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Big Tech in the Game of Live Sports: The Impact for Consumers and Brands (from New York Advertising Week)

As Big Tech and smart TVs like Hisense make the play to air live sports, brands and leagues have new opportunities to interact with fans. In fact, Tremor International is getting into the sports game as the official monetization platform for FIFA+ ahead of the World Cup, through our recent partnership with VIDAA/Hisense.

While the emergence of Big Tech specifically into the live sports space lends itself to creating additional challenges in measurement, efficiency, and paid subscription woes for consumers, there is still great potential for the future of advertising and fan engagement. Tremor International CMO Emily Barfuss explored this topic in a panel discussion for New York Advertising Week with Jeremy Carey, CIO at Optimum Sports, and Jason Brum, GVP of Agency Partnerships at DIRECTV Advertising.

More Content = More Opportunities to Connect with Fans

This year signified a big shift in live sports viewing as the NFL teamed up with Amazon to deliver live games via streaming on the Prime platform, and MLB joined Apple+. The new dynamic is creating a wealth of new opportunities for leagues and brands to partner together.  More sports leagues will have an opportunity to stream their content and expand their fanbase, from college leagues to global sports that aren’t as well-known to American viewers. It also creates more opportunities for ancillary, complimentary programming beyond the live game.

The benefit for brands is two-fold: first, all of this new content is infusing the sports genre with more advertising supply, and with more innovative ad units beyond 30-second commercial spots around a live event. Second, the digital arena is bringing brands several steps closer to a one-click e-commerce environment and a clear attribution sales model, explains Jeremy Carey.

Creative Content Matters as Much as Targeting

With all of the new advertising opportunities available in the growing digital ecosystem of sports, brands have access to new data about viewers, which not only allows brands to target viewers more effectively, but to serve them tailored content based on the data.

“Content matters most,” explains Jeremy Carey. “There’s so much more we know about the consumer just based on the content that they’re watching. From a national standpoint, we’re asking, ‘is there a way we can take an ownership position and allocate it differently based on location, gender demographics, age, etc, and can we serve them creative that ties back to that data?’”

Brands and Leagues Can Grow Together

The Big Tech shift has happened quickly, but it’s still new and still growing. Linear TV broadcasting once made sports advertising a premium that only the biggest national brands could afford, but the new digital era and its wealth of advertising opportunities creates more space for smaller brands to join the ecosystem.

“There’s a benefit to being the first mover in new platforms,” says Jason Brum. First brands to join new platforms can secure headlining sponsorships that capture viewer attention, and those big positions don’t come up often.

Global sports that are just becoming available to American viewers for the first time through digital platforms are a great opportunity for smaller brands to grow their own stature as well as the league’s through a partnership. Jeremy Carey says that the Olympics have been a good test-and-learn experience for Optimum.

“The opportunity to grow with those lesser-known sports is sometimes greater than getting involved with sports content that has achieved above a certain level of scale,” Carey explains. “We ask, ‘can we take ownership with some of these smaller properties that would allow us and the sports property to grow together, and help ultimately help make that brand endemic to sports?’” What’s clear from the panel discussion with Jason and Jeremy is that there’s no better time than now for brands to join the ecosystem of digital sports to engage fans and expand their reach.