Team Sports No Longer Fulfill The Needs Of Teens Anymore

The Irreversible Change of Personal Sport Sharing

As co-founder of a sport startup I’ve had many conversations with my future customers. On many occasions— read: rainy Tuesday nights on remote football clubs and very early brisk Saturday mornings — I observed and talked to teenage football players about their behaviour on and off the pitch. And as part of our beta program I’m still in contact with them through online surveys and live interviews, learning and getting valuable insights in why they do the things they do.

Talking about your own sport is too boring

The young football enthousiasts are different in many ways, but have a few basic things in common. They’re fast thinkers and often self-educated tech savvies with unlimited online sources. As they get access to the digital freedom, they prefer peer-to-peer social media, use messaging apps and play games as a natural born activity.

But when it comes down to sharing their own sports data there’s undoubtedly a big gap between the live experience on the field and the conversation about it online. Apparently, there’s no need to highlight themselves to their friends with their match results, to post video’s of amazing actions or make a comparison with other players. In other words, talking about your own sport is too boring.

Sure, the social media numbers speak for themselves. Millions of monthly active users on the social channels and messenger platforms around the world share sport data. Facebook alone has 500 million ‘hardcore football fans’. But almost all the updates, likes, snaps, gifs and retweets are about pre-game excitement, historic nostalgia photos and videos, funny moments, game debates and the statistics of the pro’s. And they outnumber big time the posts about personal sport results, emotions, local team stories and personal stats.

So, what’s the reason why online conversations about sports are huge, but sharing personal sports data on your favorite social platform is not done?

What I’ve learned from interviewing the many young soccer athletes from different ages, level and gender, when it comes down to sport, one thing is crucial. They want to be entertained en need to be challenged. They know sport statistics from gaming, but can’t find the right tools for their own sports. They want to chat about sport rather than reading long texts. And they want to relive their moments instantly instead of waiting days for footage to appear online. The future of sport experience for the upcoming generation with the short attention span needs tapping these demands.

An irreversible change in the sports sector will shape the industry massively

But…. the change has already started. With the major technology trends creating great opportunities for new ways of sport experience, we stand before a point of no return. An irreversible change in the sports sector, addressing personal sport engagement, will shape the industry the coming years massively. Traditional online endorsement of the pro athletes will slowly but surely shift towards peer-to-peer comparison. It creates exposure for every player, resulting in a big change of the game. New heroes will come on stage and they’re obviously the one’s who will adjust the fastest in these new circumstances.

Snaps of the Cross Bar Challenge (SC playincredible)

For now, we make the young team sporters aware that personal sport data — in its widest form — is accessible for them, communicating in a way it fits them. We started to learn from them and interact in the most convenient way with challenges and giving them a online podium. For example, we introduced the ‘Cross Bar Challenge’, where they interact online and ‘Snapchat for a Day’, where teams take over our Snapchat account for one day and broadcast their entire match day to a bigger audience. We’re on the wave of new personal sport engagement and we’re quickly learning how to paddle.