There is gold in all the short-form media captured on every game day. For decades, the focus was all about per caps and ticket sales, but now gameday content (or ‘matchday,’ depending on your continental preference) is the future of value for your league, team or club.
A thoughtful gameday content strategy increases the number and diversity of fans reached and engaged on digital AND broadcast platforms. A well-executed plan ensures every potentially transcendent viral moment is captured in photos and videos — and shared. But, even more, a sound strategy extends the life and amplifies the value of everything that happened in that moment – and remains in the digital ether long after the game ends.
As marketers for an sports organization, you can look to TV and entertainment marketers for guidance. They’ll tell you it’s up to you and your team to tell those stories, but its better if your partners seed those stories across social media. The cool sponsor activations that take place, the sights and sounds found inside and outside the stadium. The way every play is simultaneously an entertainment extravaganza and celebration of the fan community. If all of the ‘stuff’ that comprises matchday is the fire your organization works to build, a content strategy to capture and distribute it is the lighter fluid that can drive increasingly measurable value.
Let’s outline the framework to help develop that well-executed gameday digital media strategy.
Every organization will be a bit different and the plans may vary across sports and leagues. But there are key aspects to consider, in order to plan and execute the strategy:
- Plot out all the different potential content opportunity areas on an average match day
- Determine whether such content opportunities happen every match, which are predictable in time and location, and which may only occur once
- Account for every department in the organization and how to help deliver value to them
- Construct a plan to collect and mobilize all the content
Identify Gameday Content Opportunities
Close your eyes and take a mental walk around the venue during a match day. Start from the moment the day begins and the first members of the team or staff arrive. Continue on and consider how the team and staff prepare for the day. Then think about the gates officially opening, the pregame window, activity during the game, halftime, and when the game ends up until the time the last person leaves for the night. Nobody said this process would be quick and easy, but such comprehensive consideration will ensure that you uncover almost every opportunity.
The point is to try to envision all the areas you may want someone to capture, iPhone or DSLR in hand, and help preserve that moment for sharing. This is also the time to consider objectives, whether it’s marketing a matchday promotion, giving exposure to a partner activation, showcasing team personality, etc. This exercise will also aid in the next step of the framework.
Pinpoint Everyday Opportunities Versus Fleeting Matchday Moments
At this point, it should be clear that some content opportunities will be there every match (Of course, 8+ NFL home games is different from 81+ for MLB). That augmented reality activation from AT&T that lets fans take pictures alongside players will be there every game. But a banner raising ceremony to retire a team legend’s number will only happen once. And further still, you never know when an in-game promotion will produce something viral or a player will start shimmying on the sideline and fans and media would want to share that sight in droves — if it’s captured with a camera. The more ephemeral content opportunities should be prioritized game-to-game and planned in advance, where possible. But gameday content is about more than social media virality and engagement.
Create Value From Gameday Content for Every Department
Content is not solely the enterprise of the digital, marketing, and entertainment teams for a sports organization. Content can be systematically produced and shared to serve other areas of the team or league, too. Getting quality matchday content can benefit:
- Corporate Partnerships: Provide sponsors with photos and videos of their promotion in action or fans enjoying sponsored concourse activities. Or shoot and share photos or videos to boost exposure to partner signage in the venue.
- Community Relations: Staff can capture and share gameday events like donations or celebrations of organizations at halftime, and can amplify non-profit groups or individuals onsite that day. It’s even better when the community partners get their hands on this content, too.
- Group Sales: Whether it’s a group of youth league champions or a mass of employees from the team’s auto partner, there is tremendous value in capturing this content to share both in real time and in the future.
The list goes on to include: Premium Sales, Season Ticket Service, Media Relations, Media Partners, Fan Development, and so much more. The overarching goal is not to try and capture every exhaustive sight and sound worth getting on game day. It’s to build a plan that gets the most out of match days within the resources, time, and technology available.
Operations Planning for Successful Gameday Content
After analyzing the what and why, the last piece is to construct that gameday plan, plotting out the ‘how.’
An important place to start is location scouting. Where should staff be located or roaming at any given time on a game day? Where will the predictable content opportunities take place? Which member of the staff will be on call to run over and capture some less predictable content or complete a specific content request? And how do anticipated streams of media like those from Getty Images fit in?
Beyond scouting locations, trafficking and organizing all that real-time content from perhaps a dozen separate sources or more can be a daunting challenge. Each content creator needs a place to submit their photos and videos where they can be accessed by the digital media team and other departments. The thousands of photos and videos must be organized in some way, too, otherwise it will be nearly impossible to find anything.
The biggest sports organizations in the world solve these problems with Greenfly, which ingests and hosts all of the content, organizes it, and routes it for immediate use. The league, teams, media partners, players, and other parties get their hands on that content gold with ease. Greenfly provides the technological plumbing for many of the massive content correspondent programs permeating pro sports all over. The platform is a key ingredient to maximize success with gameday content strategy, helping organizations turn gameday content workflows from a fragmented, piecemeal operation to a well-oiled machine. The best organizations are taking a closer look at matchday content strategy, because there remains more value yet to be uncovered.