Thursday, 28. December 2017

Content & Media: #LetMeEntertainYou

In the future, most consumers will have online access anytime, anywhere to every desired product and service. Professional clubs will compete with the entertainment industry to hold the attention and good graces of consumers.

And only those professional clubs that succeed in maintaining a digitally integrated system across all business areas and contact points will be able to meet the individual needs of every single fan from a holistic point of view and offer personalized services. Thus an integrated shopping cart will enable virtual purchases from all of the contact points of a fan. Through digitally superimposing on- and offline advertising space (e.g. stadium bands, online banners) advertising messages are visible to each specific audience.

The aim is to create an integrated virtual fan experience, thus strengthening the fan bond and increasing fan loyalty. Professional clubs will have developed their own content design and content production units to process user data derived from continuous fan interaction through social media, online games, mobile apps, crowdsourcing activities, e-commerce, etc. Data scientists and data designers will bring order to this unstructured mountain of data and enable its analysis. Data journalists create a guide, based on analytical results, which enables data entertainers and visual designers to create the most unique virtual fan experience possible. In this way, user-relevant content will be created based on data available to every fan as an individual stream via personalized algorithms.

The swarm intelligence of the fans will be used in crowdsourcing, open source projects and online experiments to offer new products and services. In addition, clubs will use data from shopping carts, wish lists, watch lists, previous orders and time spent on individual product pages in order to bring products to fans before they have even decided to order them. In his 2002 film Minority Report, Tom Cruise was on the right track when he arrested future murderers before they had even committed the crime. Amazon already uses predictive buying technologies to test product shipping prior to purchases. Customers simply need to return the goods if they decide they do not want them after all.

Cooperation of the clubs and their superstars will become a critical success factor in media work. While superstars used to smoke publicly and drink alcohol before lactate levels, adductor strain (with Lothar the muscle just closed up) and counter pressing made their way into our soccer world, superstars of the future will become international digital brands with millions of social media fans. Their social acceptance will likely continue to be very high, despite their sky-high incomes. Much like movie stars and pop stars, they will serve as role models for the broad public and satisfy its craving for heroes. At the same time, they will represent the greatest assets on the balance sheets of their clubs and will be shareholders who demand to have a say. Some will have a much bigger fan base than their clubs and control access to their fans through their own communication channels. That will make it increasingly difficult for trainers and club presidents to explain to the public why a superstar is not in a game, despite having announced his readiness to play on Facebook.

Christiano Ronaldo was the first to reach more than a hundred million fans on Facebook. Interviews in the future may only be possible over proprietary media, which would mean the death of independent sports journalism in search of exclusive star stories. Other superstars will probably even hire their own teams of experienced journalists who play exclusively on their own channels around the clock. The main challenge, then, for professional clubs will be to position their superstars in the scene in a way that promotes their mass appeal, but does not cause them to “lose” their club fans to the superstars.

By Prof. Sascha L. Schmidt