Footballs Netballs and Eyeballs

Eyeballs May Be The Most Important Object In Today’s Sporting Environment.

The C (Connected) Generation

Thanks to the internet and real time broadcasting, accessibility to information and stream entertainment from across the globe happens as quickly as a click of a button. And with the advent of social media, it further amplifies communication, making the present a much more exciting landscape especially since everyone can offer personal opinions for all to read, comment and scrutinise.

This new dynamic has formed a powerful demographic in society – which in 2010, Nielsen, a global information and measurement company, coined the term, “Generation C” – (the C stands for “Connected”) for the powerful strata of society who sway opinion and support by sharing their passions (such as sport) and influencing others via social media to follow and support such passions.

I myself am a big user of Facebook and am proactive in sharing with my colleagues, friends and network around the world what I am doing, where I am and also helping them to connect with each other. I also had the fortune of being able to support Team Singapore in its Commonwealth Games efforts at Glasgow and it was heartening to see the breadth of achievements including Joseph Schooling gifting Singapore’s first medal in Swimming at the Commonwealth Games and Derek Wong’s amazing semi-final Badminton come back for a chance at the Gold. On Facebook, the Prime Minister, took the time to congratulate all the athletes for winning 8 Gold, 5 Silver and 4 Bronze medals and I am aware that many other public figures including the Chef de Mission of the Commonwealth games, Low Teo Ping, have offered a variety of points of view about the Games and sports via Facebook, Twitter and blogs.

Essentially in such a connected world, we must contend with many stimuli, distractions and “white noise” to find something that we are passionate about. In Singapore’s sporting environment, our own super-connected society and Generation C presents both a marketing challenge and an opportunity.

Liking the Netball Singapore Facebook Page
Since the Mission Food Asian Championships, the Netball Singapore Facebook page has gone from 12,000 to 14,000+ likes.

Sports = Eyeballs
It is now important for a modern sport organisation to be able to stand out from amongst the crowd. Accordingly, it must ensure its brand, marketing efforts and channels of communication are clear and strong. A modern sport organisation must be savvy enough to capture the attention of the public (“eyeballs”), then keep that attention long enough to convert a viewer into a fan (or follower) and perhaps even into a participant of that sport. How that participant transforms into an athlete for the sport is another life cycle in itself.

It is an obvious equation that the more eyeballs a sporting organisation can attract, the better the proposition they can offer to capture sponsorship opportunities and alternative forms of revenue.

However, the difficulty lies in crafting a brand message that resonates with Generation C. A modern sports organisation must have the capabilities to arm itself in a variety of ways and aside from the “product” of the sport itself, it must possess the proficiency in managing a strong  brand positioning and ensure brand consistency in order to stay afloat and relevant  amidst all the static. 

fans taking selfie with athlete
A moment to upload at the Rugby World Club 10's.

Today, athletes are not just about on field performance…

It’s important to note that even “on the field” social media has a part to play.

“Athletes are first of all human beings. And, as humans they all have emotions and are part of a social context they both influence and are affected by. Identifying an athlete with simply his/her performance is like looking at a F1 car from the mere point of view of its engine – many more things are to be taken into account, including aerodynamics, chassis and tyres. There are many examples in the history of sport where the social impact of athletes has played a big role in their acquisition; sometimes more than their actual performance on the field…in the real world, however, everything is regulated by the laws of supply and demand. Hence the perceived quality of an athlete does not only lie in his/her performance but also in the impact such an athlete has on the public opinion and on social media”, says Erik Cambria, PhD, Assistant Professor, Nanyang Technological University.

Accordingly, I am excited to highlight that the Singapore Sports Institute is making some real inroads into the ability to measure the impact of an athlete with “big data analysis” combining disciplines such as social network analysis, multimedia management, social media analytics, organisational development assessment, trend discovery and opinion mining. With such a holistic analytical approach, we strive to be the cutting edge “team around the team” for Team Singapore. 

 Chief Bob Gambardella, Singapore Sports Institute

Chief Bob Gambardella captures the action
Chief Bob Gambardella captures the action.

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