Direct-To-Consumer Becoming More Important Part Of Fan Engagement
A panel of execs discussed how sports properties' use of direct-to-consumer platforms has changed over the years at Day 1 the Endeavor Streaming Sports Media & Technology conference. NASCAR Senior VP/Broadcasting & Innovation Brian Herbst said, "A fragmented selling approach may have worked in 2005 but it doesn’t in 2019. So we had to change that." He noted NASCAR ratings are up this year for first time in a while, and that NASCAR is "investing in key areas like esports and sports betting and direct-to-consumer." NFL Senior Dir of Subscriptions Business David Marlo, who leads the league's Game Pass efforts, said: "We’re getting a more holistic view of the user through data, across all platforms. Direct-to-consumer data is showing user behavior and better informing us on what types of content to make in future.”
OVER THE TOP: The execs agreed streaming platforms allow them to engage fans in new ways and with lower costs. FloSports co-Founder & CEO Mark Floreani said, "We’re working to drive down cost of content, creating podcasts, rankings, articles, docs to keep people engaged. … You can spend a lot of money creating great content, but sometimes it’s the behind-the-scenes content that engages your audience." Herbst noted NASCAR has to "get more creative" than other leagues because it does not have an out-of-market package like the NFL, or early round rights like the PGA Tour. He pointed to NASCAR's augmented reality partnership with Coca-Cola that helps fans experience Victory Lane. Marlo noted the NFL has a variety of digital channels to interact with fans. "The content on Instagram stories is markedly different than what’s on YouTube," he said. "We did something with TikTok; getting NFL awareness on different platforms is important. That’s not our content but people can engage with it there."