Advertisers are always searching for better ways to reach their (new) customers. It seems that in the last couple of months advertisers ”have discovered” fantasy sports. Of course they were aware of the huge interest…
Of course they were aware of the huge interest that the demographic group of males between the age of 25 and 50 had for fantasy sports, but in the last couple of months sponsoring got more intensive. One of the reasons for that is the US law regulation that makes organisation of such online skill-based contests very difficult. That is why, for instance, Unilever (through Dove+Men Care) and Toyota decided to be sponsors, rather than the organisers themselves.
Unilever chose to cooperate with ESPN, whose experts give advice to fantasy football fans who are at the same time Dove Men+Care products’ customers. Toyota is concurrently sponsoring fantasy football league recaps published on Yahoo! Fantasy Football League.
We checked out the situation in Europe, where fantasy sports are popular, though not nearly as much as they are in the US.
UEFA Champions League Fantasy is organised under the Sony PlayStation sponsorship. The main content is branded with Sony and PlayStation and the main prizes are Sony products, but there is only a slight portion of published content that is being sponsored. Also, there are no extra widgets or information users can share, so potential for “word of mouth” or viral promotion is very low.
Ideas: Create a part of the website with content including predictions, previews, tips & tricks and social media activity where fans would give their own advice about their team to other users (“John Doe has been playing amazing in the last couple of weeks. He will probably also start the next match and he is much quicker than Patrick Doe in the visiting team.” – that kind of information). That would give users a better opportunity to be a part of the Fantasy League and also a “reason” to promote it.
ULEB Euroleague as a “basketball Champions League” managed to build a high-quality reputation in the last couple of years. With special emphasis being put on emotion and devotion, basketball fans feel deeply connected to the Euroleague.
The same can not be said for bwin Euroleague Fantasy Challenge. It is prectically hidden on the homepage (placed in submenu Devotion) with yet an another surprise when you open it. You are “welcomed” with this screen
This is not just a part of the screen. This is the screen.
Nothing besides that. No call-to-action, no incentives for potential users, nothing. It is branded with one of the main sponsors – a betting company bwin. Period.
Ideas: Include Fantasy Challenge as a widget on the Euroleague homepage. Make proper call-to-action buttons and communication messages. Fantasy Challenge homepage has to be more appealing to basketball fans. Give them a reason to come again even if they haven’t registered yet. Give them the possibility to collect some “fantasy points” or something similar and then invite them to register.
When you visit the EHF Champions League website (www.ehfcl.com), you can easily come to the conclusion that there is no Fantasy Manager for handball. If you are a hardcore handball fan, you will probably also come across the Velux Handball Energy website (www.handballenergy.com) where you can easily spot the ad for Velux on Facebook (Velux is the main EHF Champions League sponsor) or the Velux Shop (they produce and sell window blinds), however the ad for Handball Manager is very well hidden.
Similar to Euroleague Fantasy Challenge, Handball Manager is not giving away too much information or incentives on their homepage. There is, however, at least the possibility to enter the mailing list so you would get reminders about the next season.
Ideas: Inform Champions League website’s visitors about the Handball Manager. It goes the same for handball as it did for basketball – the Handball Manager homepage has to be more appealing to handball fans. Give them a reason to come again even if they haven’t register yet. Give them the possibility to collect some “fantasy points” or something similar and then invite them to register.
Tennis had some sort of ATP Fantasy Challenge back in 2012 – check it here
Waterpolo has an unofficial contest – here, but only among their 512 Facebook fans.
Volleyball also has an unofficial contest – here
It is not rather surprising to see football as the fantasy leader among other sports in Europe. But even so, there is plenty room for improvements regarding content creation, sponsors’ involvement and branding. Basketball and handball are making some kind of an effort, but the feel & look is not that good. It seems as if they have created the fantasy league just so they could say that they have one, disregarding the fact that no development strategy or vision has been put into it.
UEFA, ULEB and EHF people, if you are reading this, feel free to contact us so we could work together and help you #createEMOTIONS and increase your value for your sponsors and fans.
What do you think about fantasy sports situation in Europe? What would be your ideas and suggestions?