As US operators look to capitalize on existing users and cut down on acquisition costs, they are starting to look beyond the obvious demographics for bettors. SGG Media Co-Founder and CEO Troy Paul has a suggestion of who to look for and where to find them. Gen Z are definitely not the same sports fans as their parents, so how can operators, affiliates, and others reach out and connect with them? As Paul says, it’s through their screens.
One of the biggest challenges facing sports companies right now is how to attract the Gen Z demographic. A new generation of adults has emerged, one whose needs and habits are totally different from those that came before them. This is a generation of digital and social media natives, one who demands authenticity and an engaging product in exchange for their loyalty.
The emergence of Gen Z as a commercial force has coincided with a period of huge change in the world of sports, which presents companies with a unique chance to capture the audience’s attention in an increasingly competitive market.
The way we consume sports has changed. Gone are the days of being tied to watching just one game at a weekend and having zero interaction with your team. Streaming and social media have changed how we interact with sports. Streaming provides us with the chance to engage with multiple matches at once, while social media allows us to follow live updates and interact with teams and athletes in a way we have never been able to before.
The expansion of cable and the rise of streaming means there is increased competition for eyeballs, with franchises upping their social media and online efforts in a bid to grab the attention of fans. This presents a unique opportunity for marketers to work alongside teams and franchises as they bid to get attention.
Of course, two more changes we have seen in the world of sports are an increased focus on statistics and data and the widespread legalization of sports betting across North America. The influence of these is massive and has hugely impacted how Gen Z fans interact with sports. There is often more focus on individual performances, with stats being a huge conversation point and player prop betting emerging as a key trend.
In order to truly capitalize on the emergence of the Gen Z market, companies need to be sure they understand how their audience operates and what they want from the sporting world. Traditional marketing methods are not going to work, and marketing departments will need to go back to the drawing board.
To borrow a saying from an older generation: the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Well, we think the way to a Gen Z’s heart is through their screen. Gen Z is consuming sports through not just one screen but a multitude, so to capture their attention, companies will need to find a way of getting some valuable real estate on those screens.
One of the most effective ways to do this is through social media and micro-influencers. Micro-influencers are a cost-effective, and impactful way of reaching audiences across sports. They often focus on one team or sport, keeping their followers engaged with daily content, offering insights into a team or player’s performances, something which goes hand in hand with the modern sports experience.
Many Gen Z fans now turn to these micro-influencers for their insights instead of traditional media outlets. They trust their opinions and have built a relationship with the micro-influencers and the wider community of their followers. As such, an endorsement or advertisement from a micro-influencer holds a significant amount of weight. Some would even argue that, with Gen Z’s focus on authenticity, these endorsements are more powerful than one from a traditional media outlet and certainly offer a better ROI.
These influencers also provide access to a much more targeted audience. They understand how a community works and know what is right and wrong for them from an advertising perspective. Working alongside them and allowing them to tap into the audience’s needs is going to be incredibly effective and yield massive results.
One thing is clear: with Gen Z, companies need to rip up the rule book for traditional marketing and be bold enough to explore new options. Social media, streaming, and micro-influencers are the key to unlocking the huge potential that this demographic has to offer.