There's been a lot of interrogation recently about the future of sports consumption; there's also been a lot of attention drawn towards the Creator Economy (or the Passion Economy). But interestingly enough, not much attention has been given to the tons of Creators telling sports stories to huge and engaged communities of fans on social media.
Below is an attempt to provide a typology of sports contents to highlight the influence of independent Creators 💪
The classic: sports content
In a club, a league or a federation, the first mission of the Marketing / Communication teams is to inform about the competitions involving the organization, be it in written, photo, video, audio format, etc.
This means, for example, live-tweets on Twitter on competition nights, post-competition recaps on YouTube, athlete photos on Instagram... In short, anything that allows fans to follow strictly sports news.
Several observations here:
- Most organisations (clubs, leagues, federations, media) excel at producing and distributing sports content, often with teams of journalists, former players or experts.
- While sports content is essential to "feed" existing fans, it is not usually the natural gateway to acquiring new audiences.
The must: peri-sports content
Formula 1 Grand Prix races are held on average every two weeks; Paris Saint Germain only performs on average 50-60 times a year; not to mention less premium, less visible properties. The sports calendar, both on a weekly and annual scale, only captures a small amount of the attention time of increasingly solicited fans.
That's where "peri-sports" content comes into play: sports content is not enough to feed audiences with increasingly varied affinities as a community of fans grows. Peri-sports content represents the content that upgrades the experience of an event or a competition:
- Interviews with players right after their victory
- Mini-series that allow you to see behind the scenes of a team or an athlete
- Game analyses from a football creator or a video of the latest basketball sneakers wore by NBA superstars
Why does it appeal to new audiences?
- A new narrative, not necessarily focused on sports, which allows to break down certain barriers such as the complexity of the rules, the lack of knowledge of teams or athletes, or the effort of entering a whole new universe. By vulgarising or adopting an original angle, Creators have the ability to reach different audiences.
- Authenticity: if sports content is judged by the credibility of the information, the best peri-sports content is appreciated for its spontaneity and the interactions it allows
- The format: short/mid-short, on-demand, recurring content, video... all great ingredients to engage young audiences online
The top: social content
Gen Z sports fans spend the majority of their sports consumption time on social platforms like YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Instagram or Tik Tok. And it only takes a few second watching the feed of a young fan's accounts to understand that the majority of their content comes from "non-official" sources.
The majority of content consumed on social networks is what we call "social content". Social content is content born and made for these platforms: memes, GIFs, video hijackings, short videos edited TikTok-style, tones, private jokes and narratives specific to these platforms, and even more recently NFTs issued by Creators. While traditional players generally have the control (and the image rights!) over sports and peri-sports content, social content gives Creators the power to engage with their communities in a much more powerful way
Thanks to social content, someone who knows nothing about cycling will be able to smoothly enter the sport via the parody account Chris Vroome on Twitter; a fashion fan will subscribe to NBA Fashion Fits and a soccer fan will be able to regularly follow women's soccer news via Cœurs de Foot.
These Creators have managed to build incredibly engaged communities around their personal brand, that fans find authentic, entertaining and accessible. This access to young audience is already being recognized and valued by the biggest leagues like the Major League of Baseball.