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Who dominates the sports business's playing field?

PwC published the report Sports industry: lost in transition?, in which it reinforces the idea that as sports consumption increases towards digital platforms, the sector's challenge grows in understanding all of their audience segments. According to the document, companies that are able to "leverage their cross-platform data effectively will be well placed to help sponsors reach their target audience at a more granular level".

"We are fast approaching a tipping point where digital will overtake linear in terms of media consumption, and so sports content will need to find creative ways to appeal to fans that are 'digital first' in order to maintain their attention.", says David Dellea, Head of PwC Sports Business Advisory.

For Albert Arias, Social Media & Digital Content at FC Barcelona, "we are in a moment of maturity in the sector. The audience decides when they want things and in what format and platform they want to consume it; Meanwhile, content creators must know that it no longer matters only what you do, but how you do it. The attention is to a 'swipe/tap', so more than ever we must know thoroughly the audience that consumes us."

We have investigated the human part of the sport business 

How can we understand the professionals who work in a sector that moves so much money, such as sports? What interests them? Who influences them? What media do they consume? What kind of content triumphs between them? For companies linked to this industry, whether teams and clubs, sponsors or specialized media, it is key to know the tastes, habits and online behavior of those who are professionally engaged in sports business, the human part of each of the stakeholders of the sector.

We wanted to analyze that audience and for that we have identified people who include one of the following hashtags in their biography: #SportsMarketing, #DigiSport, #SportsBiz and #SportsTech. We have found an audience of 1255 individuals.

Audiense - Sportsbiz blog - audience overview 

While other audience intelligence platforms focus on analyzing the people who talk about the sport business on social, we have preferred to develop our research on the people who make a living working in that sector; focus on people and go beyond social conversation. Our segmentation groups individuals based on "who knows whom", that is, how these individuals are interconnected. This allows creating more coherent clusters and uncovering relevant information about each group.

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Getting to the point...

Is football the main sport for #SportsBiz professionals? No.

The United States leads the presence of sports business professionals, followed by France and the United Kingdom. Paris surprises and appears as the most important city, followed by London and Chicago.

Audiense - Sports Biz blog - top countries

A fact that emerges in our report, and that has surprised both us and professionals in the sector who have had access to this information, is that there is more interest in basketball than in football amongst the overall audience: 47.4% versus 38.2%. We have found that the data coincides when we look at the two largest segments identified: the main sport is basketball for both segments, while the most prominent country is the US. On the other hand, analyzing the smallest segment among the three identified (whose top country is India: 43%), the most relevant sport is cricket (50%).

Audiense - Sports Biz blog - segments

 Audiense - Sports Biz blog - top sports

 Gen Z and Millennials lead the industry

According to our report, men are the majority: 78.6%. The segment with more women is "Sports Biz & Sports Marketing", with a 20% female presence. 

In terms of age, we have seen that 70% of the audience is under 35 years old. The data is similar if we look at the segment mentioned above: 72% of the group "Sports Biz & Sports Marketing" is less than 35 years old; while there is more age balance in the "Sports Biz US & Canada" segment: 60% are up to 35 years old compared to 40% with more than 35 years. The most senior segment of all is the "Sports Biz & Sports Tech": 100% of its members are over 35. 17% of that group has the word "former" in their biography, which indicates that it is a segment, let's say, with more experience. 

LinkedIn is their favorite social network 

If we look at the preferred social network for professionals in the sport business, LinkedIn is sovereign. The channel par excellence of the business world is 12 times more relevant for the audience in question than for the global population. Medium also stands out among them. The data coincides if we analyze the segment "Sports Biz & Sports Marketing" (Linkedin as the main social network); however we have found that Twitter is the favorite for the group "Sports Biz US & Canada", while YouTube, surprisingly, is for the Indian majority segment.

Audiense - Sports Biz blog - social media presence

The prestige drives them

Thanks to the integration of Audiense with IBM Watson we have been able to better understand what the personality of the professionals in the sports business is like. "Desire for prestige" is common in the analyzed audience and in the three main segments identified. Both "success" and "tradition" guide them. According to our report, they are people who "seek out opportunities to improve themselves and demonstrate that they are a capable person. And they highly respect the groups they belong to and follow their guidance.” 

Top media, journalists, consultants, agencies... 

The influencers lists and rankings in different sectors occupy our feeds almost daily. Many times we do not even ask ourselves the methodology used to find the top whatever in whatever industry. In this excellent article, Mark Schaefer questions exactly that: the obsession of some professionals to appear on these lists and the lack of rigor of the methodology used in their creation. Thank you, Mark, for saving light on such a serious issue! 

For all these reasons, we consider it important to re-explain that Audiense focuses on the audience to identify influential people and brands for any target audience. Our platform allows us to make a real validation that these influencers are relevant to the analyzed segment, since their identification is based on a previously created and validated audience. Audiense combines rich social data sources with machine learning and the leading cognitive computing technology, based on more than 800 million unique individual profiles.

Following our objective to identify the influencers for sports business professionals, we have based our own score that measures the "Uniqueness" of each person/brand for the audience in question compared to a specific baseline (in this case, the global population).

Top 10 influencers

Audiense - Sportsbiz blog - top influencers

Top 10 journalists, columnists and reporters

Audiense - SportsBiz article - top journalists 

Top 10 consultants, entrepreneurs and brand professionals

Audiense - SportsBiz blog post - top brands pros 

Top 10 media

Audiense - SportsBiz blog - top media 

Top 10 marketers

Audiense - SportsBiz blog - top marketers 

Top 10 agencies (which include “agency” in the bio)

Audiense - SportsBiz blog - top agencies 

To access the report on which we have based to write this post, click here.

 Photo by Kolleen Gladden on Unsplash.

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