Expert Survey Highlights A "Cluttered" Fan Engagement Marketplace

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

The SportsTech Match team recently surveyed more than 40 professionals operating in the fan engagement sector to find out more about their challenges. The results of the survey suggest that the increasingly cluttered marketplace is confusing buyers (sports rights owners, agencies and brands) increasing the likelihood that they go for the "established players" rather than the "right" solution.

Highlights from the in-depth interviews:

Buyer-side (sports rights owners, agencies and brands)

  • The most important fan engagement goals for buyers are to grow their fanbase and to monetise their fanbase. Maintaining loyalty of existing fans came in a close third.

  • The majority of buyers invested in between one and six fan engagement tools over the last 12 months and half of those buying a fan engagement solution during this period invested over USD20,000!

  • Most buyers feel that staying informed of developments in the field of fan engagement is important or very important. Signing up to industry newsletters and following experts on LinkedIn were the two most common ways for buyers to stay informed.

  • In terms of their biggest pain points when searching for and/or assessing the best fan engagement tools and solutions, the most common complaint from buyers is the "abundance of choice", "too many players in the market" and "challenges to find the right solution" which as one respondent summed up can mean "reverting back to some of the established players" rather than finding the right solution.

Vendor-side (sellers of fan engagement solutions and services)

  • The most popular type of organisations being targeted by vendors are leagues / competitions, teams / clubs, federations / governing bodies and/or broadcasters / pay tv (all were mentioned by half of our respondents). Brands and OTT / social platforms were also a popular target for vendors.

  • Personal selling is by far the most common go to market activity with most vendors selecting this response. Other popular go to market activities included email / CRM and SEO / content marketing.

  • The biggest challenges cited by vendors in getting to the market and closing deals are "finding the decision maker" and "long lead times from introduction to closing a deal".

  • On the wish list of vendors in terms of connecting with potential buyers included: "the ability to be front and centre when potential clients are ready to engage", "to understand the budget available to potential clients" and "to access tools to segment potential buyers to offer solutions more tailored to their needs".

Respondent Profile:

  • 50% of respondents to the vendor side survey represented companies founded between 2016-2018 and over 70% had 50 or less employees. The companies are located largely in Europe and the US.

  • 50% of respondents to the buyer side survey represented sports teams with the majority of respondents also coming from Europe and the US.

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