What makes a great piece of digital content and how can sports organisations maximise the
commercial opportunities that they can provide?
Rob Gevertz from First Five Yards shares his top 10 digital executions and shines a light on where there may be opportunities to help your own offering from an engagement and a commercial point of view.
1) Arsenal Bench Cam
What is is:
5-10 minute YouTube video focussing solely on manager Mikel Arteta within his technical
area during a match. The main feed is supplemented with a picture in picture view of the
match to give context to his reactions. Smaller edits of the video were also used as traffic
drivers from Instagram and Twitter.
Why I love it:
This piece showcases one of the main advantages of team owned content; giving access to
their fans that they can’t get anywhere else. This video highlights the manager’s pre-game
superstitions, his excited hug of the set piece coach when the rehearsed corner kick routine
brings a goal and the passionate physicality of his coaching style throughout the entire 90
2) Liverpool Showreel
What is it:
Individual YouTube edit of match highlights focussing on the play of one specific player (in
this case Harvey Elliot). Also of note that this piece is sponsored by club partner Quorn.
Why I love it:
This is a great way to sweat the asset of match highlights by creating additional content that
can help drive both engagement and additional commercial value across social and cub
owned channels. Clubs have an ability to use their match footage in a variety of ways that
isn’t just one singular piece of content.
3) Miami Dolphins Camp Cam
What is is: A single camera is setup with a whiteboard detailing a question of the day (normally asking players to comment on the traits of certain teammates). The results provide a fun and candid snapshot of the locker room and some of its standout characters.
Why I love it: More than anything, its simplicity is what makes this format work. It requires no real production prep and the players are only required to provide 5 seconds of their time as they’re walking to or from the practice field. Fans continue to want more and more access to their favourite teams and this type of format gives them a feel for the type of banter that fills the locker room every day.
4) Inside City
What is is: Weekly roundup of behind the scenes content, featuring exclusive access covering training, matchday and candid backstage behaviour.
Why I love it: Firstly this is a great way to maximise the value of your content by bundling together a variety of smaller formats/pieces into one hero strand. However, the main reason I love this is the commitment to the bit. This weekly content piece has been running for 406 straight weeks, which helps build an audience, drive engagement and ultimately deliver value for a partner (this example is sponsored by Nissan).
5) Arsenal Opinion – On the Whistle
What is is: YouTube live stream of Arsenal creators that goes live just after the final whistle. The content features some new added tech that enhances the viewing experience and interactivity by integrating social chatter that helps drive the conversation. The video is later re-purposed as a podcast and clipped for other social content.
Why I love it: This type of content is symptomatic of the opportunity modern technology provides. For the older generations, if you went to a sporting event at its conclusion you would have to sprint back to your car, turn on Sports Report on the radio and hope you hadn’t missed the 90 seconds of analysis of the event you’d just witnessed. Nowadays, the ability to engage with likeminded people on demand in an increasingly high quality audio visual experience is a real opportunity for sports organisations and brands alike. Whether it be Youtube, Facebook Live, Instagram Live or Twitch from a video stand point or even the emerging live audio propositions of Twitter Spaces or Spotify Live, there are more ways than ever for people to share their experiences of matchday in real time.
6) The Ringer Hottest Take – Short Form Podcast
What is is: The Ringer (sports and pop culture business founder by ex ESPN writer/podcaster Bill Simmons) have just launched the second season of short form podcasts that can exclusively be found on their parent company platform Spotify. The aim of the podcasts is to have a quick roundtable discussion on one singular theme/topic for 7-10 minutes.
Why I love it: New type of audio format that fits into both the daily commute as well as being snackable as part of a social media doomscroll. Poses the questions of why more sports organisations aren’t playing around with short form audio? How about a weekend wrap-up that includes the best bits from your press conferences, match commentary and post game interviews? It’s all content that already exists that can be monetised in a variety of ways....
7) Moment of Truth – BBC Sounds Podcast Series
What is is: Behind the scenes audio documentary that follows two football managers battling for promotion from EFL League 1. The unprecedented access (which incorporated the managers wearing microphones constantly for 3 months) gives a deeper level of insight into the role of the football manager and the anxiety driving decisions they need to make on a daily basis.
Why I love it: This format really brings to life the value of audio from a production point of view. The requirements on the participants were a lot lower than those from a camera crew so it enabled a much deeper level of access and insight. Additionally, it would stand to reason that it would be considerably cheaper to produce the audio content than the equivalent video docuseries.
8) Pat McAfee Fan Duel Game
What is is: Former NFL punter Pat McAfee is one of the rising stars of US sports media, combining his commentary role at WWE with his daily YouTube/podcast show. The growth of his content business led to him signing a reported 3yr $30m p/a deal with FanDuel due to the value of his audience and their growing affinity with gambling. As part of that agreement the two parties have collaborated to create the Pat McAfee Filed Goal Face Off, a skill based game where players can compete to win money and prizes withint the FanDuel platform.
Why I love it: It really demonstrates how you can maximise the commercial opportunities from a digital platform. McAfee has a loyal audience of young sports fans, the exact audience FanDuel is trying to reach in an authentic way. Gambling and data has formed a major part of the show’s content from its inception and they have regularly had contributions from FanDuel employees that feel much more like they provide editorial value rather than being paid for advertorials. As a result of their collaboration on developing the game, McAfee organically integrated the product into his live show, his podcast and specific social media content. All of this content is aimed at driving existing and potential new customer back into the FanDuel ecosystem.
9) Peter Crouch Podcast x Brewdog – Laout brand integration
What is is: Following the success of his stint at the BBC, the newly relaunched Peter Crouch podcast secured a brand partnership with Brewdog upon its move to Acast. One running theme during the podcast had been Crouch’s love for his favourite drink, a mix of lager and stout. Step in sponsor Brewdog, who created their perfect version of the drink and took it to market.,
Why I love it: This again is a great example of taking a brand integration from the digital content out into the real world for fans to engage with it. The engagement went a stage further, with listeners/viewers being asked to contribute to the name of the drink and the design of the can, all of which created organic talking points during the show and in turn driving support for the product once it went on sale.
10) Dallas Cowboys – Huddle Up with the Pros
What it is: AR photo booth, allowing fans in stadium to create a picture with their favourite players to celebrate their matchday experience.
Why I love it: Even though this execution is 2 years old, this is still the best use I’ve seen of AR or VR technology in a fan experience so far. It has a simple user experience but yet provides a high quality result. It also provides an easy ability to collect first party data and share the experience across social channels. Alongside this, it is a great way to bring the commercial partner’s brand to life, showcasing the advanced technology and ease of use that AT&T can provide its customers.
Formerly of Sky Sports, Talksport and City Football Group (Manchester City FC), Rob Gevertz is the founder of First Five Yards, a consultancy helping rights holders to maximise revenue opportunities from their digital platforms.