LEADERS WEEK 2023: Redefining the Connection Between Clubs and Fans

LEADERS WEEK 2023: Redefining the Connection Between Clubs and Fans

December 3, 2023

In a saturated sports and entertainment environment, maintaining the magical connection between fans and clubs is crucial to staying relevant. But forming this initial connection is only one piece of the puzzle.

LEADERS WEEK 2023: Redefining the Connection Between Clubs and Fans

December 3, 2023

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With digital media becoming an increasingly larger revenue driver, it’s imperative clubs use their content to authentically maintain this relationship and constantly engage fans. By tailoring content specifically to fans’ platforms, formats, and devices of choice, clubs can better manage these fan relationships, monetize their content, and ensure their messaging stays true among all owned and third-party platforms.

In a recent panel at the 2023 Leaders Week London conference, WSC Sports Head of Business at Development UK, Uri Yariv, was joined by Tottenham Hotspur’s Programming and Operations Director, Pierre-Olivier Bouché, and Head of Digital for Brighton & Hove Albion, Piers McDermott, to discuss how AI technology is strengthening the bond between sports clubs and their fan bases.

The session delved into the pivotal partnership between Tottenham Hotspur and WSC Sports, where Bouché highlighted the importance of creating content from its most recent matches, while also dipping into an over a century-old archive to help build out the club’s digital storytelling.

“For older fans or new fans, they need to understand the history of the club, where we’re coming from, who we are, and what our legacy is,” said Bouché.

Archives play a big part in telling your story, but how you access the archives is still complicated.”

Using the WSC Sports platform, the Spurs content team has been able to automatically index and tag the footage from their archives to quickly turn decades of gameplay footage into easily searchable and retrievable assets. Now, Spurs can provide old fans with a trip down memory lane, while introducing younger audiences to greatness from the club’s past.

But even amidst both teams’ current success, both executives firmly emphasized the need to perpetually evolve to meet fan expectations. To stay aligned with these ever-changing needs, McDermott reinforced the importance of calculated and consistent messaging.

“It goes back to that point of promoting tailored messages on tailored platforms at tailored times to ensure that we are in a better place in a few years time,” said McDermott.

If the results aren’t going well, we have the fundamentals in place, but it’s a bonus if the results are going well.”

“We have a lot of happy fans at the moment, but we know that in football, that’s not always the case.”

Yariv echoed this sentiment by touching on a significant shift in football dynamics, moving from volatile fan engagement to cultivating a club’s brand through a consistent narrative that engages fans beyond match days.

“You want to build a story,” he said. “If there’s a story and there are constant stories all the time [fans] will keep on following. And there’s a way to build around it and I think that’s reducing the volatility and creating a narrative that’s much more sustainable.”

A crucial piece of building these stories is adapting them to the fans’ cultural nuances and preferred languages. This is perfectly exemplified by Brighton’s foothold in Japan and Spurs’ monumental reach in Korea, thanks to star player Son Heung-min.

In the UK they want 90 seconds, but in Korea they want 10 minutes just of Son.”

This localization and personalization help clubs deliver content that local fans truly want to see while serving as a gateway to speak authentically to untapped global markets.

The ever-expanding role of AI technology and sports media is reshaping the relationship between clubs and fans, allowing a wide spectrum of fans to resonate with their club’s story beyond the confines of match day.

To explore further insights into this transformative approach, download our Club’s Playbook to witness firsthand how AI technology is reshaping the landscape of fan engagement.

You can also watch the full video of the discussion here.