BLOG: Split Screen Sunday

Following what is arguably one of the most incredible sporting Sundays in living memory, the traditional rating figures for the F1 British Grand Prix, Men’s ICC Cricket World Cup and Wimbledon Finals were released the following day.

With Sky Sports releasing coverage to a free-to-air audience on Channel 4, 8.3 million people watched the drama of a Super Over unfold, whilst a peak of 9.6m watched Novak Djokovic’s victory over Roger Federer in an equally titanic battle at Wimbledon and a further 3.7m viewers tuning in to see Lewis Hamilton win a record-breaking sixth British Grand Prix. In addition, the Netball World Cup in Liverpool was in its first weekend on Sky Sports and live-streamed in the UK by Sky Sports over YouTube.

However, on an afternoon described as ‘Split Screen Sunday’ by Sports Pro writer Eoin Connolly, two interesting topics were at the forefront of conversation here at InCrowd:

Servicing Fans

The debate around OTT vs Traditional Broadcast has been rumbling for a while now, but if anything, Sunday 14th July highlighted that ultimately fans don’t care through which platform the sport is delivered, as long as they can watch it. With 3 events happing concurrently, fans were left to argue which event took precedent and made it on to the TV, before utilising laptops, phones and tablets to stream the rest of the action. Clearly, this is a challenge, not only to the fan experience but to the whole concept of ‘attention’ which is so fundamental to the broadcast commercial model.

As a ‘Pom’ living in Australia, I’ve had the pleasure of using the Fox Sports-backed OTT service Kayo Sports, which includes a split-screen option that allows viewers to watch up to four streams at once. With sports scheduling becoming ever more congested, it will be interesting to see how broadcasters & rightsholders use technology to adapt to this challenge.

Audience Understanding

Whilst the traditional broadcast figures highlighted the impact that the sporting drama had on mass audiences, it was digital where the conversation and engagement were really happening. You only need to look at Google Trends to see the incredible spike that occurred when people grabbed their phones to Google what a ‘Super Over’ was!

As sport grapples with an explosion of media platforms and channels, it is becoming more and more important for sports rightsholders to own these conversations on digital, and to understand the ‘fans behind the figures’. For example, the BBC’s live feed broke records by recording 3.9m unique browsers…but how many of this 3.9m are known to the rightsholders of Cricket, Tennis & F1? Traditional figures behind the broadcast, ticketing and merchandise only tell a part of the engagement story. At InCrowd, we are delving into more and more data sources to not only identify each fan but to uncover & understand their emotional attachments to the sport. This ensures that sports can communicate and develop new relationships with each fan on a more personal level.

Sunday 14th July was undoubtedly the best sporting day of the year; big sporting moments saw big viewing numbers and new fans were brought into the worlds of Cricket, Tennis and Formula 1. But who are these fans? Data and real audience understanding would ensure that these relationships can be nurtured and harnessed over the subsequent 364 days…


Source Material:

More than a logo – why experiences are the new impressions


Yes, you’ve probably heard it everywhere. It has rapidly gained traction as a celebratory phrase worth yelling at almost any social event. From a Saturday afternoon in the pub to the Augusta National Golf Club where “Dilly Dilly” was banned from being shouted by golf fans at the Masters this month.

AB InBev’s recent Bud Light campaign has echoes of their famous Budweiser “Whassup” campaign from 1999, which achieved ‘‘talk value’’ – the elusive quality that converts advertising campaigns and phrases into cultural touchstones. Just like the “Whassup” campaign, “Dilly Dilly” launched during TV spots in the USA around the NFL, building towards the brands 2018 Super Bowl slot.

By January 2018 Dilly Dilly was being mentioned 175,000 times a month on social media. The term alone searched over 300,000 times on average per month.

So, what does Dilly Dilly mean?

“It doesn’t mean anything…and that’s the beauty of it” confessed Miguel Patricio, AB InBev’s CMO. “I think we all need our moments of nonsense and fun, and in a way Dilly Dilly represents that”. Love it or hate it, in a world where billions of advertising spend is invested into sales focused SEO and programmatic campaigns, Dilly Dilly provides a refreshing example of a campaign focused on being fun and improving consumer experiences with the brand.

For those Masters fans who were banned from shouting Dilly Dilly, Bud Light distributed Dilly Dilly caps at the event. They announced on social media that “if thou cannot say Dilly Dilly, thou can still wear Dilly Dilly!”.

Fan Experiences - Dilly Dilly

Experiences is a key aspect of AB InBev’s brand communications. This is no more apparent than in how they are approaching their new and existing sponsorship agreements. A recent article in Forbes, which caused a stir on LinkedIn, outlined how AB InBev were launching a new incentive-based sponsorship model. True, on field incentive-based sponsorship models are certainly nothing new. But what stood out was how off field incentives, such as a new rights holder digital platform that engages fans or increases awareness, might spur larger pay outs.

So why is this?

Ricardo Marques, VP of Budweiser explained that “it’s no longer about the signage or the size of a logo in the stadium anymore. It’s about what people talk about and the experience they take away and talk about later”. Whether at the stadium, at the pub or at home alcohol brands have the perfect opportunity to provide a passionate sports fan a great experience that, at a relatively low customer acquisition cost, has the potential to capture incremental retail sales from engaged fans.

Within the alcohol sponsorship sector, technology is the key driver to improving fan experiences and ensuring vital brand affinity. Budweiser used ‘Touchdown Glasses’ to bring the NFL stadium experience to all fans, whilst XXXX Gold launched their tech enabled Goldie caps during last winters Ashes series. Both these cases highlight that enhancing fan experiences and driving engagement is far more important than logo badging.


And technology is the key.

Fan Experiences - XXXX Goldie Caps with iBeacons

Find out more about how InCrowd works with alcohol brands and rightsholders to improve fan experiences through technology. Please email or head to

Dilly Dilly!


How Sport Sponsorship can Develop more Valuable Digital Rights

In 2015, the UK became the first country in the world where digital took over 50% of total ad spend (emarketer), greater than the combined efforts of TV, print, outdoor and radio. However, this is not the case in sport sponsorship where digital benefits are often a footnote to a rights schedule.

Advertisers are accustomed to the benefits of digital – it is targeted, flexible, trackable and quick to activate. If sport sponsorship could mix these advantages with the natural passion a fan has for a club or league then the value of sponsorship rights could be dramatically increased.

The next five years are going to be an interesting time for sponsorship and it is essential that rights holders not only retain their digital assets but nurture these too. Without embracing and investing in technology, clubs risk becoming less relevant to their fans and losing touch with an ever changing commercial landscape.

Here are four examples of how digital rights can improve sponsorship:

Product Launches

LaunchCurrently sport sponsorship does not lend itself to short term campaigns. It takes a long time to sell and is difficult to activate, usually involving experienced agencies at no small expense.

Take a product like a new Hollywood film; the marketing team behind the film’s release will not want to be tied into a 3-5 year period of spend which is common for sport sponsorship. Rights holders should instead offer a digital package that enables a concentrated two month campaign rather than ignoring these substantial marketing budgets.

Targeted Advertising

Targeted MarketingAll brands understand their customer demographic. When sponsoring a sports club or event there is often a large amount of ‘waste’. If, for example, a financial services company is looking to target consumers aged over 35, with a household income of £X and live in a specific location then this might only make up 10% of a club’s fan base.

A sports club with well-established digital rights and could take a lower rights fee and enable the financial services company to target the 10% of the fan base that they are interested in. This then frees up the remaining 90% of fans for a different company to target.

Direct Engagement

DirectOne of the fantastic things about sport is how willing fans are to interact with their favourite team or event. Vitality, a life insurance company, use sponsorship to encourage fans to calculate their “Vitality Health Age”. Whilst fans are unlikely to directly download an insurance app or visit an insurance website, if the Vitality Health Age Calculator is integrated into the England Cricket app then these fans are able to interact with an insurance company in a digital environment that they enjoy being on.

Local Affiliations

Local StadiumThere are many companies local to a sports team who would like an affiliation with the team beyond the level a hospitality package can get them but without the marketing budgets of pan UK brands. A local car dealership for example could have a dedicated section of a club’s official app for their clients and employees. The dealership would generate value through pointing their clients to sponsored content in the app but would not need to access the wider fan base.

Currently these local sponsors take some signage around the pitch which reduces the value for bigger sponsors as well as creating a more cluttered commercial environment. A digital approach would provide these companies with the advertising they need but without affecting bigger sponsorship rights.

It is a simple fact that we are consuming ever more digital media, particularly on mobile where in the UK we spend two hours on our smartphones every day (Ofcom). As a result, digital media can and should be an integral part of every live sport event and we are starting to see a shift in sport sponsorship to cater for this demand. Clubs, events and other sports rights holders will enjoy greater revenues from these sponsorship rights in the five years.