and to repay fans. Supporters are ever hungry for content and modern digital platforms give clubs the means to satisfy that hunger in a cost effective manner.

Sports clubs enjoy a massive advantage over other organisations because they have fans, not customers. Fans are more likely to watch content they receive from their club than they are from any other kind of organisation. But how many sports clubs are maximising the benefits this brings? Too many are still reliant on the established methods: mailshots, matchday programmes, local newspapers and radio campaigns. 

The reason that video works so well is that fans are always keen to learn more about their sporting heroes. They want to witness their talents, get to know their personalities and they want to feel that their heroes care about the club as much as they themselves do. By supplying this kind of content regularly, a club is keeping its fans in touch with what it is doing. From a commercial perspective, this creates a golden opportunity to increase brand awareness and develop sales opportunities

Let’s look at an example of a sports club that has transformed its video and digital output in recent times. In 2016-17, Leeds United had enjoyed an exciting season when they finished 7th in the English Championship and just failing in their bid for a promotion play-off place. The average home league attendance that year was 27,699. At the end of that season, Andrea Radrizzani became sole owner of the club. The new chairman had made his fortune in sports media. When he took over, one immediate change that Radrizzani introduced at the club was to focus on the online video content. He brought his industry expertise to bear and the content improved in quality and in volume. 

Two years later and Leeds United were still chasing promotion to the Premier League, but interest had been harnessed and fans had been engaged in ever greater numbers. For each league game the club sold out its allocation for both home and away (averaging over 35,000 at Elland Road). Furthermore, replica shirt sales boomed, with the unusually coloured grey and pink away kit becoming the best selling change strip in the club’s history. To meet overall new demand, the club opened its fifth retail unit.

It is performances on the pitch that excite fans the most, of course, but Leeds United converted interest and enthusiasm in to commercial returns. Free to view, sophisticated video and digital content is facilitating this by increasing customer engagement. What kind of content do they show? There is a variety: clips from the archive; interviews with players; previews of matches; fun features; content about charity and community work; news items; features about working with sponsors; notices informing fans when tickets are going on sale, etc. The club and its community are being brought closer together. The fans love it and Leeds United is getting a lot of return on its media investment

Whilst not every professional sports club has the fanbase of Leeds United, each club has the same opportunity to improve its commercial returns through digital and video content working alongside traditional marketing methods. The first step in this direction is to form a suitable video/digital strategy, allocate a budget and build a team working with efficient workflows and a way of measuring return on investment.

Technology means that  creating high quality video content delivered online is more affordable than ever before. With a fanbase always keen to engage, the content is helping clubs to increase their revenue. Fans get what they want, and clubs keep their fans loyal and interested. It is the perfect match and everybody benefits.

Please send us an email at hello@shortstories.media if you would like us to get in touch to discuss your next video project.

Philip Pickard - Head of Production