How to win over Gen Z in the sports space

December 4, 2023
Sports BusinessGeneral
How to win over Gen Z in the sports space

The GIST: The almost 70M Gen Z Americans are growing in importance, cultural influence, and disposable income. And although young Zoomers are interested in following major athletes, a smaller proportion identify as sports fans compared to previous generations. ViewLift CEO Rick Allen recently laid out how to win over these digital natives in the sports space.

📱 Meet Zoomers where they are: their smartphones

Leagues and teams can get a head start by getting screen time on Gen Z’s preferred streaming platforms, but the next step should be targeted ads. Allen specifically highlights an EA Sports and La Liga collab that offers access to 150M Gen Z soccer fans worldwide.

🤝 Embrace Gen Z community values

For Zoomers, sports fandom is more fan cave than man cave. Watching sports is a social activity, with the online generation participating in e-sports, fantasy sports, and community sports clubs concurrently with their pro league fandoms. Sharing with friends makes it fun, which is why the gamification of pro sports speaks to the youth.

Give athletes main character energy

The TikTok generation adores short-form content on social media, but don’t ignore the power of long-form features. Gen Z loves a good story, and in sports, that means creating captivating content that reveals the humanity of their favorite athletes. Allen praises Netflix’s Drive To Survive for being digital, diverse, and interactive. Do it for the plot.

📈 Crunch and share the numbers

Data may not tell the whole story, but for Gen Z sports fans, it’s a key component to understanding the game. The generation’s grasp of real-time analytics allows for an immersive fan experience, while predictive tools power engagement — Allen recommends integrating them into coverage whenever possible.

🦋 Fly like a (social) butterfly

Zoomers are serious social media users — nine out of 10 use social platforms to consume sports content. Brands can leverage this by attracting viewers with pregame social content and keeping the conversation going with post-game highlights.

🔑 The key takeaways

It’s not that Gen Z fans don't care about sports — they do, but in their own way and on their own terms. They’re diverse, progressive, and living online, so these consumers interact most with companies that get them. Meeting Zoomers with genuine, engaging, and smart content will cultivate lifelong fans.