“Obsess over customers, invent on behalf of them and think long term”.

These are the three main pillars behind the success of Amazon’s fan-centric strategy, according to their current executive chairman, Jeff Bezos.

In their journey into entertainment, sports rights holders are moving towards a new model of sponsorship, leveraging data to build anticipated, personal and relevant communication across different audiences.

A new landscape where the true Champions trophy is proving how a property fanbase can perfectly match potential sponsors’ desired market segments. Not only at a demographic level, but particularly within a specific worldview.

This approach will not only help closing deals as companies digital advertising budgets tend to be bigger than sponsorship, but because only 9% of sports sponsorship is digital. “The single biggest revenue opportunity in sports right now”, according to Horizm, a technology platform estimating at more than $1.3 billion the total worth of online assets of world’s top leagues.

If leads come from engagement, revenue comes from value.

LaLiga’s Fan Journey

Data-driven strategies are converting clubs into digital marketing agencies. LaLiga’s global fan engagement approach is ultimately benefiting clubs, broadcasters, sponsors and fans. Interaction and retention, over and over.

“We make big data simple. We analyse data in a structured way that helps us to generate user information that can be used to build awareness, engagement and conversion. What we offer clubs is almost a plug-and-play functionality”, explains LaLiga Head of Consumer Strategy Olivia Archanco.

From known and unknown user data from different sources, customer intelligence and analytics are applied to develop a Single Customer View with the support of Microsoft. Once a 360º view from fans is built, identified audiences are activated differently through Cloud Marketing with Salesforce’s Data lake.

LaLiga’s mission, modulating the message to lead fans moving upwards in the pyramid of guests, prospects, registered users and clients, depending on the level of information. LaLiga Fantasy or eLaLiga Santander are designed for young audiences, demanding more participative experiences.

UEFA & Booking.com

The book Winning With Data, written by Fiona Green, shows how UEFA use of data became essential in attracting a multi-million euro sponsorship with Booking.com. One of the objectives was selling hotel rooms for the 4 million available tickets for the UEFA Euro 2020.

In 2017, Booking.com became the Official Accommodation and Attractions Booking Partner from 2018 to 2022. According to the book, at that time UEFA could identify the gender 70% of its fanbase, the age of 73%, the country of residence of 82% and the preferred language of 50%. Their next goal was identifying favourite clubs, national teams and nationalities.

On the other hand, Booking.com owns a very rich database from websites and mobile apps covering 120,000 destinations in 228 countries. Even though not every traveller is a football fan and not every football fan is a traveller, UEFA had the opportunity to leverage football’s most valuable asset, passion.

The sponsorship created the valuable chance for Booking.com to provide relevant and personalised travel information to fans who have bought tickets for UEFA matches. The more data to UEFA’s centralised database, the more value fans could receive from partners such as Booking.com. From accommodation recommendations to retargeting programmes.

As soon as possible

The remaining sport properties to adopt this business approach will not be the first, and they certainly should not want to be the last. Back in 2013, it was published how CRM data was vital to secure the £150 million Arsenal deal with Emirates.

In this direction, UEFA is already leveraging commercial partnerships with digital players such as Alipay, TikTok and Just Eat, at the same time the governing body is launching regional sponsorship packages in China and United States.

Talking one-on-one requires data and technology, the new engine for sports sponsorships to succeed at the intersection of entertainment and digital, precisely where most of brands want to stay relevant.

Becoming a digital marketing agency, why not?

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