Getting sports fans engaged

Brandweek interviews David Katz head of Yahoo! Sports and Yahoo! Studios, who discusses the importance of sports fans, particularly fantasy football players, to Yahoo! Sports, the most profitable sector of Yahoo!:

BW: What is the attraction for marketers looking to reach that audience?

DK: Since the beginning of sports on TV, there have been armchair quarterbacks who feel they know what to do better than the coach or general manager. But they had to wait for the newspaper, write down stats, recalculate info. It wasn’t efficient. The Internet changed that. The growth has been tremendous, and there’s still a lot of room for growth. The beauty for advertisers is that the fantasy audience is by far the most engaged audience on the Internet. And the NFL is the most important sport for online sites.

Meanwhile, over at the Sports Marketing blog, Pat Coyle notes that they have so many more lurkers than posters on sports fans forums and connects it to fans’ inclination to fan-watch:

We did a survey last season and asked our season ticket holders what they like to do before the games. A large percentage to out to eat, or tailgate; and many like to watch the players warm up, but by far the most popular thing to do before games is PEOPLE WATCH. Fans go to games to watch other fans in addition to watching players. That strikes me as oddly interesting. I can see living vicariously through the players, but I wonder why this fascination with watching other people?


Maybe I’m crazy. But at the very least, I believe we need to find more ways to get people to engage so that we can better understand who they are and what makes them tick. Knowing more about our fans will help us keep them as customers (consumers of our content) and help us develop better opportunities for our sponsors. We need to engage with our fans (and they with us) so that we can represent their QUALITY as much their QUANTITY to our sponsors. Currently, all I can tell a sponsor is the number of eyeballs viewing our screens.

It’s a long known fact that most people who read net forums won’t ever post, and most of those who do, will only do so once or twice while a tiny minority will dominate the discussion (something I wrote about way back in the early 90s and which has been found over and over again in many other studies). Connecting the dots, maybe one way to get more sports fans participating is to give them a way to play instead of just talk. But even so, I think ultimately we all have to just accept that we’re always going to have a lot more lurkers than posters.

Comments are closed.