In the modern era, sports leagues are increasingly turning to digital channels to reach their audiences. In this article, we explore how fantasy sports can help sports leagues of all sizes and digital maturity levels engage with fans, build their brand, and drive revenue.
We examine four different quadrants and provide examples of leagues in each, highlighting how fantasy sports can provide a unique opportunity for these leagues to gain visibility and attract new fans. Whether you’re a small league just starting or an established champion, fantasy sports can be a valuable tool for enhancing your digital presence and engaging with fans in new and exciting ways.
Low Digital Maturity, Small Sport: “Underdog”
This quadrant represents smaller sports leagues that are still developing and have limited resources. Fantasy sports provide a unique opportunity for these leagues to engage with fans and start building an audience, making them an underdog in the sports industry.
Small sports with low digital maturity should start by setting up the most impactful touchpoints first. These channels have low effort but high impact.
Fantasy sports provide a digital presence for the league and its players, potentially attracting new fans who may not have been aware of the sport before.
High Digital Maturity, Small Sport: “Rising Star”
The “Rising Star” quadrant represents smaller sports leagues that have invested in their digital presence and are on the rise. Fantasy sports help these leagues gain visibility and attract new fans as they continue to grow.
Fantasy sports games can bring fans together and create a sense of community, which can make the league’s brand and reputation stronger. Some fans may even create a website or blog to talk about the game in detail.
Rising stars generate content ideas with a fantasy sports angle, which sets them apart from traditional news sources. Potential sponsors are easier to convince with concrete usage figures.
Low Digital Maturity, Big Sport: “Sleeper”
This quadrant represents sports leagues that have a large fan base, but these fans are following the league or sport via earned channels. The league should kickstart its digitalization and attract fans to owned media.
These sports can digitally grow significantly in a short period, thanks to their reach. Just like small sports, big sports should focus on setting up impactful touchpoints. Channels that don’t set them apart from the rest and are hard to maintain should be disbanded.
In the next step, start capturing data, for example, with a single sign-on. A fantasy sports game gives fans a reason to log in and identify themselves. The league then builds fan profiles to personalize communication and build a relationship with these fans.
Example: Pro League
High Digital Maturity, Big Sport: “Champion”
This quadrant represents sports leagues that are already established and have a strong digital presence. Fantasy sports enhance their position as champions in their field, driving engagement and revenue.
Fantasy sports are a pillar of the fan engagement strategy and drive both editorial and commercial initiatives. A digitally mature league, with advanced technology and digital infrastructure, can offer a more immersive and user-friendly fantasy sports experience for fans. This leads to higher engagement and retention, as well as increased revenue from advertising, sponsorships, and direct-to-consumer sales.
Example: Sporza Wielermanager, Premier League, NBA