The sports world has been in a constant state of change over the last two years, as COVID shut-downs, supply-chain disruptions, and rising political advocacy have forced massive evolution across the industry.
And as with just about every line of business, the pandemic has fast-forwarded a host of digital evolutions that have dramatically impacted consumers, manufacturers, and marketers alike.
Here is a look at some of the top new digital trends that are on the minds of sports brands in 2022:
Deloitte predicted in December of 2021 that NFTs for sports media will generate more than $2 billion in revenue in 2022, twice the amount from last year. Those are staggering numbers.
Investors might not see the same crazy gains they saw in the early days, but there is still value from a collectible, brand-building component – and sports is perfectly set up to benefit.
So what are non-fungible tokens? NFTs are unique, one-of-a-kind digital assets; think of them as pieces of fine art, but available on the blockchain as opposed to a framed canvas in a museum.
Limited edition video clips, player trading cards, and digital art are examples of possible sports NFTs. Tickets are another option, and those coughing up big dollars to attend this year’s Super Bowl will be receiving a collectible NFT with each ticket, allowing them to digitally commemorate their attendance.
NFTs aren’t guaranteed hits, but when used in rare, elite occurrences, they can expand your audience, enhance the consumer experience, add personality to your brand, and spotlight important moments.
This is far from a new channel, but it became mainstream last year and it’s quickly become a must-have for sports brands in 2022.
The key to success on TikTok is understanding the platform. It’s unique and quirky, and you can’t just expect to repurpose content from other platforms. This is truly a channel that dictates what you create.
It’s also important to follow the trends. Things get red-hot on TikTok and flame out in a week or two, so you need to be a regular consumer of content on the channel to get a feel for what works and how users react to viral hits.
Your brand can have a ton of fun by hooking on with the TikTok hit of the moment. Make sure to use these opportunities to show off your people and your personality, and post consistently – at least a few times a week – so you’re building up some equity on the channel and learning about the preferences of your audience.
Short-Form Digital Content
Athletes hold so much power today with their ability to speak directly to their audiences through social media. So whether you’re a brand, team, or athlete, you need someone focused on churning out quality content for social media – a multimedia photo editor/video animator or an agency that can help turn assets into content.
It’s also important to make sure it’s available on the latest platforms (and catered to each), because your audience’s consumption habits are now dictating where content needs to be published. You can’t expect your audience to come to you; you need to put your content in front of your targets where they’re already spending time.
Athletes’ personalities on social media are almost as important as their performance on the field today when it comes to endorsements and career opportunities. But as with any content, there still needs to be a purpose. So make sure your efforts center on a sound content strategy and established brand personality.
It feels like 2022 might be to Roblox what 2021 was to TikTok – rocket fuel. At least right now, it’s where kids are spending a TON of time, and it’s quickly becoming a mainstream platform.
Roblox started as a platform where you could go to play and create online games. And while that gaming component remains, brands are looking to Roblox to host virtual events and concerts and build online meeting spaces for their communities. Especially with in-person events still uncertain due to the pandemic, think of Roblox as an alternative platform for bringing people together.
Yes, the metaverse is something you need to be paying attention to. And as with every new digital trend, early adopters can really benefit before the masses jump on board. But you need to be smart about how you invest your time and resources as you analyze whether this platform is right for your brand.
Yet another digital trend that isn’t new but that has become mainstream, eSports are providing an invaluable opportunity for brands to reach younger audiences. And this is another area where understanding the arenas and audiences is so important. Just putting a logo on an athlete isn’t going to do much with these savvy consumers. You’ll benefit from strategizing really unique, authentic activation partnerships that make sense for both parties. And because eSports don’t have the history and regulations of the big professional leagues, brands and athletes have more room to pitch creative ways to work together.
Gamers also provide another avenue to get into platforms like Roblox and Twitch so you can test ROI and learn about audience tendencies. Digital platforms have taken over eSports the last few years, but in-person events have always been a huge part of this world – and there might not be a sports opportunity that better brings together digital and physical spaces.
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