How to Turn Your Social Data into Dollars for Sport

August 23, 2021

Whether you’re a media company or a sports organization, you should be using data across all facets of your business to increase revenue—from the content side all the way down to your accounting and HR practices.

In our webinar Monetizing Sports Consumption: Using Data to Increase Revenues, Conviva’s Nick Cicero, Vice President of Strategy, spoke with Alison Crowe, Director of Digital and Data at the England & Wales Cricket Board; Alex Parker, Director of Marketing at the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium; and Alex Ferrer, Head of Marketing and Communication at Euroleague Basketball, about how to use data to elevate your game. 

Don’t undervalue digital. 

Digital content should be at the forefront of media plans, yet many organizations still undervalue the revenue that can be derived, particularly via social channels. 

A valuation model can support your sponsorship team in conversations and make sure you’re providing sponsors with the value they expect. The right reporting and measuring tools prove that value is being delivered and allow transparent sharing of data so that sponsors can track progress.  

Before the COVID-19 pandemic began, everything related to digital in Euroleague’s partnerships was an add-on, especially for some of their more traditional-minded sponsors. But when they had to suspend the league due to the pandemic, the only way to provide value to their sponsors was through digital content. A year later, digital is one of the first topics Euroleague brings to the table. 

“Sponsors are much more sophisticated now than they were a year ago and much more demanding in receiving proof and transparent proof of the results you’re providing. That’s what we are focusing on right now.” — Alex Ferrer, Head of Marketing and Communication at Euroleague Basketball 

Focus on your objectives and your audience.  

The first step is to determine what the partner is trying to achieve and who they’re trying to reach. Then look at reach, user demographics, and engagement data across all of the different touchpoints—whether third-party or owned and operated channels. This data allows you to make recommendations about what content will work best for partners on each platform.  

When the England & Wales Cricket Board works with its commercial partners, they’re committed to creating a smart plan built on strong data and testing new platforms to gather additional insights. 

“We have some really great engagement on the back of [Instagram Reels]. Again, that’s more data for us to be able to talk to our partners about in terms of, ‘OK, this is what’s going to work well on these channels’ and come up with those creative ideas as a result.” — Alison Crowe, Director of Digital and Data at the England & Wales Cricket Board 

Build a data-driven culture in your organization. 

Inspire your colleagues and stakeholders to get on board with data-backed decision-making by showing evidence of how it can change the story and make a difference. 

People typically believe in things when they see them, so make the data easily accessible to others within your organization. This will allow them to self-serve and use the results, analytics, and insights to more readily drive their decisions.  

Though there’s still an element of mindset change within this approach, when people see what they can achieve with data, change comes quickly.  

“Measurement of the decisions that they make, or reports that can add value to those decisions, or data that allows them to have a better conversation with the sponsor or whatever it is, it quickly gains traction. That’s what we are seeing here. Especially these days with all this shift in the culture of the entire society, we have many more arguments to convince top management, especially, that this is necessary.” — Alex Ferrer, Head of Marketing and Communication at Euroleague Basketball 

Look to the future. 

There’s a gap between those who are highly engaged with sports teams (younger fans) and those who are spending money with them (typically fans 45 and older). 

So how do you close the gap? Plan for a fiscally bright future by generating experiences and touchpoints now with your youngest fans.  

Professional sports leagues often build a strong culture with powerful ties to other strong cultures, like music, art, fashion, and sneakers. Connect with potential new fans by using athletes or other prominent influencers to create a bridge between your content and the content younger generations naturally seek out. Once you build that connection, the data will allow you to understand these fans better and nurture them into future buyers. 

“We’re constantly looking at that and monitoring, seeing, one, what the audiences look like; two, what the purchase behaviors look like; and then three, where the conversion percentages are coming. I think if you funnel those three things through the lens of these two groups you’re working with, it’ll help you pull a lot of insights into how you’re going to drive more revenue from these groups or drive more lifetime revenue from them three, four, five years down the road.” — Alex Parker, Director of Marketing at the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium 

To learn more, watch our Monetizing Sports Consumption: Using Data to Increase Revenues webinar.