Data and Target Audience

Sporting events bring in a massive amount of viewers. For example, the 2023 Super Bowl brought in an estimated total of 113 million viewers, while an estimated 1.5 billion people viewed the 2022 World Cup (Nielson, 2023). With such a huge audience, it may seem overwhelming to think about how franchises are supposed to cater to their needs. This is where data on audience demographics becomes essential.

To break down data demographics, let’s use the world’s most popular sport as an example: soccer. In a study found on Doxee (“The role of Big Data in sports marketing,” 2020), the Italian soccer team, Juventus, found a change in their audience. Until a few years ago, Juventus had a fan base that consisted mainly of males, mostly from Italy or Europe. However, through data polled from social media following and engagement, it was found that more and more women have begun to follow soccer. More and more people who live outside of Europe and Italy also follow Juventus. Juventus’ star player, Cristiano Ronaldo, who has 241 million followers on Instagram compared to Juventus’ following of 38 million, has a demographic of 61.5% male and 38.5% female (Starngage, n.d.). This trend of more female engagement in sports has become common throughout athletics. To find the data of this demographic, social media has become a big tool. Through social media, data such as followers, liked posts, and views can be broken down into demographics.

So what does this data mean for future sports marketing? Using data to understand a demographic allows sports marketers to make their franchise more personal. For example, from data showing a trend in women watching sports, franchises can respond by selling more merchandise made for women. This could mean merchandise made in women’s sizes or more popular items for women such as leggings.

Another way data is collected for the target audience is through ticket sales. As Pete Giorgio (n.d.) has written: “With richer data, sports teams can know who was at the game, their in-stadium purchase history, and where they moved within the stadium. Having this specific information will enable more focused sponsor targeting and authentic engagement both inside and outside the stadium” Combing these metrics will allow a much deeper analysis of how fans are interacting with products and advertisements.