At the beginning of the 2000s, most clubs were proud to have a website at all. Even only twenty years ago it was still uncharted digital sporting territory. The main draw was primarily match day news and the results of past games. Site visitors were mostly their own members and other interested parties. State associations and leagues followed suit, collected results and also became the place to go for current news and results. But is this still the best way today? No. Naomi Owusu, CEO of Tickaroo, sees the digital flood of decentralized data as a major challenge and at the same time an opportunity for marginal sports to acquire sponsorship, marketing partners, and generate higher revenues. Clubs and associations are more dependent than ever on financial income, and Owusu is certain: "There is also a 'together we are strong' mentality off the field. Centralized platforms are needed to join athletes, officials and fans together. There's a lot of untapped potential in this approach that needs to be addressed, particularly in times of revenue shortfalls and membership loss."
"Everyone is doing their own thing": decentralized sports data is a great opportunity
"The sports sector in Germany has a major problem: it is often organized in a decentralized manner. Too often, associations and clubs are doing their own thing here," says Owusu. This particularly affects sports that are not as mainstream. Baseball, American football and rugby lack attention and reach. The latter is particularly exciting for potential investors, sponsors or advertising partners. The problem, she says, is that much sports data or information is organized in a decentralized manner. "A comparison here would be, for example, if you want to watch a movie, you go to Netflix. But if you want to find out the results or news from your favorite niche sports club, you have to search through dozens of blogs to get real information," says Owusu, outlining the confusing data situation. A club’s own website, blog or portal usually achieve only regional visibility, hardly reaching further than the local community. "It makes a serious difference whether individual platforms collect 50,000 views each month or a portal that records millions of page visitors. Clubs, associations and the protagonists on the playing fields must jointly tackle the digital opportunities in order to exploit marketing potential. This is the only way for niche sports to reach the next milestones," says Owusu, describing the current hurdles. And these milestones, in terms of attention and the associated financial income, are important in order to further promote the sports and, in particular, to counteract the loss of members.
A big hit: handball.net brings federations, clubs and players together
In cooperation with the German Handball Association, Tickaroo has successfully launched a match data platform that brings together active players, fans and officials. And that's not all: in addition to the results of all German leagues, the portal also aggregates a wide range of multimedia and editorial news. An extensive streaming and video center, detailed match day reports, and in-depth background articles are supplemented by liveblogs reporting in real time from the German amateur and professional leagues. A link to ticket stores has also been integrated, so that the platform provides a complete offering that is intended to create lasting loyalty among fans and players. In essence, all visitors can find everything they need to know from the world of handball in one central place. "With this platform, we have succeeded in providing a contact point for everyone. Whether fans or players, we ensure with the available entertainment and information that they stay longer and return. Not just out of pure interest in the results, but because multimedia formats emotionally connect them to the sport and can also provide stories behind the facade. In addition, storytelling will play a greater role here in the future."
The German Handball Federation is looking forward to the next step and sees the new platform as a big hit: "Men, women and youth from the Federal League to the District Leagues are coming together under one roof. handball.net will become the new digital home of handball," says Thomas Zimmermann, Director of Marketing and Communications at the German Handball Federation. "We are simplifying access to all match data in Germany and creating more reach and presence for our sport via a modern and mobile presentation."
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