Why are people craving for sports content?

4 minutes read


Among the numerous sectors affected by the COVID 19, professional sports was no exception. However, the tv stations whose daily job is to broadcast sports content remained open but without anything to share. Some of them were able to find a way to thrive despite the unexpected situation and we should all learn from them. To anyone who wonders: “why is sports content so important at the moment? How did the audience react to the content blackout? How can the traditional channels adapt to the situation? “

Caught off-guard

Spring is always a very interesting period of the year for sports content especially for montrealers when the Habs are in the Stanley Cups playoffs. This year was going to be particularly interesting with the upcoming summer Olympics and all the content related to the new sports to be included. Instead of that was radio silence starting mid-mars and no one was ready for that.

An analogy that would help us grasp the size of inconvenient for the broadcaster is if we think of grocery store that has to stays open but the delivery trucks never come with new products. One gets fed up quite fast with on canned food. Anyways people are all making the own bread now and that is one more way that this analogy relates to sports content. What if groceries would start selling the bread people make at home. That could be the brilliant answer to the content blackout.

The solution and the paradox

After covering the interruption of the regular schedule, a topic rapidly emptied, sports media started to ask themselves a lot of questions about the content the public would like to see. We recently published a post about the great demand for online video content but despite this growing demand the paradox is that online social media platforms have been losing ground since mid-march as reported in the article of Rival IQ. However, sports is the second in demand after school and the other is that there is a comeback on its way since the beginning of may.

Eureka or UGC

The genius way out of this content void is nothing new. The strategy used by some media was simply to put forward the content generated by its user. This kind of content is also referred as UGC. In our previous analogy it would be John’s homebread or Julia’s spaghetti sauce.

The example of ESPN’s Hours of Highlights reported by digiday.com is very interesting in this regard. By putting forward the content from its audience, the program registered a 30% growth when compiling data from all platforms. Moreover, on instagram, out of the 20 most popular posts, 18 are issued from user-generated content. It is still important to mention that this kind of content is not free but it still costs 20% less than the usual. The expenses may be reduced but the advertisers are also less excited to be associated with UGC. TO go a bit further, an article from ecoconsultancy mentions some of the best examples of UGC use and also cite a report that gives more and more importance to this type of content in the years to come.

In the end, with the sports cameras producing images very close to professional quality as well as the growing habit of athletes to film themselves to document their progression and remarkable feats, it is very realistic to believe that UGC will only be more present and more in-demand. The media will have to adapt and learn how to display those images and it seems that sports content is a prime sector to be the leader of this new reality. Despite the instantaneousness of social media, the traditional broadcasters still play an important role in putting the content in context. For us as a content producer really close to its communities, it is a very important concern but also a very interesting challenge.

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