It was legendary Liverpool Football Club manager Bill Shankly that said, “Football isn’t a matter of life and death. It’s more important than that…”
It’s just such a philosophy that perpetuates the continued growth in revenues from broadcasting rights, sponsorships and gaming from sport. A global audience of 167 million viewed the 2012 Super Bowl and the FA Premier League broadcasting rights look set to hit £6Billion for the first time in 2013. Global betting revenue continues to spiral to unfathomable heights.
The cold reality of global recession has increased government awareness that both “soft” (playing for fun) and “hard” (playing for cash) gaming can draw enormous taxable revenues. Governments across Europe, including the once very hardline Spanish and Greeks, have now opened their online game play markets to deregulation, thereby allowing external private companies to benefit from online gaming rather than the just the state-run monopolies. Market penetration has never been so important.
The opening and development of the soft gaming market across the world has had a great impression on how not only brands but sporting bodies interact with their audiences, in particular the fantasy gaming phenomenon. The fantasy manager concept is a $6 billion industry, with global media giants like ESPN & Fox to Bild & The Sun (the biggest selling German and British newspapers, respectively) holding interactive weekly games, offering vast prizes.
As a point of note, US Congress declared that “fantasy” was categorically outside the boundaries of traditional gambling in 2006. Since then, it’s not only the media that have grasped the interactive power that these games hold but also the FMCG looking to bring a fourth dimension to strategic campaigns around sport. In essence, there’s no point in paying $80 million to sponsor Manchester United if you can’t see a return of investment.
Global brands such as Heineken and Mastercard have been exercising the associative opportunities that fantasy sports can bring in with the support of million dollar sponsorships, branding on games based around the Rugby World Cup and the UEFA Champions League, for example.
The aforementioned fourth dimension comes from the consistent interaction with users via online and email through a tournament. With Heineken as an example, they are looking to drive football to partner bars through targeted and strategically sent emails timed to coincide with live matches.
Given that a vast majority of fantasy games can now be played in real-time with live data streams and with the providers all looking to keep the viewing audience online and interactive with a sporting event (and sponsorship), the reliance on fast performing and highly reliable DNS has never been more commercially prevalent.
Blend this with the ability to cross into the fourth dimension and actually reach out and “talk” to a captive audience via email sent through a reliable provider can’t be underestimated — especially in today’s competitive market.
Managing the relationship between the consumer and the brand, understanding and providing information about the user’s engagement with the game or transactional information triggered by a purchase — gaining and translating direct ROI from sponsorship or merely receiving a swift signup confirmation email — all starts from investing in quality Internet infrastructure.