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Can The Federations Wag Their Long Tail?

September 17th, 2012

The Olympics and Paralympics has raised the profile of several sports that were previously largely ignored by media and marketers.

Saturation TV coverage of so called minority sports played out in front of full crowds – sports such as badminton, swimming, gymnastics, shooting and handball – has opened eyes to what is possible.  Some sports have unearthed heroes, able to carry market specific brand campaigns.

Great, but how can these sports exploit their Olympic boost?  How geared up are the Federations to the marketing challenges that lie ahead?
My view is that they are late to embrace change and are still moving too slowly.
The business model for International Federations must include a variation of the Long Tail argument: how best to pull together the disparate global audience for the sport which could run to many millions of people around the world.
This pre-Games survey by Deloitte gives a flavour of the challenge, and the opportunity for forward thinking rights holders across Europe and the US.


TV still in the lead, but far less so than at any previous Games, and the shift to digital is even more dramatic amongst the marketers’ sweet spot of 18-35 year olds.  The platform created by the Olympics was the best leveraged via social media with YouTube streaming the Games live to 65 countries.
Since the emergence of the internet as a mainstream media force in the late 1990s, a dream scenario has been sold to small rights holders.  Rather than being bypassed by the gatekeepers of TV, and losing the battle to football in terms of rights values, digital allows you to reach your audience directly.  A one to one relationship with the fans across the world.  Through YouTube, Facebook, Apps and other technology solutions, that dream has now become a genuine option.  But how many are ready to act?
Image Credit: JD Hancock