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Exclusive Comments: The Rise Of Digital Content In Sports Broadcast

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In an exclusive interview with Ministry of Sport, I Want It Yesterday co-founder, Claudio Fabiano, discussed the rise of digital content in sport and what all sporting organisations and broadcasters need to do better to succeed.

Explaining the concept of I Want It Yesterday, and how it came about and began to thrive in the COVID-19 environment with the shutdown of global sports, Fabiano said the nature and behaviours of sports audiences have changed.

“I Want It Yesterday is a production agency specialising in digital sports content for Gen-Z audiences,” Fabiano told Ministry of Sport.

“We’re a group of digital-native creators, average age is 23, from diverse backgrounds, and we’ve found that we’re not being properly represented in today’s sports media industry.

“We can see broadcast rights becoming more and more fragmented as fan consumption behaviours change.

“Almost all broadcasters in Australia are struggling to connect with anyone under the age of 30.

“A lot of current commercial models are heavily reliant on protecting the live game on TV, and even though there’s an obvious drive towards OTT, there needs to be a greater focus on staying relevant between match days on a range of channels.

“Gen-Z’s grew up with a mobile phone in their hands, a lot of these people make up our team at I Want It Yesterday, and that’s all they know.

“They may know little about the traditional linear world, but they know the power of authenticity, relevancy and timing for digital channels.

“An obvious change required straight away is the need for new talent to represent younger, more diverse fan bases.

“Broadcasters need to open their doors to talent who can connect with audiences on a more cultural level.

“These may be influencers or creators who already have their own channels and it’s a case of cultivating and growing their influence.

“We need to keep driving for new content formats, telling new stories, athlete-driven stories, whilst tapping into cultural elements which fuel sport such as food, gaming, fashion, music, etc.,” he said.

Talking about some positives to take out from a turbulent last 12 months, Fabiano said Australian broadcasters and sporting organisations found themselves in a position to try new things.

“One obvious behavioural change was that fans were spending more time consuming and engaging with content on all platforms, however with little or no live sport, broadcasters had to get creative,” Fabiano said.

“A great example was how we worked with beIN Sports Australia on the ‘E-Liga Show’ in partnership with EA Sports.

“The show leveraged the popular football game FIFA 20 to simulate match fixtures and produce a magazine-style show on virtual outcomes.

“It was a good time to pivot and test, a lot of broadcasters and sports federations had a lot of digital content ideas sitting on the shelf which could be produced in a remote capacity.

“Our recent work with Tennis Australia was also interesting, as we supported the launch of their first ever Australian Open Snapchat show in February this year, specifically targeting Gen-Z audiences.

“This crazy COVID-19 period gave everyone in sport a chance to think outside the box, with an always-on approach to content that doesn’t just rely on the 80 or 90 minutes on the park, new ways of working collaboratively and remotely, and diversifying content revenue streams.

“I would like to think digital broadcast will play a bigger role in the future.

“In Australia there’s still a big focus on the role of digital content supporting linear broadcast, however in other markets like the UK and US they are throwing resources at stand-alone, platform specific content for more diverse groups of fans,” he said.

When asked what advice he would give to sporting organisations trying to fully embrace digital content in the post-COVID-19 world, Fabiano told Ministry of Sport: “Know your audience, you don’t have to be all things to all people.”

“It’s really key to protect and grow your fan base, however it is equally important to diversify your content strategy to open up to a slightly wider audience.

“We’re also very passionate about supporting younger people who may have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19 and encourage sports organisations to onboard a new generation of sports creators,” Fabiano told Ministry of Sport.

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