Fan’s engagement – What’s next?

Fan Engagement – What next?

  • Will Pithers, Strategic Partner Manager | Sports Partnership – Meta

  • Sergio Friede, Head of Marketing and Growth – NBA

  • Tom McDonnell, Co-founder/CEO – Monterosa

  • Satpal Ghatrora, Head of Product – Sky Betting and Gaming

D2C is much more than live streaming OTT – it’s the opportunity to create a one-stop shop for fans to engage with the sport or sports properties they love. That was the message from Sergio Friede (Head of Marketing and Growth – NBA) at this year’s ‘Fan Engagement – What next’ session at ISC.

Joined by Will Pithers (Strategic Partner Manager | Sports Partnership – Meta), Tom McDonnell (CEO – Monterosa) and Satpal Ghatrora (Head of Product – Sky Betting and Gaming), Friede was giving details on the strategy behind his organisation’s new app, launched in September 2022 as an “all-in-one destination” for fans.

“[NBA commissioner] Adam Silver is thinking about D2C in a different way. He is thinking about how D2C can reach fans across all touchpoints,” Friede said, alluding to features such as behind-the-scenes coverage and archive games. 

“Only 1% of our international fans will ever go to a game. How can we use D2C to bring the US closer to our international fans? Investment in our app is long-term play based on the opportunity that we see in the number of fans we have globally,” he added.

Will Pithers from Meta explained how the organisation’s Instagram platform has been used to great effect by sports rights-holders giving greater context to a memorable moment that happened on the pitch. His case study of best practice was the English Football Association’s interview with Jude Bellingham, in which he explains his “intense” celebration with Jordan Henderson after the latter scored against Senegal at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

“It encapsulates exactly what social media content can do in giving that extra level of context alongside live TV,” Pithers said. “Everyone saw the moment live and we know you can go to social the next day for more. We’re seeing increasing amounts of that, not just from teams but from publishers too.”

When the conversation moved onto the role AI will play in fan engagement, Monterosa’s McDonnell said tools like ChatGPT are going to cause “more of an iPhone moment than an NFT moment” – while Ghatrora added AI was being used to great effect in the safeguarding customers at Sky Betting and Gaming.

McDonnell said: “We’ve been using [ChatGPT] to suggest ideas…and it takes three seconds, whereas in the past you’d have to think and then write down. It’s saving huge amounts of time more than anything. This is just the start.”

Ghatrora added: “We’re looking at customer behaviour to try and anticipate things and act before they happen…it is a number one priority for the business.”