Monday, 13 May 2013
It's the big game tonight, you've been looking forward all week to settling down on the sofa to watch it on your big TV screen. The game kicks off and the action is underway. What are you doing at this point? Anecdotal conversations in recent weeks with people - all of whom are interested or work in sport - seem to confirm the data which suggests nowadays we are watching but we just don't see. The rise of the second screen opens up massive opportunities but it's another nail in the media-value coffin.
I asked the panel at an industry event last week, for how long sport could remain beholden to the media value model. Whilst the panel acknowledged that the model is changing, they were not alone in missing the point that regardless of the vast audiences that watch live sport, we're just not engaged with the content we consume. Where Tivo-style technology allows us to fast forward through advertising*, our changing behaviour renders in-match advertising increasingly obsolete.
My suggestion that in 2013 such branding is nothing more than wallpaper was just not something the panel could identify with. I don't agree that there is no value in media but it should be no more than the authentification of the partnership, confirming the right to play. The media model is not going to die anytime soon, but its role within sponsorship packages needs an urgent rethink.
Our behaviour is changing. We are time poor, technology enables us to multi-task and we are increasingly impatient with things that don't offer a quick hit. It's not just live sport, but we just don't watch TV the way we used to. We are simply not engaged with the content we're viewing and the sponsorship model urgently needs a new value-driver. The match itself takes place before, during and after the 90 minutes and in myriad places (both digital and physical) far from the stadium, which is where the value opportunities lie.
* One industry colleague tells me he regularly watches football on Sky+ on x6 speed, stopping only when there is an noteworthy incident. How valuable are his eyeballs?