Fantasy Sports - The Original Social Network


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The history of Fantasy Sports, the social networking based platforms and ways in which marketers can best leverage the technology to meet the needs of sports fanatics. Greg Bulmash, Intern, Summer 2010

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  • How often do we hear from clients, “we want to build a presence in social networks… create a facebook page for us”? The term Social networking tends to be synonymous with Facebook, Twitter, and Myspace, often overlooking what is actually effective for a given target audience. Long, long ago, before Twitter, Facebook, and even MySpace. Before social networking was even labeled ‘social networking.’ Way back in the late 1990’s, sports fans were beginning to catch on to a new phenomenon that would be one of the earliest forms of social networking- fantasy sports.In this presentation, you will learn all about fantasy sports. How it is a form of social networking, who is taking part in it and what exactly they are taking part in, the business model behind it, where it is headed, where its effect can be seen, and through it all, try to keep the clients in mind because you already know that’s where we will end
  • Started in the mid 1960’s with pen, paper, baseball statistics, and a group of guys with way too much time on their handsToday, a competitive online game comprised of exclusive leagues made up of individual participants who own and manage their own teamsFantasy leagues are specific to one professional sports league (ie. NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, etc.)Participants draft real professional athletes and compete with fellow participants in their league based on statistics generated by the actual players or teams that were draftedOften a form of gamblingMuch more complex and involved than simple betting pools like March MadnessA pioneer in the social networking explosion
  • Standingslinks for teams’ and owners’ profiles where owner information can be sharedkeeps track of overall competition and current league scoresDynamic as they change based on weekly results of competitionplayer news and score updatesdynamic content  allows participants to seek and track relevant information for their players/teamsrecent transactionsallows participants to keep track of competitors and players Teams are fully customizable as owners can change up their rosters in a variety of waysmessage boardsallows participants to interact with each otherwide range of discussion topics
  • The average fantasy owner is a 37 year old male, married with children, making roughly $90,000 annually, spending at least 4 hours on the internet, and purchasing beer, liquor, prescription drugs, logo hats, running shoes, and flowers for their wivesFantasy sports allows middle aged men- an age group that is very susceptible to wanting to live lost dreams of their youth (mid-life crisis)- to actualize their aspirations. This reality suggests that they are very willing to spend money to maximize their experience, and we already know that they are plenty able to spend the money
  • One quarter of the fantasy sports population is women. But wait, women make up less than 10% of market spending signifying that they spend a whole lot less of their disposable income on their fantasy sports hobby
  • Here are the three market leaders in the fantasy sports league industryUp until recently, ESPN charged a premium registration fee, CBS charged a smaller registration fee, and Yahoo! penetrated the market with its free registration and reliance on advertising revenueWhile many speculated that Yahoo!’s strategy would falter, especially in 2008 when Microsoft bought them out, the opposite occurred In the past few years, the trend has actually shifted toward free registration for fantasy leagues Let’s explore why…Technology is improving at a similar rate that consumer expectations for free services are growingRegistration fee models based their competitive advantage around better services such as instant updates and expert advice, but with the increasing efficiency of technology and number of free sources for fantasy information through various media, and the increasing rate at which Yahoo! and others were providing “premium” services for free, fantasy participants were not finding it necessary to pay for league registration. Also, the increasing improvement of paid advertisement models makes it possible to generate plenty of revenue without a subscription feeFantasy team owners would rather spend their money amongst themselves by collecting a league pool and awarding the winnerGambling is a major part of fantasy sportsMany participants feel it feeds incentive to remain attentive to their teams and makes the competition more fun overall
  • continued growth alongside technology We will continue to see portable devices (such as cell phones and iPads) carrying more convenient fantasy sports apps and servicesInstant video footage to go along with the statisticsAn upgrade to dynamic is first to integrate this in 2010Fantasy owners can see instant game highlights as well as highlights throughout the season when a player’s information is viewedThis adds a visual element to the stats and engages the owner more into the actual game itselfExpect to see this feature amongst other fantasy sports providers in the near futuresocial media possibilitiesFacebook and Twitter will continue to embrace fantasy sports participation amongst their members by providing an outlet to connect with each otherSocial media sites specific to Fantasy sports will continue to develop Screaming sports is an example of this niche approach. Members can connect with other fantasy owners and share news, videos, and discussions. It also allows members to upload information from their fantasy teams from different fantasy providers and aggregates related sports news and updatesbeyond the internet...we will see some new trends developing particularly for TV
  • While fantasy sports resides on the internet, it has had and will continue to have a lasting effect on TV, print media, and live sporting events
  • The print industry has been struggling to stay afloat recently with consumer preference shifting towards the internet for information and researchHowever, fantasy draft guides still rely significantly on magazines to sell and deliver statistics and strategy advice. Walk into a magazine section of major stores and you will see at least a rack devoted to fantasy draft guides, especially around the weeks leading up to a specific pro sports season.
  • “Fantasy sports players buy tickets and spend money at stadiums at a much higher rate than general fantasy sports fans:          o 12% of Americans attended a MLB baseball game per year          o 78% of fantasy sport players attended at least once.           o 9% attended an NFL football game (60% of fantasy players)          o 8% attended an NBA basketball game (28% of fantasy players)          o 4% of Americans attended a NHL Hockey game (27% of fantasy sport players)”-FSTAStadiums and arenas are full of ad space and interactive marketing opportunities
  • Toyota has partnered with Yahoo! to create the Fantasy Enhancer in 2009. the latest edition allows Yahoo! Fantasy owners to create a custom team logo, coming soon will be a smack talk generator and football card builder. Uses humor to relate to the target audienceIndications for Automotive: Car companies are a major presence in fantasy sports marketing. They should take note of this and consider sponsorship in a similar manner.
  • There is a surprisingly low marketing presence of athletic apparel companies in fantasy sports, and this signifies a multitude of sponsorship and partnership opportunities and a competitive advantage opportunity Brands like Reebok and Nike have many professional athlete sponsors, such as Peyton Manning, John Wall, and David Ortiz. They can be used to leverage fantasy sports sponsorship campaignsReebok has been the exclusive provider of NFL apparel up until 2010. Fantasy sports drive jersey sales up so this is a great opportunity to continue its positioning in NFL apparelCustom jerseys and products allow fantasy owners to actualize their aspirations and can contribute to a sense of community amongst a league of close friends. Also, as we know, middle-aged men are willing and able to spend money on maximizing their fantasy sports experience.
  • Assist middle-aged men in actualizing their aspirationsEvery sports fan has dreamt of owning and managing a pro sports team, this is probably as close as they will getThese men are at an age when they evaluate their lives and where they thought they would be when they were younger (mid-life crisis)Bottom line: they have then money to spend, and they will spend it to maximize they’re experienceMiddle-aged men will have more time on their hands in the not-too-distant future Middle aged men will be retired men within the next few decades. Generation X is fast approaching AARP membership and the lifestyle and health issues that go along. They will also have more time on their hands once they retire, so it seems logical to assume that the amount of time they put into fantasy sports will increaseContribute to the inherent sense of communityProvide and sponsor products and services that emphasize the relationships being built and strengthened in fantasy leagues Help fantasy owners make memories with their companions A comedic and a laid back approach is effective with this target marketAlso note: the sense of community extends internally to a firm. Promoting fantasy sports leagues within your own firm can build workplace camaraderie and networking Build a season-long marketing presence that is consistent across a variety of channels and is engaging like the nature of fantasy sports itselfFantasy owners are looking for an edge throughout the entire season (draft or trades) and are actively searching through the Internet, TV, and magazines. They are also attending and viewing sporting events regularlyCreate a marketing campaign that is creative, visible, consistent, and if possible, interactive across these channels Showcase the human side of your company to your clients and customersIn some cases, it may benefit your company to allow employees to blog about the firm’s fantasy league(s)You may be able to relate to your clients/customers on a personal and informal level and even provide them with insightful fantasy sports adviceThis could be particularly interesting for an internet provider such as Windstream, which could leverage the blog with a message such as “We wouldn’t our internet going out during our fantasy football draft either- Windstream is there for you”
  • Fantasy Sports - The Original Social Network

    1. 1. Fantasy Sports: The Original Social Network<br />August 19, 2010 <br />Greg Bulmash, Intern Interactive Strategy<br />Universal Pictures<br />
    2. 2.
    3. 3. What is fantasy sports?<br />Started in 1960’s with pen, paper, and baseball statistics<br />Online game with exclusive leagues made up of individuals who own and manage their own teams<br />Specific to one professional sport (ie. NFL, MLB)<br />Participants draft real athletes and compete based on player stats<br />Often a form of gambling<br />A pioneer in the social networking explosion<br />
    4. 4. The foundation of fantasy sports is the foundation of social networking<br />
    5. 5. Layout & features: dynamic & customizable <br />Source: Yahoo!<br />
    6. 6. Fostering community <br />Building, reviving, and strengthening relationships<br />Private leagues are closed and participants must be invited to join, does this sound familiar?<br />Source: MarketingProfs<br />
    7. 7. Team management drives interaction<br />Trades<br />Live Draft<br />
    8. 8. The Dodgers are such a disappointment this year, I really thought they were going to win the NL West<br />Did anyone else see Kobe’s shoes? Sooo fresh<br />Re: Did anyone else see Jim’s sister? Sooo hot<br />Interaction through message boards <br />Who do you think will have a better season... Tom Brady or Drew Brees?<br />
    9. 9. Trash talk: the language of fantasy sports <br />“dude, my benched running back had more <br />touchdowns than both of your starters combined”<br />“my great-grandmother knows <br />more about hockey than Donny”<br />“get a life! maybe then you won’t always beat me”<br />“you’re face is ugly”<br />Im_better_than_everyone<br />Jim’SISTERisHOT<br />raidersSUCK&soDOyou<br />Source: Squidoo<br />
    10. 10. Demographics, psychographics, and statistics<br />
    11. 11. Who plays fantasy sports?<br />There are 27 million participants in this $4.5 billion industry<br />a 37 year old male<br />married with children<br />The average fantasy sports player is…<br />4+ hours online weekly<br />$90K household income<br />Sources: FSTA, MarketingProfs<br />
    12. 12. But wait, there’s others<br />Women actually make up 25% of the fantasy sports population, but don’t get too excited<br />Source: FSTA<br />
    13. 13. What sports are most popular for fantasy owners?<br />Out of 27 million participants…<br />Source: FSTA<br />
    14. 14. The business of fantasy sports <br />
    15. 15. New business model <br />2008<br />FREE<br />FREE<br />$$<br />$$$$<br />Source: Above the Law<br />
    16. 16. Focus of the industry: advertising revenue<br />Competition for ad space and creative campaigns willget intense<br />
    17. 17. Fantasy sports beyond the surface<br />
    18. 18. Fantasy sports into the future<br />Sources: NFL, RarePlay, Wall Street Journal, CrunchBase<br />
    19. 19. Fantasy sports and other forms of media <br />The multibillion dollar industry has gone beyond the internet<br />
    20. 20. Television <br />Sources: MLB, NFL, Verizon<br />
    21. 21. Print media <br />
    22. 22. Live Sporting Events <br />
    23. 23. Takeaways and recommendations<br />
    24. 24. Sponsorship done right<br />
    25. 25. Uncharted Territory <br />
    26. 26. Takeaways<br /><ul><li>Assist middle-aged men in actualizing their aspirations
    27. 27. Generation X is fast approaching retirement, and more leisure time means more fantasy sports
    28. 28. Contribute to the inherent sense of community
    29. 29. Build a season-long, 360° marketing presence that is as engaging as fantasy sports itself
    30. 30. Showcase the human side of your company to your clients and customers </li></li></ul><li>Washington, DC New York 1055 Thomas Jefferson St., NW 285 Madison Avenue Suite 200 3rd Floor Washington, DC 20007 New York, NY 10017 202 625 2111 212 210 3631 <br />