The DataPOWA view on the most important talking points in the worlds of sport sponsorship and digital.

THE ‘I’ IN TEAM

Sports’ fans allegiances are changing, with younger fans more likely to follow individuals rather than teams, according to Broadcast Now’s James Tobias.

In the past, fans have followed clubs like Barcelona and Ferrari, or their country, but with the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lewis Hamilton and Usain Bolt ruling the roost, the individual now has the power, and brands have to keep up.

“The younger generation, in particular, are less likely to pledge unwavering loyalty to their local team or, indeed, any individual team,” writes Tobias.

“With the reach of the internet and the proliferation of social media, OTT platforms and gaming, fans are increasingly likely to follow individual athletes rather than entire teams.

“Indeed, most of the biggest football clubs in the world, including Manchester United, Barcelona and Bayern Munich, have individual players with larger social media followings than the clubs themselves.

“Realising where the attraction to consumers is, brands are starting to orientate their sponsorships around individual athletes, rather than teams or competitions.

“At the same time, relationships with teams are increasingly focused on access rights to specific players. This, in turn, is causing teams to re-think their own contractual relationships with the players to ensure that they have sufficient scope to use those players in connection with club sponsorships.”

For more on this story, please visit Broadcast Now

ENERGISING POLITICS THROUGH SPONSORSHIP

Energy company Gazprom uses sponsorship of major football teams and competitions to influence key decision-makers, according to Simon Chadwick of the South China Morning Post.

The Russian firm has sponsored the Champions League since 2012 and has deals in place with Schalke and Zenit Saint Petersburg, which it owns.

Chadwick notes that unlike many major sponsors, there is no clear synergy between Gazprom and football, but there may be other benefits that the company is reaping from its partnerships.

“The Russian gas giant does not sell anything to retail consumers, instead it is in the business of selling gas to governments. This begs the question, then: why are a football competition – and football shirts – a means through which to help them do this?

“There are probably two key elements to it: the soft power effects of sponsorship, and the way in which sponsorship can circumvent normal diplomatic procedure. In seeking to exert soft power, Gazprom is effectively using football as a way to build attraction, foster appeal, and soften its image.

“One should not forget that the company is in the business of carbon fuel extraction – even within the Arctic Circle – and remember the consequent pollution that this implies. Indeed, during several UCL games, environmental groups protesting against Gazprom have stopped play by engaging in direct action inside stadiums.”

For more on this story, please visit the South China Morning Post

ETORO TARGETS BLOCKCHAIN GOAL

Global investment platform eToro is aiming to instigate a Blockchain revolution in football, Forbes reports.

The company signed sponsorship deals with seven top Premier League clubs last year, and Managing Director Iqbal Gandham is hoping they will help Blockchain become a key part of the football economy.

“We signed our sponsorship deal with the clubs in cryptocurrency so that they could get used to the different kind of currency,” Gandham explains. “So, clubs could get used to using a digital wallet for example.

“We are still at the education and introduction phase, but the next stage will be much easier, I expect to see the purchasing of players using Bitcoin and crypto asserts.

“Football is still working in a very old-fashioned manner, but the players and fans themselves have changed. For example, branding has changed and social media has changed. So, maybe we should look to change the aspects of how money is transferred in football too?

“The subjective feedback I have had is that it is time football moved forward and this is about modernizing football over the next decade, the next twenty years.”

For more on this story, please visit Forbes

A NIGHT IN WITH A CURRY

Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry will star in a docuseries about his day-to-day life called ‘Stephen vs. the Game’.

The show will run for six episodes, stream exclusively on Facebook Watch and follow Curry as he and his team vie for glory in the NBA.

“This past year has been an incredible chapter in my life – from the birth of my first son to winning a third championship – and we’ve been capturing it all,” Curry said.

“This series is deeply personal, providing an in-depth look into the pivotal moments from the last year and exploring everything that is important to me.

“It’s been a fun project to work on with my Unanimous team and Facebook. I have incredible fans, and I’m excited to share my life with them in a way I never really have before.”

For more on this story, please visit Front Office Sports

GOOD SHOUT

SKY SPORTS: Mario Balotelli posts goal celebration on Instagram

DIGIDAY: Spain’s top soccer league La Liga is building a U.S. media business

AUTOSPORT: Formula E returns to London in 2020 with partly indoor ExCeL track

THE DRUM: Why advertisers and sponsors are flocking to the Australian Football League women’s competition

MEDIA DAILY NEWS: Sponsorships Are Not A Game, Neither Are Their ROIs

BBC: Gambling and New Technologies

SOURCE: The Briefing #076 | POWA index