As data becomes increasingly important for understanding the fans and customers of the future, content is emerging as a defining element of brand culture and strategy. Global consumer behavior is leading companies to move from a product-centered approach to a more service-oriented, more transparent reason for being – shifting importance onto purpose and a commitment to society.
In terms of fan engagement, data-driven platforms can help brands and clubs to connect with fans in ways that bring in new sources of revenue and offer a heightened consumer experience. A number of industry moves reinforce this message. In April 2020, the NBA signed a multiyear partnership with technology giant Microsoft to create a direct-to-consumer platform that will use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to localize experiences for the league’s global fan base. Reflecting the struggle to feel connected and the power of bringing people together virtually, social sporting network Strava saw a 1.9X increase in social connections in 2020, with the average athlete following almost twice as many people compared to the prior year.
To bolster fan and consumer engagement in a more virtual world, brands need to visualize the future as they mean it. The future is connected communities.
In their Sports Outlook 2021, Deloitte recommends that in 2021, sports organizations should consider three key strategic opportunities to boldly position themselves to thrive in the future:
• Leverage digital tools to drive new revenue generation models
• Be active in addressing race, gender, and LGBT+ inequality and injustice
• Explore new ways to fuel year-round fan engagement
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