Sporting venues, clubs and training facilities have all been instructed to close by the government. These are unprecedented times. With competitions on pause and training facilities in lockdown, what can sporting organisations do for athletes, participants and the recreational fitness community? There's never been a greater motivation or necessity for sports to innovate with digital assets if they want to stay connected and engaged with their fans and participants.
It could be considered the greatest digital transformation of our lifetime and we have lived through some pretty major ones already. Temporarily, elite sports were played to empty stadiums, and now restrictions force full shutdown to operations. At a recreational and junior level, the social distancing rule prevented many sports being played.
So now with no games to watch, no games to play and training facilities closed, how does society stay connected to sports and importantly sports stay connected to their community?
Well the answer in the short to medium term is bound to be through digital means. Easily scaleable. Perfect for isolation and lockdown scenarios like this one.
Amidst all the restrictions, cancellations and postponements, there also lies the greatest opportunity. When you start to focus on what you can do with fans, participants and elite athletes of your sport, chances are you could be doing it better, smarter and on a larger scale.
Now you have a captive audience.
Few sports and sporting organisations have commercialised skills training and development. A product that teaches skill development with video explanation and game training.
In basketball the NBA has created the HomeCourt app and due to the COVID-19 outbreak they have made access FREE until April 30.
In the NBA's app the message says:
"To help communities stay in the game, we are unlocking all HomeCourt features through to April 30. We will also be giving coaches, PE teachers, trainers and teams access to programming and instructional materials that they can use to provide their players with remote physical education guidance. We hope everyone stays healthy and that our tools help you, your kids and all your players stay in the game. #stayinthegame
Swimming Australia proactively produced a FREE app, iSwim, which includes a skills sections that demonstrates various drills through video and within the training plans you can find dryland workouts that can be done at home.
Both feature video content that teaches, demonstrates and provides drills to improve your skills which not only still engages with your community, but it helps keep them active. They also have great content to keep your fans connected with inspiring content from the elite athletes.
There is so much other sports can learn from these two examples. Take the focus off the cancelations and postponements and look to what services you can provide your community.
Now is the time to innovate.
Here's some other ideas of what sports can do while 'tools are down'.
Get you know your customer better - what do they want? what problems do they need solved? Conduct a survey to find out and uncover the opportunities.
Upgrade your digital shopfront - if you have merchandise, digital products, memberships or subscriptions, time to ensure they are best-practice, integrated with your CRM, automation set up so it is scaleable they are set up to track behaviour both on your website and social platforms.
Prepare informative content for your customer segments - training videos, skill development, 'how to'. You have a very captive audience, hungry for content. You might have shot a lot of this already and just need to edit and package it up.
Audit your website - use a tool to scan for broken links, upgrade old content, improve your user experience. Time for some house-keeping.
Review your video platform - there are new platforms that allow you to 'own your content' with VOD, 24-hour channels, livestream and paid subscription models for easy commercialisation and amplification through your fans and participants. If you are still using Vimeo, YouTube or even Brightcove, time to step-it-up and become the Netflix of sport with EpicentreTV.
"Every storm runs out out rain. Those who use the storm wisely will not just bounce back, they will thrive."
If you or your business need support of your digital strategy, content strategy or moving to more sophisticated platforms, contact Fruitful Group for a free consultation.