Historically, the commercialisation of sport has been driven largely by optimising the commercial process in order to extract as much value as possible from the existing sporting ‘product’. We believe that this approach leaves value on the table.
Commercial success in sport is ultimately driven by the passion of fans – the number that follow and the extent to which they care. To earn their passion, sport must both recognise and emphasise that it is differentiated from other forms of entertainment – fans appreciate athlete skill based on their own experiences, sport is exciting because it is unscripted, and it creates authentic narratives that appeal to our natural instincts about people, success, failure and endeavour.
In the attention economy, where young fans have more demands on their time than ever before, sport must do all it can to remain relevant, requiring it to:
Inspire fans through the quality of athletes and teams
Excite fans through high levels of uncertainty and jeopardy in the competition
Engage fans in a way that makes them care
Sport that authentically ignites the passion of fans in this way will naturally grow the commercial value of any related rights, thus growing revenue to be reinvested into the sport, creating a virtuous cycle (the “TFG Flywheel”) that delivers sustainable growth for the long term.