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Sports Brands & Rights Holders: 5 Tips To Use UGC To Improve The Non-Matchday Experience

One of the tougher parts of being a sports fan is the time between match days. Waiting around can feel like a real slog. But it doesn’t have to be.

While fans pine for their heroes to take to track, pitch and field, there is a massive opportunity to build anticipation and nurture community online—and rights holders have an army of volunteers ready to fill the space with their thoughts and feelings.

So, how do you use user-generated content (UGC) to keep the hive buzzing during non-match days?

We collected five suggestions that, as a sports marketer, you should bear in mind when creating a UGC campaign.

Enjoy the reading ✨

Tip 1: Make sure it’s video

According to Hubspot’s 2021 marketing report, video is far and away the best way to market yourself—with 87% of video marketers saying that video now gives them improved ROI (up from 33% in 2015), with 94% saying that videos have increased user understanding of their product or service.

Additionally, 62% of marketers consider video engagement the top metric.

87% of marketers says that video improved their ROI

How do we translate this impact to the world of sports? In fact, it’s already been done.

Take Sky Sports, for example, which is excellent at leveraging video-UGC to add colour to its live cricket coverage.

Children (and adults) around the world make homemade videos of themselves bowling cricket balls in their gardens, with in-studio pundits analysing their efforts and sharing tips on improving their technique.

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Source: Sky Sports YouTube

This is relevant content—made by fans of the sport—for dissemination on live television. It makes for refreshing watching (with an underlying educational angle) during breaks in play when viewer engagement would otherwise drop off.

There’s no reason why major sporting brands can’t replicate Sky Sports’ campaign to put fans in the spotlight during the week.

👉 Takeaways

  • Video is the best-performing content — the stats prove it
  • The sporting world has already noticed this, especially in the more sedate cricketing world
  • Compile fan-made videos as part of competitions to boost engagement

Tip 2: Ask fans to join you in creating content — they want to

Wyng (formerly Offerpop) found that more than 50% of consumers want brands to tell them what kinds of content to create and share… while only 16% of brands do it.

Doing this is an excellent starting point for building specific narratives around your brand, and it gives loyal fans a jumping-off point that creates discourse without having to rely entirely on your

content team.

Arsenal FC regularly uses its Twitter to ask fans what players they would like to see training pictures of. The club then retweets a fan’s response with training pictures for that player.

It’s simple, effective, and turns non-match days into an opportunity to ask fans what they want, and then give it to them.

👉 Takeaways

  • Fans are waiting to be asked to make content
  • Use engagement as an avenue for content generation and distribution

Tip 3: Hybridise your content (aka Let The Intern Take Over)

According to Nielsen’s Global Trust in Advertising Report, 92% of consumers say they trust UGC over all other forms of advertising.

In 2018, Danish football team FC Nordsjælland gave a GoPro camera to their intern, a 14 year old fan of the club, and gave him free rein over the stadium and training ground. He interviewed players, including asking the club’s star striker why he wasn’t scoring goals (!)

The club then edited the footage and published the final video on YouTube.

Fans loved it. They watched one of their own, a fellow, wide-eyed fan, enjoy a VIP pass to their club—an authentic “dream come true” story that made for excellent content.

You should hybridise your content because it leverages the awesome power of fan-made content, while also exercising your brand’s editorial control. It’s the best of both worlds.

👉 Takeaways

  • Club-sponsored UGC is still UGC—do it
  • Use any excuse to add a user-generated twist to branded content

PS. Watch the intern’s video (in Danish)

Tip 4: Identify, Analyse, Archive, Redistribute

Every time a piece of UGC gains traction, your job gets more interesting… and slightly easier.

Non-matchdays aren’t just about distributing content—get out there and start collecting content.

Firstly, a library of good content is never a bad thing. It gives you a better chance to analyse what differentiates the most successful UGC from the rest.

And… you also have a folder full of great UGC that you know performed well in the past—perfect for a “Throwback Thursday”.

👉 Takeaways

  • Use non-matchdays to collect the best UGC content
  • Analyse and template successful content for future campaigns
  • Reuse the best-performing UGC for slow news days between matches

Tip 5: Collate and Curate UGC Content

Just because there isn’t a match day to celebrate doesn’t mean fans don’t want to support their teams. One of the most attractive propositions for a fan is for highly engaging feeds filled with their favourite content.

With fans unable to attend the Tokyo 2020 Olympics during the coronavirus pandemic, Team GB worked with Amondo's platform to bring together the best UGC and fan support for Team GB from social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok) — as well direct submissions to Amondo.

More than 2,500 UGC posts were displayed over the Games period, with over 200,000 impressions and more than 300 UGC submissions over 16 days.

👉 Takeaways

  • Fans will engage in and interact with branded content during online and offline events
  • Curated feeds consisting of UGC generate interactions and follow-up submissions

Find out more about how Amondo’s helped Team GB to bridge the gap between its fans and athletes over Tokyo Olympics in our case study.

✨ In Summary

Non-matchdays are a valuable tool that major sports brands can get more out of by leveraging UGC—and there are already examples of it working in the world of sports.

UGC from Tweets to TikToks drive online engagement in sports fans—who are willing and ready to create content in the name of their favourite teams (especially if there’s a chance to get their fifteen minutes of fame).

Hybridising your content lets you maintain editorial control while engaging the creative imaginations of your fans. Use any excuse to add UGC to your branded content. It creates “sticky” content.

Non-matchdays are opportunities not just to distribute content, but to collect it too. You can then measure, archive, repackage and redistribute the content in the future.

Finally, collate and curate your best UGC into dedicated feeds to achieve super-strong engagement. Amondo is the digital experience platform that enables you to create these feeds (we call them “Imprints”) that you can embed and share anywhere online—and you can monetise them too.

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