Sports have always been a major part of our society. In the United States, sports are everything — It’s what brings us together; where we form lifelong friendships; and create memories that’ll last a lifetime. That said, in today’s society, the love, the passion, the obsession with sports has been taken to a completely unprecedented level with fantasy sites, most of which we can attribute to technology.
Due to this advancement in technology, marketers have taken advantage of America’s obsession with two things: sports and technology. For example, Fan Duel was introduced in 2009 and has since taken the nation (minus Arizona, Iowa, New York and a handful of others) by storm. Why? Because it combines our love with sports with our unrelenting need for instant gratification. The unique spin on fantasy sports, which allows participants to take part in daily games, and thus get paid every day.
Day in and day out, fantasy hopefuls from all over keep their eyes glued to their mobile devices and consequently a myriad of advertisements — often intrusive advertisements. That said, representatives from FanDuel have said that their digital spending corresponds to a seasonal schedule, i.e., ads increase during the football season and decrease after that. That said, regardless of the decrease, why does digital marketing (like on cell phones) become too much? Shouldn’t the “annoyance” factor come into play? Aren’t the user’s needs considered? Well, when it’s about money, the answer’s usually no.
In addition to individual applications, social media, in general, has allowed anything to do with sports, the ability to reach their target audiences in a relatively quick and efficient way. For example, it’s allowed the MLB’s St. Louis Cardinals to launch “Win it Wednesday,” which gives fans the opportunity to win unique prizes throughout the season. Social media also allows fans to connect with their favorite players, which was not possible a few years ago. Fans are no longer secluded to just being able to watch their favorite players on television – they can now follow them and see what is going on in their day-to-day life. The interaction between the two has created a bond and makes the fan that much more loyal.
Looking off the beaten path, the digital age has allowed athletes themselves the opportunity to interact with their fans, and thus create a persona of who they really are since us commoners rarely get to interact with and truly get to know the “real” athlete, the real Derek Jeter or Kobe Bryant. Take Jeremy Guthrie, a pitcher for MLB’s Kansas City Royals, took to Twitter looking for a partner to play catch with; to no surprise, he found one. I guess the point I’m trying to make would be that social media allows athletes, celebrities, and famous people, in general, an unforeseen opportunity to show the world who they are, good or bad. And when it comes down to it, they’re promoting themselves, whether they know it or not.
As you can see, the ever-changing digital landscape has given marketers in sports, including the athletes, an opportunity that many are taking advantage of. As technology continues to advance, and fans become more and more linked, our (and their) reliance on digital marketing means will become pivotal to success.