What attracts new fans to a sport? Is it the exhilaration, the skill, the sense of camaraderie? Given that most sports involve at least one of the above, you might wonder why some are so much more popular than others. The biggest sports in the world have legions of dedicated fans, and they seem to attract new devotees effortlessly.
The reality is, of course, that winning hearts and minds is no mean feat. A lot of careful strategy goes into attracting new fans, with many working behind the scenes to ensure a sport continues to gain momentum. Just consider those working tirelessly to get their sport a spot at the Olympic Games, for example.
The gold standard for exposure
With Tokyo 2020 on the horizon, sports fans across the globe will already be gearing up for next summer's thrilling victories, heartbreaks, and dramatic photo finishes. However, it is not just about winning medals. The Olympics will also be an opportunity for some newly added sports to grow their profile and win new fans on a global stage.
Accordingly, many federations work incredibly hard to try and secure a spot for their sport. Five sports will be introduced at Tokyo 2020, and all will likely see a spike in popularity as a result. One of the new sports is actually a returning favourite with a significant fanbase in some territories. Reflecting its popularity in the host country, baseball will be featured for the first time since 2008, with six teams expected to compete. Karate, which is also hugely popular in Japan, will make its Olympic debut. Advocates have been trying to bring Karate to the Olympics for many decades.
However, more niche sports will also enter the competition. Skateboarding will be present for the first time in Olympic history, with judges scoring on flow, timing, stability, and a rider’s ability to ‘create the sensation of being suspended in mid-air’. It is hoped this will create a vibrant, youthful atmosphere in Tokyo’s dynamic urban venue.
Similarly, surfing will feature, with the legendary Kelly Slater hoping to make an appearance despite being on the brink of retirement. Meanwhile, sport climbing – which includes speed climbing, bouldering and lead climbing – will also make its first appearance. Requiring great strength, flexibility and skill, climbing is rapidly moving from a niche interest to a sport with worldwide appeal – and the further exposure at the Olympics will only accelerate this process.
The tactics for growing a sport
All of these sports will likely see a boom in popularity, both in the approach to the Games and in the years following. Partially, this is due to increased funding and facilities. Success in the Games can also have a legacy effect: following the performance of Team GB’s cycling team in 2012, one survey showed over 70 percent of non-cyclists believed it would have a lasting positive effect on the sport.
Yet it is also a case of exposure. Sports that do not usually get much attention will suddenly be played on people’s screens almost every hour of the day. It is a major opportunity, and federations looking to grow their fanbases should make the most of this chance. However, this does mean it is vital to have a robust content strategy and management platform in place.
Winning fans starts with strategy
For broadcasters to access and share content, it has to be easily accessible. For example, during the Olympics, broadcasters will need access to huge amounts of content in very short time frames – so federations must be prepared to process, catalogue and share their footage at speed.
This doesn’t just apply to current content, either. As interest in a sport spikes, both fans and broadcasters looking to produce content packages will likely want access to historic footage highlighting key moments. It is not hard to imagine that many broadcasters will produce spots on the history of skateboarding, for example, charting the sport’s movement from indie subculture to Olympic event.
Fortunately, after the initial investment, the benefits of a content strategy – and indeed, a content management platform – will quickly accrue. Once you are in a position to use content footage to gain more exposure, the new fans you have won should quickly become advocates for your sport. In all likelihood, they will share more content as a result, continuing the loop of exposure.
Attract new fans, transform your sport
With the eyes of the world firmly upon them, these debut Olympic Events are sure to win the hearts and minds of many new fans. However, this is not just true of sports fortunate enough to get a spot at the Games. Content footage is a valuable asset and, used correctly, it can help even the smallest sports to attract new devotees all year round.
Ready to learn more about how the right content management platform can help you transform your sport’s profile? Download our eBook, 5 ways to transform your sport with intelligent video management to get started.