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Why your sports content strategy will fail without content enrichment

There are multiple ways to connect with a sporting fanbase, via streaming sites and social media platforms. But without the right tools, you won’t be making the most of your video assets, leaving your defences wide open to media-savvy rivals.

By: Lydia Bird


We’re not just talking about the lower leagues here. Without enriching content with data to make it more discoverable, even top teams in the Premiership can struggle to maintain a cohesive and consistent sports content strategy. And, because of this, they might not fully reinforce the emotional bond between existing fans and the badge, or successfully extend the brand to new followers, capitalising on content-based revenue streams.

Today’s biggest sports are consumed across a wide range of media, including streaming sites like YouTube and the entire gamut of social media channels. For modern football, the figures are staggering. Number one in the social media stakes is Real Madrid, with 109 million followers on Instagram and 111 million on Facebook. Among Premiership teams, Manchester United lead the pack with 74 million Facebook followers and 54.5 million on Instagram, which last year was valued at £90 million. Its closest rivals are Chelsea, followed by Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal – all of which have similarly healthy followings.

Overall, the Premier League has the highest digital value of any sports league worldwide, with more than £528 million generated across social media platforms and YouTube during 2021. But other top sports are finding success on digital media. The Indian cricket team is the first non-football team on Sportszpoint’s ‘Most followed Sports teams on Instagram’ list with 24 million followers, followed by San Francisco NBA team Golden State Warriors (22.4 million) and the LA Lakers (19.4 million).


Sports content strategy

Premier League Case Study

Learn how Imagen helps Premier League manage and distribute their content


With such a wide-reaching digital presence, any sporting content inventory is clearly a valuable asset. But you need the right tools to manage, share and capitalise on it. As many sporting organisations have realised, the key to unlocking the value of their content is in having an effective digital asset management platform (DAM) in place. This should be an end-to-end solution, supporting the automatic ingest of content, cataloguing and centralised storage, enhanced search and retrieval, distribution, curation and long-term management.

Any publicity is good publicity

As well as live action and game highlights, sports fans are eager to gobble up any tidbits of information, such as interviews, behind-the-scenes clips, mini-documentaries that relive past glories, and so on. But this requires effort from the content team, especially if a lot of content is shot ad hoc and not stored and organised properly. Without good content management, it takes longer to get content in front of the fans, which in these days of instant gratification, can put you second best behind your competitors.


Get ahead of your competition

How sports brands manage social content on match day


With the right sporting content strategy in place and a modern DAM platform to help execute it, there’s a clear pathway to organising and monetising an archive. Having access to the material is just the start. After all, anyone can store video on a hard drive. The question you should be asking yourself is this: how do you go about searching through it? Or rather, what practical steps do you need to take today to make every important moment easy to find in the future?

The answer to that, is metadata. Imagine you have hundreds of hours’ worth of footage. It’s all well shot and time-coded, neatly stored in labelled, dated folders. A news outlet asks your long-suffering content manager for a clip of a goal from the local derby. Easy enough, they can simply scroll through the folders to find the right game. Ah, but hold on… It’s been shot using three cameras, with the footage split across multiple files bearing unhelpful alphanumeric titles. With a heavy sigh, the content manager must dutifully sit and fast-forward through nearly nine hours of footage to get the best shot. That’s an afternoon they’ll never get back.


LTO - cloud management

What is video management?

How can you improve your video management?


Across town, your competitor has been asked for a similar clip. However, their content has all been carefully tagged with rich metadata that highlights key events at specific times. Built around a self-serve web portal, news outlets or media partners can log onto the DAM interface and type in a few key search terms, filtering the results by date, player name and type of action. Relevant clips quickly appear, where they can be previewed, edited, and exported in whatever format the customer requires.

If there are integrations in your video asset management system that speed up the editing process, even better. Things like an extension for Adobe Premiere Pro enable users to search and import assets directly from their video asset management system – using low-res proxies for fast edits. By removing the need for heavy file downloads, this cloud-based workflow is ideal for sports organisations, where fast turnarounds are crucial.

Boost the discoverability of your content

Finding the content you need fast is made possible by adding metadata to your content, making clips easy to find, with very specific queries. Imagen Pro offers a variety of ways to attach metadata to content. This can be done manually – choose your own database fields and add descriptive, technical, geo-location and time-based metadata tags and annotations. Imagen’s Media Logger tool, for example, provides users with a grid of customisable keywords, emojis, chapters, phrases and participants to generate rich, searchable metadata fast.

Or metadata can be added automatically. Imagen Pro’s AI Services incorporate visual, audio, image and text analysis tools to add meaning to unstructured data. For video, AI-powered facial recognition can identify and highlight faces, track the movement of multiple objects in a video, and detect chapter breaks. While audio analysis can convert speech from audio to text in 12 languages. Imagen Pro can automate the generation of descriptive metadata tags, so content teams can find the precise video moments they need with a simple keyword search.

Find out more about Imagen’s metadata creation tools.

Those DAM statistics

Another aspect worth considering is that without an integrated DAM you’ll also miss out on built-in analytics support; those vital streams of data that can tell you which clips were downloaded and viewed the most, on which platforms, where and when… All the useful trends that can help further optimise a sporting content strategy.

A good DAM platform should be able to act as a comprehensive distribution system, catering for live streaming, catch-up viewing and sharing across social media platforms. In itself, this functionality is nothing new. But its integration with all the other elements of capture, storage and discovery means that you can quickly find the material you need, make edits, add watermarks and captions, and publish in a social media-optimised format – or to your own dedicated self-service platform.

On top of all this indispensable functionality, there is one final advantage that a good DAM system provides: security. It’s easy to set up permissions for staff and regular clients, so you know who has access to your libraries, and to provide limits on the amount that can be viewed. But there’s another benefit, too, as all your content is stored in the cloud. Your files – video, audio, documents, social media posts etc – can be accessed via a standard web browser, and by anyone with the necessary permissions.

Modern sport provides a wealth of content opportunities, and content management teams aren’t short of ideas. They’re just short of time. Implementing a solid sports content strategy needs to follow a number of key steps, including:

  • Know your goals
  • Decide how you will measure success
  • Understand the audience you want to reach (using personas)
  • Identify the best channels to reach that audience
  • Assemble your team
  • Configure your infrastructure and choose your DAM platform
  • Test and optimise your digital workflows
  • Create content for the target audience
  • Publish, distribute/share content on target channels
  • Monitor performance and adjust strategy

By overhauling workflows, and investing in the right DAM system to back it all up, you can be sure that all of your valuable footage is not only securely archived, but is easily accessible and can be swiftly deployed. You may not top the league this season, but your content management team will be on to a winner.


Imagen powers the video archives for leading sporting brands, including the Premier League and the International Tennis Federation. To find out more about Imagen Pro contact us to book a demo.

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