What is the real reason why sports properties are not innovating?
5 Min Read
The real cost of INACTION!
As I sat with the CMO of a French football club, he shared his puzzlement over the stark contrast in matchday revenues compared to a German counterpart. Both clubs boast passionate fan bases in stadiums of similar sizes – his with around 60,000 seats, the German club with 70,000. Yet, the financial tale was markedly different. The German club, he told me, amasses an astounding €11 million each matchday, averaging €135.64 per fan. His club, in comparison, garners a modest €1.35 million, just €20.14 per supporter.
The conversation turned to innovation, or the lack thereof, as a key factor in this glaring disparity in financial performance.
I like this quote by Michael Phelps:
“If you want to be the best,
you have to do things that other people are not willing to do.”
In a world where the next big thing is just around the corner, sports properties are surprisingly still dragging their feet. Why? The game is changing, but the players seem reluctant to lace up their boots. The real reason for this hesitation isn’t a lack of options or opportunities—it’s the internal roadblocks they face. Let’s dive into the key factors holding back the tide of innovation.
Fear of Risk: Playing it Safe Won’t Win Championships
Let me invite you to consider, That the current crossroad we are in, in terms of innovation and tech boom, Is bigger than the Dot com era.
In the dot-com, Industry leaders like Blockbuster, that failed to adapt to digital innovation, were quickly overtaken by the likes of Netflix and Amazon, and ultimately faded.
The first hurdle is the fear of risk. In the high-stakes game of sports management, the fear of making a wrong move can be paralyzing. Every decision comes with its own set of ‘what ifs,’ and the pressure to maintain the status quo is enormous. But here’s the kicker: the safe play isn’t safe at all. In a rapidly evolving industry, standing still is akin to moving backward.
Perception of Complicated Processes: The Innovation Workout
Next up, the perception of innovation as a complicated process. The playbook for integrating new technologies or strategies seems like it requires the Mackenzie type of complexity and cost. But this complexity is often overstated. Yes, innovation requires attention and commitment —like any good workout, you get out what you put in. The secret is in starting small, learning from the industry’s best practices, and scaling up as your confidence grows.
Cost of Inaction: The Silent Drain on Resources
The cost of inaction is the silent killer, the gradual drain on resources that goes unnoticed until it’s too late. Every day without innovation is a missed opportunity for engagement, branding, and revenue. The longer sports properties sit on the sidelines, the more they stand to lose. Inaction isn’t just a missed shot at goal; it’s the equivalent of an own goal.
For example- Neglecting the Young Fans – as you know, the typical age, when kids choose their lifelong sports team, is – 13.
So, here is a question– how many of us have a long term, execution plan on Engagement & Monetization for Gen Z and Alpha?
… You see… we’re not just missing out on fans; we’re losing future ambassadors of our brands and a potential, lifetime loss of revenue and loyalty.
So, what’s the play? It’s time for sports properties to get off the bench and into the game. The cost of inaction is not just about cash loss; it’s about relevance, engagement, and ultimately, survival. As the digital transformation of sports continues to accelerate, those willing to take calculated risks, demystify innovation processes, and acknowledge the real cost of doing nothing will be the ones lifting the trophy.
I would like to finalize with a quote from – Jordan Belfort
“Every time you say ‘I can’ or ‘I can’t’, you’re right either way.”
Happy holidays, and let’s keep the momentum going. Until next time!
Founder and CEO HYPE Sports Innovation
We’re helping over 100 Sports properties to increase revenue and ROI through innovation – Feel free to ask me how.