There is a great quote from a 19th-century banker Nathan Rothschild that I love and keep coming back to.
“Great fortunes are made when the cannonballs are falling in the harbor, not when the violins play in the ballroom.”
In sports, cannonballs are flying.
Our games are canceled or postponed. Our opening day nixed. The celebrations of new seasons and postseasons brought to a screeching halt.
The things we took for granted have slipped away in an instant. And I will say for the better. This virus is something that has brought the human species to places we’d never thought we would be.
In sports, it is dark day. But as the above quote by Mr. Rothschild points out dark days bring opportunity for brighter ones for those that take action.
Sports are on the brink of a great pivot. It has been slowly coming, it is not a new pivot, but this crisis has forced us into hyper-driving this pivot forward to survive.
The Pivot to not rely on our live games
For centuries sports have relied on live games to carry us.
At first, you had to go to the game and be there, otherwise, you would have to read about it in the newspaper the next day or week.
Then came the radio. We could listen live and hear the roar of the crowd from homes across the country.
Then the television can and we instantly were put into the stadium from our living rooms. Entire schedules were moved around to ensure we saw the live game.
Sports are some of the most exciting events in the world, and for that, we’ve had a crutch. We’ve leaned on the live portion too much to survive.
And this makes sense…because they have never been taken from us.
But as we have more channels, we have more ways to bring our fans into the world of our teams, our players, our organizations. We have more avenues for us to engage & connect our fans with our team.
This pause in play gives us the opportunity to build assets that highlight the other portions of our organization when live games aren’t there.
We can build up our arsenal of YouTube content, social media images & games, in-depth analysis segments, things that fans crave.
We can make this pivot because we have time. The Cannonballs falling in the harbor is forcing us to adapt to a system that is less dependant on the live game to carry us…and we’ll be stronger because of it.
The pivot to digital
We’ve fought going all-in on digital for a while in sports. There have been various reasons why that I won’t get too into here…but we haven’t jumped in as much as we should have.
Well, today the only way you can reach your fan is through digital. This crisis has forced you to adapt.
Some of us will are in a better place to capitalize on it. Some of us are in a worse place. But all of us have the time & opportunity to build up our channels & content in the digital space.
If you don’t have a great YouTube presence or channel…start building it today with old games and new content.
If you haven’t been on Snapchat as much as you would have liked…start building content and a presence for the channel so you can reach fans on what is the modern-day texting platform for many.
And Tik Tok…if you haven’t ventured into that world what a perfect time to consume and create your first videos of content.
This is the perfect time to take risks on these channels and building up content on them. You can learn while engaging your fans and build a collection of channels that will bring value long after this crisis is over.
The pivot to creating content outside of live games
Some YouTube channels and social media pages are full of highlights & interviews, things that rely on live games being played.
With no games maybe for months…now what?
This is a perfect opportunity to build new segments and windows into your team that fans will eat up. A new way for you to reach fans when there are no live games.
Outside of just creating the channels, the content is more important. The ideas you come up with here will be the value that lasts.
Can you set up a way to ask players who may be isolated one question on the game of basketball where they answer the question via video?
Can you set it up so fans can send in their questions via video that players can answer?
This campaign would exponentially build up your following on YouTube while creating a consistent content campaign that will survive for years to come.
This shut down gives us the ability to try new things, build new content, and break from our reliance on our live games for content.
The pivot to sustaining content creation outside of live games in order to be better set up for another crisis or the off-season
The best part of not relying on a certain aspect of your business is you can survive in hard times and thrive in easy ones.
With a true pivot to not rely on live games for content, you will build a library of content for the off-season to become a 24/7/365 team for sponsors & fans.
Anything you come up with to survive now will pay 2X after. You will have assets that will reach fans at every angle.
If we can build these assets, channels, and shift the way we engage with fans we will be in better shape to survive this if it comes again and thrives until it does.
Great fortunes are made when the cannonballs are falling in the harbor, not when the violins play in the ballroom. Be the one who profits in both the harbor and ballroom.
The great pivot is here in sports. Profit from it.