Football & First Party Data

The data gap in football

Football has a first-party data problem. Clubs of all sizes now boast increasingly global fanbases, but many are failing to keep pace with the digitalization that has accelerated rapidly over the past few years. As a result, the disparity between followers and the fans they hold actionable data on is growing. The pandemic kept fans from going to matches and this highlighted the game’s reliance on ticketing and stadia activity as a source of data. Yes, clubs were able to reach out via social media and other third-party channels, but this left many without the first-party data they needed to communicate directly with their fanbases and offer value to their sponsors.

A microcosm of first-party data’s importance to football can be seen in Spotify’s sponsorship of FC Barcelona. The partnership between the streaming giant and one of the game’s biggest global brands came into effect in the summer of 2022, and was, in part, driven by Spotify’s own quest for first party data. Enticed by a global fanbase of over 350 million across social and digital, they enquired about the number of “registered fans” Barca had – i.e., fans they held first-party data on like full names, contact details and other personal information. However, only 1% – just over 3 million – qualified as registered and it is reported that Spotify’s valuation of the deal was affected as a result  (the deal does have a positive first-party story to tell but more on that later…).

In the modern age of digital engagement and global reach, clubs need to adopt a data-driven approach to their fanbases centred around capturing and processing first-party data to deliver the more personalised experience that their fans, and sponsors, crave. In this article, we will draw on our experience working with a mix of rights holders to l look at the technology involved and highlight best practice examples of how they can be used to drive a successful first-party data strategy.

To delve deeper into this topic and explore comprehensive insights, we invite you to download our whitepaper below. It offers a wealth of valuable information that can help you further optimize your digital infrastructure and implement an effective first-party data strategy. Happy reading!

Whatever your digital challenge, we’d be happy to discuss how we can help.