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Sports Businesses are Failing Off Pitch

Article date: Mon, 13 Dec 2010 12:38 GMT

UKFast round table

Sports clubs finish last in the league table of online growth when compared to other industries, according to experts.

As technology improves and breeds a heavier demand for customer interaction from businesses, sport clubs must increase investments in marketing game plans off the pitch if they wish to drive valuable revenue. This is the key message from UKFast's business of sport round table.

The Sports industry has become a hot topic online. The experts at the UKFast round table believe this should encourage clubs to take advantage of the internet's strength and reach target audiences 24/7.

However, having a loyal community on your doorstep stops businesses from stepping outside of the comfort zone and growing markets any bigger.

Paul Harris, marketing director at UKFast said, "In most other industries only 20 per cent is a loyal customer base and then you have to fight for the other 80 per cent of business. Businesses find new people all the time and convince them. They tend to work harder to push the envelope more.

Nathan Bombrys, commercial director at Sale Sharks disagreed that this was the attitude at board level but did add; "Sports clubs aren't milking loyal fans like businesses do with consumers, sweating assets. Too many clubs have business models that rarely break even, that's because they put most of their money onto the pitch and hope that it brings all of the rewards."

The experts agreed that even some of the most popular clubs in the world, like Manchester united, are missing a huge opportunity. They are not building on the players as assets and the equity in them. Paul Harris, questioned why 'waynerooney.com', doesn't exist.

Raj Khaira managing director of InToro Skins proposed, "The market for player domain names will be huge and will become a business in its own right, being the next step in the convergence of internet and sports".

Whilst other industries are taking Technological strides, with mobile sites, notifications, email and social media, premiership clubs are failing to take advantage of the resources at their fingertips.

Talking at the round table, Iain Evans, managing Director at Alexander Events said, "I can't understand why clubs aren't interacting with the fans at matches like they do in American football. And during the matches, they should be using technology, like Mobile Apps, and notifications to connect with audiences."

Crucially it was agreed that the sporting world has fallen behind as technology has increased the opportunities to engage with a fanatical audience. Successful clubs of the future will place the web and interactivity at the forefront in order to drive record revenues

Also at the round table was Paul McNally, marketing manager of Salford Reds. The round table discussions are held in association with UKFast with the aim of uniting business leaders to share advice and provide a wealth of ideas for other developing companies.


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