Sports are about coming together as a community to watch a game, but the way fans watch a sports game is changing and extending into different media outlets. Richard Shea, President and Co-Founder of Shea Communications and Major League Eating moderated the session, while Geoff Reiss, Vice President and General Manager of Yahoo Sports; David Roter, Head of Global Revenue and Partnerships at The Player’s Tribune; Rich Routman, President and CRO of Minute Media; and Gayle Troberman, CMO of iHeartMedia discussed how new technology and today’s culture alters the way sports fans watch games.
Routman first touched on how the amount consumption and passion for sports have remained the same, but there are more outlets for how and where sports can be watched. Social media aids in growing fandoms for sports and athletes, and technology has changed the number of sports and different teams that can be watched throughout the day. The explosive growth is because publishers are accommodating the consumer with new platforms and subscriptions, even if those accommodations comes at a fee — one that most customers are more willing to pay.
According to Troberman, social media is helping amp up game day, whether it is tweeting on Twitter about a baseball game the day after a win or watching a live video leading up to a Sunday night football game.
E-sports has also become a growing market that has surprisingly remained not heavily marketed. Reiss, however, noted that for traditional sports publishers, this sports realm is different and not as well known, compared to MLB or the NFL.
For whatever sport, Roter stated that marketing needs to be authentic for the consumer. Fans want to consume real conversations or stories that athletes are a part of in all different types of media.
The panel also touched on wagering in sports and how this could change the way a consumer follows and watches sports. Reiss believes wagering in sports will be a slow burn that will eventually lead to significant changes in how valued certain sports are. However, with laws depending on each state as an individual, the start-up process will be gradual.
“It will take some time, but it will drive a fundamental shift in the whole landscape of it,” said Roter. “Down to going out to a Buffalo Wild Wings, everything you do around sports is going to change once this does reach that peak where it’s across the whole country.”
As much as new technology and ideas are driving user engagement, Troberman insists that the majority of Americans are reached by radio, even more than Facebook, Google or Twitter. However, any platform regarding sports consists of a conversation involving a shared passion, according to Troberman. Audio, including podcasts and radio, will continue to thrive among Americans because of the ability to tell stories without the visual, just as social media will because of the personal user engagement.
Sports are a revelry among the American population. Fans are more engaged now, even with all the different multimedia platforms that continue to drive consumer engagement. The way sports fans follow sports is changing and publishers will continue to adjust accordingly.