Sport & Entertainment: How digital channels are changing the industry

Rob Mills of Gemba looks at the opportunities and threats that digital channels present in sport and entertainment.

There are seismic shifts happening in marketing expenditure. Depending on the reports you read, digital channels now surpass, or at least rival, traditional media for the advertising dollar.

The knock on effect from the shift to digital communication for those involved in sport & entertainment marketing (what was called ‘sponsorship’) is immense, both in terms of opportunity and threat.

In terms of opportunities, digital communication channels provide an array of communication options to better leverage sport and entertainment properties. Pre Twitter and Facebook, brands would sign an ambassador and then have to do all the leveraging ‘heavy lifting’ themselves. Now if a brand signs an athlete like Michael Clarke, they gain access to a community of over 800 000 Twitter followers who can be carefully targeted with your brand’s message. Recently our Communications team built an App that allowed people to insert their sporting highlight into actual footage of a Socceroos game. This sort of technology unlocks the passion of sport and entertainment in ways we could have not dreamed about just a few years ago.

Digital channels also allow brands to amplify traditional ‘’analogue’’ events. All of sudden the cost from running an event outside a stadium or movie cinema can be amortised across both those who physically and digitally engage with that event. Relationships can be built with consumers that transcend the actual sporting or entertainment moment.

On the flipside, digital media’s high level of transparency and accountability rightfully lifts the bar on how sport and entertainment investments are measured. The ‘sponsorship’ industries frightening pre occupation with media equivalency metrics is in stark contrast to the level of measurement granularity that digital channels provide.

If a Chief Marketing Officer has the option of reviewing a campaign based on a cost per conversion metrics or alternatively with a metrics that purports to equate a logo exposure on screen with the equivalent cost of a 30 second TV spot – I know which way he or she would move their investment.

While some in the industry are resisting this level of transparency, we at Gemba view this as an opportunity to drive higher levels of sophistication into sport and entertainment investments. By embracing a higher regime of metrics, effectiveness will be increased and the channel will be taken more seriously by marketers. This in turn will massively benefit both brands and sport & entertainment properties.


Rob Mills

Gemba CEO