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The Value of the European Championships to Digital Media Companies

European championships provide valuable summer traffic spike for digital media companies

By: Oliver Hopkins

It comes as no surprise that the European Championships attract a large audience of fans craving their next football fix.

What may not be as clear is the value that this heavy dose of traffic provides to digital media companies. This influx of interest sets up the perfect platform for digital properties to monetise their sports content. As digital advertising continues to grab dollars from traditional media airing coverage of the competition, these spikes in traffic grow more valuable each year.

UEFA were the first to capitalise on the clamor for more football. EURO 2016 was the biggest iteration of the tournament to date; the expansion into a 24-team format saw the match total rising from 31 to 51 games. Adding eight extra teams meant an additional 20 matches, leading to huge increases in revenue from tickets, television rights, sponsorship and advertising.

The Impact on Web traffic

On the opening day of Euro 2016, the official UEFA website saw a one-day traffic increase of 128%, reaching almost 5 million visits on desktop and mobile combined. By way of comparison, the Champions League final in the same year drove only 2.1 million visits to the same site.

That was only the beginning.

By the end of first round of knockout matches, UEFA’s official site had attracted around 89 million worldwide visits. This figure was higher than all previous visits combined since the beginning of 2016.

Stats Perform’s clients are also among the chief beneficiaries of this increased demand for football content. Throughout EURO 2016, clients who implemented Stats Perform content onto their platforms saw impressive increases in traffic. Analytics comparing the day preceding the tournament to the opening day showed collective pageview growth of 375%. This growth only improved as the tournament progressed. Data comparing the day preceding the tournament to the average across all group stage games showed an aggregated increase in traffic of a staggering 550%.

The shifting advertising landscape

Digital publishers who focus on creating interactive and engaging site experiences are primed to generate increased advertising revenue from these spikes in traffic. The value associated with this content is only set to rise as projected digital ad spending becomes a more substantial prize in coming years.

In March 2019, eMarketer projected that worldwide digital ad spending would rise by 17.6% to $333.25 billion by the end of the year with an additional 15.5% increase to $384.96 billion in 2020. In some countries, including the U.K., China, Norway and Canada, digital has already become the dominant ad medium and this year, it is forecasted that U.S. and the Netherlands will join that group.

The shifting advertising landscape means there are more digital advertising dollars up for grabs than ever before, and it will be the publishers who curate an attractive and engaging experience for their audiences that come out on top. Stats Perform’s breaking news service provides publishers with high-quality sports content to use across various platforms. High volume, data-rich video provides great pre-, mid- and post-roll video advertising opportunities while fast, incisive and multi-language editorial content, collected by expert journalists on the ground, provides additional display advertising revenue opportunities.

This trend means traditional ad spending is losing out, unable to keep up with the aggressive growth of digital. Group M predict traditional TV advertising growth to remain flat in 2020 after ending up down by 2.3% in 2019.

Digital publishers can bring data to life on their platforms by embedding Stats Perform Widgets. These create an interactive site experience built to facilitate additional engagement and revenue through a customisable, visual format fit that complements a digital properties’ presence. Widgets add crucial detail to a sports content offering and can be used to power new content that can be monetised through advertising and sponsorship.

The Rise of Second-Screening

To further fuel the upheaval in the advertising tug-of-war, the way in which fans consume sports has changed rapidly in recent years. Research has shown that 77% of fans use a second device while watching live sport. With so many sports options available across so many screens, fans of all ages – not just millennials – are watching fewer games and exiting them faster. It’s no surprise that mobile as a subset is already accounting for 70% of all digital spend, and it won’t be long before mobile ad spending makes television settle for third place, giving content providers additional touchpoints to engage their audiences.

To help brands capitalise on the rise of second-screening, Stats Perform has built Opta Graphics, a fully integrated, customisable platform that enables clients to build dazzling social graphics at scale. Powered by deep, live data, the tool allows users to stay relevant in the ever-changing social conversation by creating highly visual outputs in multiple languages with a look and feel that matches the properties’ brand.

As evolving tools such as real-time widgets and personalised sports content leads the way to easily adaptable digital products for media outlets and their consumers, the ways in which to engage and provide consistently relevant content across key competitions are now more available than ever.