Skip to Main Content

Engaging Users through Rich Sports Content

By: Andy Cooper

The fanaticism of sports fans has allowed the industry to embrace the information age as the digital revolution allows fans to get closer to their teams than ever before. The general sports fan now has options on how they follow their team and where they get their information, with a wealth of choices available to them. Rich sports content, whether it’s written, graphical or video, is the best form of reengagement, and data can play a big role.

The resources available to fans continue to both increase and improve, driven by the rise of the smartphone. Eighty three percent of all internet usage is via mobile devices, while 87 percent of people used more than one device at a time in 2015 as the second screen grows in its importance. Fans have numerous choices when surfing the net too; there are many news websites, all with slightly different takes on the same subject. A match report would generally cover the same key discussion points on numerous sites, as would the reporting of a trade or injury – there is certainly a place for this content. However, it should be supplemented with more engaging articles. Social media creates further issues for digital platforms, as news tends to be broken on Twitter before the story is completed online, with journalists racing for the scoop.

While ‘clickbait’ content may attract some consumers, it can lead to a high bounce rate and limited reengagement. Clickbait headlines could also just as easily turn off other users, as revealed by Outbrain and HubSpot research suggesting that headlines containing words that promise quick-fix solutions, are pushy and stress urgency are responsible, with other words likely to decrease click through rates.

The best form of reengagement is with quality content, whether it’s written, graphical or video, and using data can offer this, from providing insights to backing up opinions. Engagement is in the detail, and statistics alongside strong analysis can still offer an edge over the competition. Many fans also follow their favorite websites on social media, allowing for further reengagement – and stronger content is more likely to be shared by others.

Fans are hungry for information and many want to get something from content that they didn’t know before, from contextualizing performances to adding insights. The range isn’t limited to fans searching for details on their favorite teams either, as fantasy sports players look beyond the team that they support. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association revealed that 60 percent of players read more about sports because of fantasy, and fantasy can engage fans like no other content.

Social media engagement is also important to attract one of the key demographics in the industry. Millennials are not just the largest group of consumers in the United States, they’re also the first truly digital generation. An Accenture study revealed that there are roughly 80 million Millennials in the US alone, spending approximately $600 billion each year – with estimates that spending will increase to $1.4 trillion annually and represent 30 percent of total retail sales by 2020. Accenture also revealed that Millennials can be exceptionally loyal consumers, provided they feel like they have been treated right. Millennials have also produced growth in non-traditional sports as well as e-sports, turning formerly niche interests into major competitors in the sporting industry.

Sports fans can be as loyal to websites that they follow as they are with their teams, but can be easier to lose users than gain them. There are various modes of initial attraction for sports fans, but quality content is required for continued engagement, and it can lead to users marketing the content themselves.