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Introducing

DECODING

In this new study, we further confirmed and expanded upon the definitions of the three distinct fan groups we call Receptives, Selectives and Non-Receptives. These fan definitions can be found in the below Receptivity Glossary. Most importantly for marketers, Decoding 2.0 provides insight into how to convert the most Selective of consumers to a receptive mindset.

Receptivity Glossary

“Decoding the Modern Sports Fan”
  • The first of two “Decoding” studies, commissioned in 2012
  • Sample size: 2750
“Decoding 2.0”
  • The second of two “Decoding” studies, commissioned in 2017
  • Sample size: 2697
The Receptivity Theory
  • The theory that a fan’s receptive mindset, not fan passion or avidity, is the most important factor when assessing the potential impact of a sponsorship opportunity for a brand.
Receptives
  • Fans that are identified as almost always receptive to sponsor messaging and activation tactics
Selectives
  • Fans that are identified as “on the fence” in terms of their likelihood to be receptive to sponsor messaging and activation tactics – it is this group that sponsors need to truly understand and convert to be successful in sponsorship marketing
Non-Receptives
  • Fans that are identified as almost never receptive to sponsor messaging or activation tactics
Fan Passion & Avidity
  • Prior to the Decoding studies, fan passion was viewed as the most important factor when selecting and activating sports and lifestyle sponsorships. The more passionate fans within a brand’s target audience, the more attractive was the property. What wasn’t factored was the consumer’s mindset as it relates to brand messaging within the context of engaging with his or her sport or lifestyle passion.
Property
  • A sponsorable sport, entertainment or lifestyle event with commercial value (i.e. the NFL, The Grammys, The Aspen Food & Wine Festival, etc.)
Lifestyle marketing
  • A broad definition for sports and entertainment marketing – is often used synonymously with non-sports sponsorship opportunities (although can include sports in some contexts). In our study, we often refer to non-sports opportunities as lifestyle opportunities
Sponsorship
  • A marketing tool that leverages intellectual property, media and marketing assets from within sport or lifestyle properties, to drive a company’s brand or business objectives
Activate / Activating / Activation
  • Terms used that refer to the utilization of marketing tactics to engage a fan base connected with a sponsorship

METHODOLOGY

2012

  • Conducted Spring 2012
  • N=2,750 completed online interviews among US consumers
  • Respondents sourced from Global Marketing Insights research panel
  • Study has a margin of error of +/-2% at the 95% confidence level
  • Respondents qualified as sports fans (indicating ‘extremely,’ ‘very,’ or ‘somewhat interested’ in sports, or watching sports on television with some regularity

2017

  • Conducted Spring 2017
  • N=2,697 completed online interviews among US consumers
  • Anticipating a second wave of 750 interviews
  • Respondents sourced from Global Marketing Insights research panel
  • Study has a margin of error of +/-2% at the 95% confidence level
  • Respondents expanded beyond just sports fans, to include music, culinary, entertainment and eSports enthusiasts.

ABOUT

DECODING

Decoding 2.0 solidifies the need for a shift in thinking when selecting and marketing sport and lifestyle sponsorships. This unique study arms brand marketers with the quantitative data they need to specifically target those consumers most open to brand messaging in sponsorship as well as provides a specific roadmap that identifies those tactics likely to produce the most receptive fans. Until now, the sponsorship industry has focused more on fan passion and avidity to identify sponsorships and develop activation strategies; Decoding 2.0 reveals the need to also understand the importance of fan receptivity.

or

NOW DECODING

RECEPTIVITY

In sponsorship, there are three types of consumers – Receptives, Selectives, and Non-Receptives. Identifying and activating the right sponsorship is not about fan passion or avidity, it is about receptivity to a sponsor's message.

Receptivity
Comparison

2012

20%

of sports fans following one of the major sports was non-receptive — meaning they were not influenced by sponsorship.

2017

29%

of sports fans were not influenced by sponsorship, making it essential that sports marketers be strategic and plan their programs accordingly.

LEGEND Arrow right
RECEPTIVE
SELECTIVE
NON-RECEPTIVE

MILLENNIALS ARE MORE RECEPTIVE TO SPONSORS THAN OLDER GENERATIONS

18-34 (MILLENNIAL)
31%
49%
20%
35-54 (GEN X)
22%
44%
34%
55+ (BOOMER)
16%
50%
34%
OLDER VS YOUNGER MILLENNIALS
18-24
34%
52%
13%
25-34
29%
49%
22%

WOMEN ARE MORE RECEPTIVE TO SPONSORS THAN MEN

ALL
MALE
FEMALE

40%

38%

44%

25%

22%

31%

28%

26%

30%

26%

24%

31%

HISPANICS ARE THE MOST RECEPTIVE ETHNIC GROUP

33%

HISPANIC

23%

AFRICAN AMERICAN

21%

CAUCASIAN

18%

ASIAN

RECEPTIVITY ACROSS LIFESTYLE SEGMENTS

23%

SPORTS
FANS

50%

ESPORTS
FANS

36%

ENTERTAINMENT
ENTHUSIASTS

32%

FOODIES

31%

MUSIC
LOVERS
LEGEND
RECEPTIVE
SELECTIVE
NON-RECEPTIVE

ESPORTS FANS ARE GAME FOR SPONSORSHIP

eSports fans in general show the lowest levels of non-receptivity of any other fan segment, which is maintained across all video game genres.

FOODIES LOVE THEIR FOOD AND THEIR SPONSORSHIP MESSAGES

Foodies who attend specific events like festivals, demos and expos showed even higher levels of receptivity than Foodies overall. This is due, in part, to the endemic nature of certain brands and products to this lifestyle segment, which are showcased or highly visible at these specific kinds of events.

entertainment enthusiasts walk the red carpet for sponsors

Across the broad spectrum of entertainment, there are a wide range of sponsor opportunities and the majority enjoy a highly receptive fan base.

MUSIC Lovers feel the sponsor beat

While music lovers show fairly consistent levels of receptivity across genres, it is important to look at the individual genres of music when targeting fans.

the differences between receptives and selectives are the key to sponsorship success

Receptives
Selectives

61%

GENDER: MALE

40

AVERAGE AGE

69%

EDUCATION: COLLEGE +

46%

HAVE CHILDREN IN HH

$95K

HHI
GENDER: MALE

66%

AVERAGE AGE

42

EDUCATION: COLLEGE +

64%

HAVE CHILDREN IN HH

36%

HHI

$91K

ATTIDUTES
TOWARD
SPONSORSHIP

69%

I appreciate what a sponsor provides to the sports fan experience

57%

68%

Without corporate sponsorship, everything else would cost more for the fan

61%

64%

Sponsorships dollars are essential to the continued existence of sports

59%

63%

Money spent on sponsorship is no different than money spent on advertising

53%

59%

In general sponsors do a good job enhancing the fan experience

46%

differences
in sports
consumption
habits

61%

I enjoy the access I get to athletes / artists through social media

34%

46%

I get most of my sports news through social media

24%

69%

I know much more about my favorite teams and athletes than I did 3 years ago

47%

63%

I spend more time following sports now because of smartphones and other new technlogy

41%

49%

I can’t watch sports without also having my phone or mobile device to check stats or other scores

28%

Top
Activation
Tactics

98%

Receiving a branded giveaway (t-shirt, water bottle, etc.)

86%

96%

Receiving free tickets and hospitality to a sporting event/concert

83%

95%

Sampling a sponsor’s product (food) while attending an event

79%

94%

Participating in any sport-related promotion or sweepstakes

76%

93%

Testing a new product while attending an event (non-food)

76%

greatest
differences
among
selectives

86%

Signing up to receive offers related to my team

58%

85%

Participating in a sponsored promotion

58%

82%

Purchasing a product because a sponsor gave special access

54%

81%

Speaking to a sponsor representative at an event

52%

72%

Participating in a sponsored VR experience

48%

NEXT UP

Engagement and Consumption

WANT MORE DATA?

ENGAGEMENT — INSIGHTS WITHIN ACTIVATION AREAS

Sponsorships can offer brands unique ways to get their message in front of the right consumers. But not every activation is created equal, and fan behavior is difficult to predict. Just because a fan says they will engage with a sponsor’s message or product doesn’t mean they will.

LIKELIHOOD THAT SPORTS FANS WILL ENGAGE WITH A SPONSOR MESSAGE OR PRODUCT

90%

ONSITE AND LIVE ATTENDANCE

86%

PRODUCT DEMOS AND FOOD SAMPLING

78%

RETAIL-BASED PRACTICES

76%

DIGITAL AND SOCIAL MEDIA USAGE

67%

APP DOWNLOADS AND CODE SCANNING

51%

PHOTO/VIDEO SHARING ON SOCIAL
LEGEND Arrow right
RECEPTIVE
SELECTIVE

Receptives and Selectives are likely to engaged differently based on how a brand activates

Receptives are likely to interact with sponsors across virtually all types of activation. The most effective way to spur reaction among Receptives is online or through social media as well as through retail activation. This might include anything from an in-store display to branding on packaging. The challenge comes in convert Selectives.

The Impact and Influence of Digital & Social is Leading to Significant Changes in Fan Behavior

The 5-year trends show how relevant digital and social have become in the everyday life of sports fans. While TV, print and radio are still important, social media has fundamentally changed the ways that fans engage with the entire sports and entertainment ecosystem. understanding these ever-shifting nuances in consumption

2012
2017

33%

Technology and social media have brought me closer to my favorite team

41%

31%

Prefer reading sports sections of newspapers and print than going online or reading a tablet

27%

24%

I get most of my sports news through social media

39%

19%

Social media has replaced my need for watching sports and highlight shows on TV

35%

LEGEND Arrow right
GEN Z (18-24)
MILLENNIALS (25-34)
GEN X (35-54)
BABY BOOMERS (55+)

Capitalize on social by knowing what fans like to consume on different platforms

Most fans prefer to engage with their favorite teams and brands on Twitter and Facebook. They are not yet as keen to follow brands on platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, which is where they typically engage most with their favorite athletes

It is no surprise that the Millennial and Gen Z generations are engaged the most on social. However, it was surprising that Millennials tend to be more engaged with brands, teams, and athletes on social than their Gen Z counterparts.

SELECT SOCIAL MEDIA

Fan Profiles

For receptive sports fans, the devil is in the details. Decoding 2.0 breaks the code and helps marketers understand what makes fans tick based on a range of demographics and psychographics data points. Ultimately, it helps brands understand what all that means for their consumption and engagement habits.

A Profile of Doug

A committed sports fan, Doug doesn’t discriminate when it comes to how he gets his sports. Either on TV or live and in-person, he will watch. And while he uses the internet to catch up on sports news, you’ll be more likely to find him using it to keep in touch with friends and family, either through email or on Facebook.

89% likely to subscribe to Cable TV, with a 21% chance of also having an NFL subscription package

Mostly watches TV for shows and movies and sports, but also makes sure to get his news fix

Spends 21 hours online per week, mainly emailing and surfing the web

Averages 8 hours per week on Facebook, but uses it to keep in touch with friends and family

Sports is his main passion, and he has found a way to balance consuming them with his other interests

Realizes he can use technology to better follow sports, but still thinks live sports are the best

A Profile of Micah

Micah is a sports fan for the modern age. TV, laptop, mobile phone, it doesn’t matter…he’ll be watching sports however he can get it, and he always has his phone in his hand, even if he’s not streaming the game on it. His social media habits are also geared towards following teams and athletes almost as much as his family and friends, especially since he uses social media and the internet to stay up to date on the latest sports news.

83% likely to subscribe to Cable TV, but twice as likely as Doug to use a streaming service

Mostly watches TV for shows and movies, and less so for sports than other live events like concerts and cooking shows

Spends 20 hours online per week, mainly on YouTube and catching up on emails

Averages almost 18 hours per week on Instagram and Snapchat in order to follow friends, family, and sports

Loves sports and leverages technology to better engage with the sports he wants to follow

Despite all his online sports engagement, he still thinks live sports are more exciting than concerts

A Profile of Julie

Julie loves watching TV and going online, but has a wide variety of interests, not just sports. In fact, she’d rather be watching TV shows and movies, home improvement shows, or programs on travel and cooking than sports. But that doesn’t mean she isn’t a sports fan, as she uses technology and the internet to bring her closer to her favorite teams and sports.

87% likely to subscribe to Cable TV, and is more likely to watch sports programming than younger female sports fans like Melissa

Mostly watches TV for shows and movies, as well as DIY, travel, and cooking shows

Spends 27 hours online per week, mainly emailing, shopping, and on social media

Most of her time online is spent on Facebook, where she keeps in touch with friends and family

Embraces technology and how it helps her stay up-to-date with sports news and to watch games

Has an emotional investment in sports, as its always been a part of her life, but it isn’t a daily passion

A Profile of Melissa

Melissa likes sports but it’s not a big part of her daily consumption. TV watching is mostly spent on shows, movies and travel; and online, she surfs the web and shops. But it’s on social media where she’s frequently engaging with sports teams as well as friends, family, and celebs.

82% likely to subscribe to Cable TV, with a 20% chance that she uses a streaming service too

Mostly watches TV for a variety of shows, with sports not really on the radar

Spends 25 hours online per week, mainly emailing, shopping, and surfing the web

Averages 15 hours per week on Instagram, using it to follow and engage with everyone and everything, especially sports teams

Loves using technology to feel closer to her friends, family, and favorite sports teams and athletes

Only marginally sees a live sporting event as more exciting than other live events

GENERAL CONSUMPTION FAST FACTS

50% of Sports Fans have watched ESPN/ESPN2 in the past 7 days

TNT and Fox Sports are second and third most watched channels

NFL RedZone and NFL Sunday Ticket are the most popular sports packages among sports fans

34% of Millennials with a Twitter account follow a Sports Team on Twitter – most of any other social platform (31% Facebook, 26% Instagram)

36% of Sports Fans have watched a Live Sporting Event on a smart phone or Tablet in the last year

WANT MORE DATA?

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