How the NLL Is Building Relationships with Young Audiences and Fans of Other Sports

NLL Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz’s Engage by Hashtag Sports Q&A covers the league’s content strategy, empowering lacrosse players with content, and Greenfly.

Engage by Hashtag sports copy on arena NLL field photo background.

The National Lacrosse League (NLL) is the largest professional lacrosse league in the world. The league is driving growth and success with a digital-first strategy, and by putting athletes in position to help grow its “34-year-old startup” brand with fans.

The NLL’s Commissioner Nick Sakiewicz recently sat down for an extensive Q&A with Engage by Hashtag Sports to discuss the league’s content strategy, empowering lacrosse players with content, and more. Here are a few excerpts from that interview with Sakiewicz:

Best-engaging content for younger audiences

Sakiewicz: “Player content—especially behind-the-scenes stories of the players. That is really what drove our partnership with Greenfly—to make it easier for our players to be able to communicate directly with the fans. We’ve seen this across all sports leagues over the last three to five years, where the athletes are really becoming brands in and of themselves. The big distinguishing factor is that the athletes are communicating directly with the fan base now, as a brand on their own, and that’s why the partnership with Greenfly was so important.

The suggestion came out of an NLL players business conference in which we got a lot of great feedback from some of our more active players on social, and that landed us with Greenfly. So that’s a big difference today than say the traditional sports marketing we did a decade ago, for example, where players were just players and it was even maybe considered a little taboo in a locker room to engage with fans directly. But you see it now in virtually every sport.”

How NLL activates players to share content with fans

Sakiewicz: “So the Greenfly platform is super easy to use and very quick-to-market. I am a former professional soccer player, so I know the rigors of travel and training, setting aside enough time for rest, and getting enough sleep and nutrition and all of that. Greenfly’s ability to cut highlights and deliver pre-packaged content for the player, and for that player to be able to access that content and send it out on his or her social media platforms or channels, makes it really efficient for the individual athlete to be able to communicate regularly and put out the very best content of the either themselves or their teammates. They can access a clip of themselves very quickly and put it out on social, they can access a clip of a teammate, or they can create their own piece of content at home or in the locker room. So it’s a hyper-efficient platform that allows the athlete to get the very best content that he or she wants to put out there on their own.”

The league’s approach to using technology

Sakiewicz: “The advent of the digital age has really helped leagues like ours where we don’t have endless amounts of marketing resources or advertising resources to spend on traditional advertising. We call our marketing, communications and advertising approach “digital first,” and this strategy makes it really efficient and quick to go to market and speak to a wide range of consumers to buy tickets, to buy merchandise, to engage with our league, and to view our content. Even if it’s not selling them something or engaging in a customer relationship, we can provide really compelling content and tell stories using those digital platforms.”

How does Greenfly help the league fast-track content to social?

Sakiewicz: “That linkage and that platform allows us to not just put out large quantities of content, because it’s not always about the quantity of content, but to put out the highest quality content. So what the Greenfly platform allows us to do with that interface is it gives us the ability to very quickly look at all the content that’s been generated from the games (or any other league moments) and pick the very best content quickly and put it out on a platform. Sometimes within hours of the play happening or the piece of content being developed, we’re able to deliver it to the fan to engage very quickly. Usually by the time a fan gets home from the game, he or she’s got a piece of content from a player, from the league or from his [or her’s] hometown team appearing on one of our social platforms. It’s all about the speed of being able to identify and curate the very best content, and we all know that the very best content gets the most engagement from fans.”

Read the full article online at Engage by Hashtag Sports