When we think of sport, one of the first words that springs to mind is community, but what happens when this community is gradually ageing and the younger generation is not engaging in the same way?
The problem is that 1 in 3 Gen Zs don’t watch live sport and their interest in sport is dramatically lower compared to older generations. This begs the question, why are they disengaged and how can this be fixed?
The abundance of other easily accessible entertainment options, the popularity of established and emerging social media platforms, the fragmented nature of sports media rights distribution, accessibility to games and ticket affordability, all contribute to sports’ difficulty in engaging Gen Z.
Gen Z Behaviour
Before even attempting to try and sell tickets to Gen Zs we need to get inside their heads. What do they want? What are they doing?
Two statistics that stuck out were;
- Almost half of Gen Z admitted to never going to watch a professional sports event.
- 2 in 5 Gen Zs said that they don’t support a favourite team.
The first point could be linked to a lot of reasons. Perhaps it’s to do with cost? Or maybe it is just down to lack of interest. However, the benefit to marketers is they are not turning away from sports altogether, but instead, they’re shifting towards streaming.
We will revisit the second point a bit later on, but first, let’s dive into this a bit more.
Gen Zs who are interested in sport are consuming through digital platforms, with 32% watching live sport through streaming services and keeping up with the sports news through YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.
We’re starting to learn Gen Z want to watch different things. Effectively they want content that is more engaging. Sports organisations need to ensure their games are digestible and accessible via streaming platforms. They must encourage gamification, free-to-play games, and ultimately, sports betting to make their games more interesting.
If we revisit the second statistic we mentioned earlier, Gen Zs often don’t cheer for a favourite team. Without having a favourite team, they are not going to be fully invested like older generations are. However, it’s safe to say that athletes have become some of the most influential people on the planet. For example, Cristiano Ronaldo has the most Instagram followers in the world with 513 million. With social media taking up a large proportion of Gen Zs time and attention. Marketers need to focus on highlighting athletes’ personality, fashion preferences and day to day life.
Although Gen Zs may actively follow and engage with major athletes, they aren’t bringing in revenue to boost organisations bottom line. Engagement on social media doesn’t equate to ticket sales. The goal for sports organisations is to transform causal viewers into lifelong fans.
Our suggestion for sports organisations would be to focus on engaging the younger generation through live streaming, exclusive athlete content and gamification. Once they are engaged, you can turn this into revenue, through individual platform monetisation.
The takeaway: stop trying to get Gen Zs into stadiums and start thinking about what they want and how you can engage them.