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How sports brands have pivoted during the pandemic

27 April 2020

Necessity is the mother of invention. This statement couldn’t be more true at the moment when so many businesses have had to adapt to the lockdown and some even have had to repurpose their services. The businesses that normally rely on audiences, sporting events and people being generally out and about have had to shift to online platforms. Moreover, sports fans have also been left hungry for great entertainment and something to watch while their favourite sports are on hold. Let’s take a look how some of the sports companies have handled this change.

Going for Nostalgia

In the absence of football matches, Manchester United have had to fall back on their library of old content. They’ve been streaming Zoom chats, discussing their favourite football moments, and replaying previous match highlights and top goals in the club’s history on their app.

manchester united app

This not only refers back to Manchester United’s rich history, but reminds their fans about some of the greatest moments of the club. It’s a great opportunity to reinforce the brand’s success without appearing to be living in the past.

Similarly, the BBC have been showing World Snooker replays and Sky’s Cricket YouTube channel has been showing discussions about past matches, as well as the sport in general with some of the older cricket players.

This situation has highlighted the importance of documenting content to be able to use it in times like these. For any emerging content publisher, this will be a valuable takeaway to prepare for the future.

Streaming Events Online

Bongo’s Bingo, who traditionally sell out their live events, moved over to streaming on Twitch. They’ve successfully recreated the same quirky atmosphere and have been cheering people up with their usual mix of bingo, rave and banter.

Similarly, Forza Football, who normally list football livescores, line ups and match highlights, have also started streaming. They’ve gone for Trivia HQ style quizzes about football, running different themes every day. This not only keeps football fans entertained and engaged, but draws them back to the app and reinforces Forza’s brand in the football world.

Playing eSports

The esports industry has been experiencing increased viewership and interaction across the globe. Betting operators have started to focus more on esports tournaments and F1 players have been racing online to offer their fans some entertainment while all championships are off.

Premier League has been hosting ePremierLeague Fifa matches with football players, streaming on their Twitch channel. It’s a great way to fill the gap, create new and different experiences with real players, as well as engaging with the fans and offering more light entertainment.

Esports has a great cross-over with hip hop too. A lot of rappers have been joining leading esports players on game live streams or doing performances within games. Following Marshmello’s first ever online performance in Fortnite, Travis Scott recently launched a series of performances within the game too, appearing in that universe with surreal visuals. It’s created another dimension for entertainment and we could see more performances within esports in the future.

While the lockdown may be temporary and we hope sporting events will gradually return in the near future, this has shown the resilience of the industry and the fans. Lots of businesses have adapted to the new challenges and found new ways of bringing great entertainment to their audiences.

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