Limited Attention: Gen Z Sports Fans

Following up on yesterday’s accelerant watch, some data to back up the declining interest in sports from Generation Z. Not necessarilly that surprising and it will be interesting to see if some of these new apps and platforms can improve the numbers. Data from the Morning Consult:

–53% of Gen Zers identify as sports fans, compared to 63% of all adults and 69% of millennials.

–Gen Zers are half as likely as millennials to watch live sports regularly and twice as likely to never watch.

–Esports are more popular among Gen Z than MLB, NASCAR and the NHL, with 35% identifying as fans

Full report here.

Pandemic Accelerant Watch: Broadcast Tech and High School Sports

As I’ve previously written, I’m keeping an eye on industry trends that are being accelerated by market forces during the pandemic.

One firm to keep an eye on is Buzzer, “a notification-driven mobile platform for live sports personalized for fans and authenticated through existing subscriptions or micropayments.” In other words, the Buzzer app notifies you when something of interest is on–say a close NFL game in the final two minutes–and allows you to tune in, either via a subscription you already have or by making a “micropayment” for instant access. This isn’t a totally new concept; the NBA has played around with a model that allows you tune into to a portion of a game for a small price. But Buzzer is ambitious, linking platforms and leagues in a personalized experience. Founded earlier this year by Bo Han, Twitter’s former head of sports partnerships and rights, Buzzer has just completed a $4 million seed round. I see great potential with this model, especially with the industry’s ongoing struggle to cultivate the short attention span of Gen Z. More on the upstart firm via Axios.

In a similar vein (and with a similar name) is Overtime, a digital platform for high school sports programming. The business model is different, relying on paid contributors to record live action. The four-year-old company has a massive online following and deserves some credit in making young stars like Zion Williamson household names before their first college game. Investors have lined up, including firms such as Andreesen Horowitz and NBA stars Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. While I applaud their success, I have ethical misgivings over the business model, where the amateur talent they feature is compensated solely via “exposure.” And I’m also not too keen on the further professionalization of youth sports, but it seems that that train left the station some time ago. More on Overtime via the Huddle Up newsletter.

Some Seriously Good Sports Marketing

I don’t eat that many Whoppers, but I’m loving what Burger King did here. Good quick video on a very clever marketing strategy.

Nike Air(plane?)

Some very interesting stuff in today’s edition of Joe Pompliano’s Huddle Up newsletter, which features two very futuristic Nike Projects. The first is a climate-controlled “smart chair,” which I expect is something we’ll see sooner than later:

The chair contains hundreds of biometric sensors and thermal transducers which keep an athletes “active” muscles at an optimal temperature to re-enter the game – think hamstrings, quads, etc.

Along with keeping certain muscles warm, the biometric sensors and thermal transducers have the ability to cool down an athletes central nervous system by transferring cool air throughout certain parts of their body.

The chair works with integrated identity sensors (think RFID Chips in clothing) to provide in-game analytics around an athletes hydration, heart rate, and more.

Analytics will be transferred to team representatives in real-time to help determine the optimal time for game re-entry and injury prevention opportunities.


The second project is more pie-in-the-sky:

Nike recently released a potential plane design they did in collaboration with Portland-based design firm Teague.

Like the chair, the plane would be outfitted with all sorts of elements to minimize the effects of air travel on the athlete’s body. Pretty cool concept, although I don’t expect Beaverton to trade in Air Maxes for Airplanes anytime son.

Big 10 Football is Coming Back

From Sportico:

Big Ten football is back after conference presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to resume  play the weekend of October 23.

And why? The conference says it is because of better access to faster testing. But pressure from fans, parents, lawsuits, and politicians also had to factor in. But of course, there’s really only one reason: money. Which only serves as a reminder that the majority of laborers in college sport remain uncompensated.

It will be interesting to see if the PAC 12 follows suit or holds firm to the cancelled season. With the brutality of the ongoing fires throughout the west, I can see how officials could tie the resumption of football to a narrative of giving local fans hope.

Bizarre, But Not Surprising: Hacking Tee Times

No, I don’t mean “hacking” as in the way I struggle along the golf course, but actual hacking:

The Singapore Island Country Club dialed 999 after declaring that its online golf session booking system had been “compromised” thanks to “millions” of online booking attempts daily, according to Channel News Asia.

Tech-savvy golfers, it appeared, were using scripts to book popular timeslots for themselves and their mates rather than filling in online forms manually whenever new slots were released.

More on this amusing tale here, via the Register.