Why Rights-holders should leave content creation to the professionals

You wouldn’t ask your Head Physio to cook the pies on a match day, so why do many professional sports bodies ask their media teams to create content that is outside of their core competencies?

Fan-facing content is undoubtedly an important part of any Rights-holders commercial strategy. Not only does it bring supporters closer to the sport and allow them to forge their own narrative, but it also can prove to be a valuable revenue stream – but only if the outputted resource can match the cash coming in.

Let’s take football clubs as an example who are, in the main, leading the line in terms of digital content creation within sport.

For years the perceived wisdom has been that as well as running the day-to-day activities of a football club they should also function as a media house creating video, social and audio content for the fans.

As Roger Mitchell, Founder at Albachiara SAGL pointed out on a recent episode of the Unofficial Partner podcast, that viewpoint is now beginning to change:

“Sports are now starting to say, that’s not my core competence. I will never be good enough to do that because no matter how good I get at it, the management and ownership time that is dedicated to what I do compared to the player side is a fraction. Saving through efficiency, better recruitment better selling on the player side massively outweighs whatever you do on the revenue, it’s not even close. I think smart owners are starting to realise this now and they’re saying, not only shouldn’t I do this internally and how can I get into a partnership way of doing it?”

Roger Mitchell, Founder of Albachiara SAGL

That’s not to say that Rights-holders should just totally abandon the idea of content creation as B2C communication but rather they should find the right partners to deliver it on their behalf to improve efficiency, and quality and allow them to focus on the most important parts of their jobs.

Outsourcing this content also allows Rights-holders to find the right content creators for their target medium and audience rather than relying on whoever happens to be within their content team. Finding content producers that truly understand the medium of delivery and the tone required to reach an audience can dramatically improve the effectiveness, engagement, and impact of any piece of audio.

We need to hire producers that reflect our audience. That relatability between who’s asking the question, who’s doing the filming, who’s speaking to the athlete and brand.

Stephen Sidlo, Head of Media at Airspeeder (Speaking at the Broadcast Sports Round Table)

Outsourcing production can sometimes however be an expensive option compared to using internal resources. This is why it’s important to take a similar approach to the commercial side. Although the digital revenue may not compare to that of player acquisitions and transfers there is still significant money on the table.

At Sport Social Podcast Network, we are a trusted partner of official Rights-holder and our offering considers both sides of this conversation. Firstly, we have a production team that knows how to use audio to connect to fans and audiences, taking into consideration the values and voice of our Rights-holder partners. Secondly, we understand the value of audio/media as official content based on the value of both the content itself and of partnership.

This gives our partner clubs, teams and official bodies total confidence that not only can we create content that connects to their fans and delivers their values but also that they can achieve full commercial value from that content, making it more cost-effective than using internal resources.

It’s time that Rights-holders take the same approach to podcasting as I take to plumbing! I could have a go at fixing that leaking tap, but it would be quicker, easier, probably cheaper and lead to a much better job (and happier wife) if I got a professional to do the job.

Why Sports Fans Are Flooding To Audio

A new study compiled by SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research has highlighted some key statistics which reflect the power of podcasting. Our Director of Sport Jim Salveson takes a look at what the research teaches us.

It’s always nice when someone backs up your hypothesis with some raw data – and that’s exactly what’s happened this week.

I’ve been a sport podcast evangelist for years now. Singing its praises as a tool for not only fan engagement but also as an effective advertising tool, providing direct access to those same audiences.

Now, thanks to a preview of a new report there’s a load of data to back up that belief.

Sirius XS have partnered with GroupM and Edison Research to dig into the audio habits of sports fans in the USA and the results for audio are incredibly strong.

Firstly, The report found that the average American sports fan consumes over 30% more audio than non-sports fans, Taking in 6 hours and 26 minutes of audio across radio, podcasts, and satiate channels every single day.

What I found very interesting though was the driving reasons that sports fans were filling their media diet with so much audio.

“66% of Sport listeners say they listen to hear unique perspectives on sports that aren’t covered in other media, and 60% listen to get exclusive content.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

I have long talked about the power of the niche in podcasting. If mainstream media is “broadcasting” then podcasting could be referred to as “narrowcasting”.

Podcasting is great at filling content voids that exist within the traditional media landscape. Driven largely by production costs, podcasts can cater to smaller audiences offering a platform to under-represented voices or, as is the case here, lesser-covered sporting events.

Insight is also important. Sport podcasting has also become the home of the ITK (In The Know) fan correspondent, who is perfectly positioned to give a listener exclusive insider information on a club or team from their insider contacts. There is a shadow, secretive feel to it that is in contrast to the shiny showbiz feel of a TV studio that can make an audience feel like they are part of a special elite club!

Podcasting also offers an alternative to the often very straight and controlled athlete interview.

Audio is a far more relaxed medium than television. Not only is the equipment used to capture the content far less intrusive, allowing for an interviewee to be more relaxed, but the long-form nature of the medium often allows athletes more space to open up and be authentic about their experiences on and off the field – providing even more exclusive content you wouldn’t find elsewhere.

“86% of sport listeners say they listen to stay connected to their team or sport, 58% to be part of the community of fans, and 56% to feel more connected to friends/family/colleagues.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

Audio is a very intimate media.

Audiences often build close relationships with their hosts who can often feel like they are communicating on a one-to-one basis (direct into their ears!) rather than to thousands of listeners at a time.

For those who consume their sport content away from the stadia in which their chosen event occurs, often the missing element is “community”.

If, like me, you live 200 miles away from your chosen sports team, it can be easy to stay up-to-date with the action on the pitch but nearly impossible to feel connected to the fanbase. You can’t stand with fellow fans on a match day or involve yourself in conversations about your local sports team with other pub dwellers – and podcasting can be a part replacement for those relationships.

If those physical relationships do exist in a fan’s life, podcasting can also serve to provide listeners with “social ammunition” creating talking points and helping to form opinions, further building those connections between fans.

“52% of sports listeners say they listen to be a more informed sports bettor, and 44% to be a more informed fantasy sports player.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

Good sporting insight is of high value in the sport podcast world and podcasting is the perfect channel for this content, again because it can easily service a niche!

Sport podcasting allows creators to “go deep” on topics. Once a podcast listener is listening to content, they rarely switch away.

The average listen-through rates to a podcast are between 70-80% (based on an hour-long show) so the medium is ideally suited to genres such as Fantasy Sport and Betting where detail is all important as it leads to that all-important competitive edit.

What drives these longer listen-through rates? It’s not the technology or delivery channels, it’s the permission given by the audience.

With podcasting, listeners have sought out specific shows to serve a content need. They are seeking out topics that they have a keen interest in – so it follows that they would spend longer with that topic. This, I believe is one of the main factors in that 30% rise vs average audio consumption amongst sports audiences.

Time to follow the money?

One of the other interesting takeaways from this report preview was the spending power of sport fans.

“Compared to sports video viewers, sports podcast listeners are bigger spenders. They spend an average of $321 on sports merch/memorabilia in a year, compared to just $185 for sports video viewers. Sport podcast listeners are more likely to be employed, highly educated, and affluent compared to sports AM/FM radio listeners and sports video viewers.”

SiriusXM Media, GroupM and Edison Research

Not only do sport podcast listeners have the cash to burn but they also have a deep connection and engagement with their favourite podcasts making them very open to podcast advertising and commercial messaging. Advertising spend in sport podcasting is growing faster than in any other genre due to its super-engaged audience, always-on nature, and accountability vs alternative sports advertising such as shirt sponsorship. You can read more about that here:

With a growing audience, engaged fans and strong commercial performance sport podcasting both in the US and in the UK is providing a real opportunity for creators and advertisers alike.

You can read the full preview here: