Long gone are the days when there were only one or two games on television a week for an entire league’s slate (thank goodness). Each and every sporting event, no matter how big or small, is now available to watch somewhere—I see you, guy or gal who Google searches to find that precious and perhaps non-governmental approved link for your team’s blacked-out game. Of course, many of these games are available on cable or satellite television like they’ve always been, but more athletes (many of them from non-stick-and-ball sports) are now getting their chance to shine via non-traditional outlets.
The introduction of over-the-top services by some of the newest publishers and broadcasters in the media world are allowing fans to take in the games that are most relevant to them as individuals. Case-in-point: I wanted to watch my high school alma mater take on a crosstown rival last week while being thousands of miles away from my hometown. But there I was on my phone, seated semi-comfortably in an aisle seat on my flight, tuning in to watch the Patriots take down the Tigers after coughing up the $8 for wireless and grabbing the link to the broadcast from my high school’s Facebook post.
When I was growing up, I was able to find out what games were going to be on TV (and, shocker, the radio) that evening and week by picking up a copy of the local newspaper, but these pubs would run out of ink if they still were devoting space to sections listing out what events and matches were going to be streamed on Twitch, Facebook, Amazon Prime Video, Twitter, your various mobile apps and each of the traditional networks on cable each day.
Many sports teams and leagues do a good job of letting fans know about an upcoming broadcast on their owned channels. Visit the team’s website or any one of its social channels, and it’s likely you’ll be able to find the info for where you can take in their next game. And that’s awesome. But I’m here to say that many sports properties are going a step further and getting their loudest and most influential voices to share that same information as well. Let’s check out the playbook for how advertisers, teams and leagues can promote the more non-traditional viewing of their upcoming sporting events.
More reach from more channels.
Get your most influential PEOPLE involved. As we’re keen on saying around here, it’s the faces in your feed that slow your scroll. So, if the women’s basketball team has an upcoming game that’s going to be broadcast by Stadium College Basketball on Facebook, get each member of the team to share info on the stream on their individual social channels. Ask the coaching staff to join in. The athletic trainers and the athletic department staff. Who’s going to be calling the game? Make sure the play-by-player person and the color analyst are joining in on the fun. Each of these people has an audience of fans on social media that truly cares about what’s going on with that individual and they are probably the most likely fans to tune in. Of course, there’s going to be overlap in followers from account to account—who cares? You don’t create a television commercial to air one time on one channel, so why worry about the same person seeing the same message more than once?
U.S. Figure Skating / NBC Sports Gold
PRO TIP: IF YOU’RE PROMOTING A FUTURE CONTEST, MAKE SURE TO SHARE THE APPROPRIATE TIME ZONE ALONG WITH THE GAME TIME. REMEMBER THAT FANS OF THESE ATHLETES MAY BE SCATTERED ACROSS THE COUNTRY OR THE WORLD, SO INCLUDING THOSE TWO LETTERS FOLLOWING THE GAME TIME CAN BE CRUCIAL. YOU KNOW HOW FRUSTRATING IT IS TO TUNE INTO A GAME LATE.
Make it easy.
Don’t make the mistake of assuming your fans know where to find the game, even if you tell them. Remove one of the steps they need to take in order to tune in: make sure to give them a link to the action, whether it’s to download or log into the app where the event will be broadcast, or the link to the game stream itself.
Out of the Park / Lance McCullers, Jr. / OOTP Feature Podcast
Join me tonight at 8 PM ET as I preview the new #PerfectTeam mode in @OOTPBaseball. I’ll be on the live stream with @richgrisham and @SnaggleJ and they told me we’ve got a few surprises planned. See you all tonight! #ad https://t.co/XKB8Mz3NyJ— Lance McCullers Jr. (@lmccullers43) December 17, 2018
BTN / Jason Tran / League of Legends Championship Twitch Stream
PRO TIP: IT DOES NOT HURT TO BE IN-THE-MOMENT WITH THESE LINKS. A TIMELY POST (WHEN A FAN OR POTENTIAL VIEWER IS IN SEARCH MODE FOR VIEWING INFO) MAY BE JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR PRESCRIBED. YOU KNOW, THE TWEET DOCTOR.
Give them all the info.
If the fans are going to have to make a purchase to view the event or have to get an app before the game starts, go ahead and let them know at the outset. From experience, I can tell you that there’s no bigger letdown than clicking that link, expecting to see the broadcast immediately and then being asked to put in my credit card information and billing address while I’m missing the action.
PRO TIP: THE FAN HAS TO TAKE AN ACTION? USE WORDS THAT ARE SYNONYMOUS WITH THAT DESIRE: “DOWNLOAD,” “CLICK TO PURCHASE,” AND “SUBSCRIBE” COULD NOT BE CLEARER.
BTN / Jordan Burroughs / BTN2Go
Getting the message out about your next event, game, or broadcast is as easy as asking your athletes to post on social. Athletes and coaching staff can get fans near and far engaged with your next game day.
Want to learn more about how athletes can drive fans to tune in? Get a free copy the Ultimate Playbook for Enhancing Attention To Events and Causes.