It’s half-time on day two of ISC at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in north London, and delegates have gathered on Level Two of the stadium for lunch and networking, after an informative series of sessions this morning.
What is common to every session is that fans are changing in the way they want to consume sport, and digital technology is the means by which sports organisations must keep up – or risk losing their fans.
As the All England Lawn Tennis Club’s Alexandra Willis put it: “Sports properties need to act like media businesses to attract and retain fans and audiences.”
What fans are looking for today is very different from five years ago, People care about people and the younger fans are connecting more with the athletes than with the sport in general. The athletes “are the gateway,” according to Dan Ginger of the ATP and WTA.
Deltatre’s Carlo De Marchis reported an interesting statistic: “Consent is becoming crucial,” he said. “I’m not advocating a transition to direct to consumer. But Spotify spoke to FC Barcelona and found that just 1 per cent of the club’s 350 million fans had agreed that the club could access their name, phone number and email address. There are a lot of lessons there.
But as delegates fortify themselves for the final sessions of the day, and of this year’s ISC, here at the Tottenham Stadium, they would do well to bear in mind the advice of Legia Warsaw’s Tomasz Zahorski: “It’s very important to have the fans on your side. Our fans are pretty much conservative, especially the most vocal and most loyal ones, so it’s an area where we really have to work to make sure it makes sense. It’s not an easy process. You have to be really smart about it.”