High School Sports Trends That Will Surprise You
Coaches and athletic directors often see rules and best practices trickle down from the professional level to college and high school sports programs. What may surprise some coaches and ADs are the other aspects of professional sports heading their way. From facilities to fans experiences, universities and high schools are inspired by professional teams to find new success in engagement and revenue.
SMART GYMS & STADIUMS
Parents want to share their kids’ games on Facebook Live, and students want to pay for popcorn with a debit card or smart phone app. Schools are responding to their tech-savvy crowds with free wi-fi, charging stations and cashless commerce.
Take advantage. Every smart add-on is an opportunity for new sponsorship revenue.
Take heed. Make sure your scoreboard and PA equipment are FCC compliant, so not to interfere with cellphone reception.
The National Federation of State High Schools recently sanctioned e-sports. High schools are discovering a new world of spectators allowing them to use gyms as e-sports arenas, charge admission, stream matches and show multi-player action on video scoreboards.
Take advantage. Involve the guidance counselor. More than 200 colleges are recruiting gamers and offering e-sports scholarships.
Take heed. E-sports is still a niche activity and it will take time to grow community support and funding.
CONTENT ACROSS PLATFORMS
Fans increasingly devour content created by schools, students and other fans. With easy to use software, high schools can create content for all distribution platforms – online streaming, social media and video scoreboards.
Take advantage. Share fan-generated content to boost team spirit and loyalty. Posting Instagram photos on the video scoreboard can boost school spirit.
Take heed. Create content for today’s short attention spans. Media students can quickly produce memes (funny, captioned photos) and boomerangs (micro videos that loop back and instantly replay). Check out our blog “Game to Grant: Tips for Scoreboards, Classroom Studios and Funding.”
Today’s fans don’t just grab popcorn and sit for the entire game. They want to be a part of the experience. High schools are taking advantage with kid zones, special concessions nights and pregame videos.
Take advantage. Promote other sports and school activities while you have their attention. Host an exhibition wrestling match before a football game or build an art gallery leading into the gym. Learn about multi-sport scoreboards.
Take heed. Pre-game excitement takes extra staff and volunteer work. Get buy-in early and say “thank you” in person, in programs and on the video board.
Local businesses are winning the hearts and wallet of millennials with unconventional advertising. High schools can innovate by involving entrepreneurship classes and work with them to sell enough ads to cover a program’s expense.
Take advantage. Create all-in-one packages with website, streaming broadcast and video scoreboard ads. Sign multi-year contracts with sponsors if possible.
Take heed. Today’s businesses expect results, and with digital advertising it can be easier to measure yourself. Be ready to share numbers like online views or hits, downloads and game attendance.
The way people enjoy and participate in sports is constantly evolving. To win the hearts your fans and increase sponsorships, you need a digital marketing plan. You don’t have to do it alone though. Watchfire is here to help you brainstorm, budget and implement a scoring and entertainment system that will take your program into a bright, new future.