The digital age has brought challenges to sports organisations, yet it offers new opportunities to connect with fan-bases and spectators alike. Suddenly Saturday afternoons, previously religiously spent on terraces up and down the country are competing for attention with the likes of Netflix, televised sport and the internet.
But for all of the alternatives of the 21st century competing for attention, digital can provide new ways of connecting with a disengaged fan-base, can inspire the next generation of spectators by creating experiences supplemented by digital, and importantly provide access to new revenue streams which were previously untapped.
Everyone remembers their first game, don't they? The sights, the sounds, the excitement. But how you keep that passion year-on-year, through the hard times and the good. By tapping into those memories, organisations can reignite that passion. The on-going marketing of competitions and events should be no less captivating than the event itself.
Teams and clubs with lasting legacies should look to build on their heritage by creating digital brands, as done so well by internationally recognised Real Madrid or The New York Yankees.
Establishing sporting organisations at the "top of the table" for their digital offering is something we have done before - crafting websites which deliver the latest news, ticket information and match information in a new, easier and interactive way, encourages fans to feel closer to the action. Complimenting match/competition day action with apps and online services can deliver the feel-good factor and increase community involvement across the fanbase.
With ever-increasing budgets, we know that relying solely on match-day revenues is no longer sustainable. Digital marketing campaigns can help to boost traditional revenues such as advertising tickets or boosting season-ticket campaigns. Its importance of attracting new customers and tapping into new revenue streams cannot be understated. Sponsorship and the attractiveness of hospitality sometimes can only be measured against the message and image that is portrayed on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, building a memorable brand with a sleek and contemporary aesthetic combined with authentic experiences is a must.
Sporting institutions, known locally for being pillars within the community are increasingly diversifying, the use of stadia for alternative uses is a current trend. With uses including outdoor concerts and performances, network conferencing and television filming locations becoming more prominent in the schedules of stadia and sporting grounds. Digital marketing can make the all-important difference, firstly in awareness but also sales.