Strategic distribution is enabling sports content providers to dissect and understand their fans to a degree previously unimaginable. It's also helping them think in much bigger terms about the market reach of their sport and potential for increased advertising and sponsorship revenues.
For example, one professional league had strong, grassroots local market penetration, but lacked both a thorough understanding of its fan base and an ability to gauge potential for growth that would attract premium national and international brand attention. Besides bums in seats, benchmarks were few. When the league began distributing video highlights, it proved to be a game-changer. Following video highlight distribution, broadcast impressions went from 0 to more than 56 million, a whopping 850% yearly increase in exposure. That's a video metric that matters and one that the league can take to the bank.
Sophisticated metrics reveal much more about viewership than counting eyeballs; a treasure of data can be mined for surprising nuances about sports fan behavior. For example, quick turnaround of highlights is proving more effective for league teams than producing HD-quality content with slow motion and other effects. In one case, a team that failed to make the post season received 558% more impressions than a play-off caliber competitor. The difference was in the average highlight turnaround time: 58 minutes, or 59% faster than the higher performing team. The conclusion: Timeliness trumps production quality when it comes to highlight impressions.
Here's another example. By uploading period-by-period highlights, teams can distribute content on prime-time evening news slots between 5:00 pm and 6:30 p.m. even while play is underway. For one team, this resulted in 190,000 views for the combined evening newscasts, 62% more than the late night and early morning newscast views. The lesson: Sports fans want highlights fresh, even though the referee may not have blown the final whistle.
Sports are already considered brand-safe, but when leagues drill deep into viewership data, value grows. On the macro level, the league is able to think well beyond its traditional grassroots base. That's why short-form video is like an overlooked gold vein for sports leagues and organizations; mine it and they'll start leveraging the full value of their brand.