As a sports brand, you’ve spent a great deal of time and money acquiring rights for sports content. Then you create a pay-offering, where fans are able to subscribe to your service and enjoy their favourite sport, team and player. For many brands, that’s all you need right? The truth is, the relationship between a subscriber and their sports OTT service is far more involved and needs to be carefully cultivated.

Understanding a subscriber is not just about what they watched, what demographic group they are, or what propensity models predict; to fully understand what makes subscribers tick – you need to get to know them on a much deeper level. What do they think? How do they feel? Do they really care about your brand or is it only the sports they care about? By exploring these questions, all sports OTT brands can take a fresh look at their subscriber and build an experience that goes beyond just the sport.

In a new consumer study, Singula Decisions commissioned QualiProjects to take a deep dive into the psychological and emotional drivers that consumers experience when subscribing to sports subscription services such as Sky Sports, Amazon Prime, ESPN+, NFL Game Pass and more…and the results were surprising.

The subscriber psyche

Unlike an entertainment OTT service, sports delve much deeper into the psyche of a subscriber. This creates a complicated relationship, with an emotional struggle between the brand, the sport and the subscriber.

All subscriptions by nature are akin to emotional relationships with two people and hence require the building of trust and respect. Sadly, the brand-subscriber relationship is incredibly weak, creating ample opportunities for rupture and churn and allowing any threat from competition to become even stronger.

Two is company, three’s a crowd

Sports subscriptions have 3, not 2, parties in the relationship – the subscribers, the brand and the sport. For many, the brand is simply the vehicle to getting to watch their favourite sport – like an annoying friend you tolerate, just because you have to.

From a psychological perspective, the sport (and not the brand) fulfils many core human needs which means that subscribers are typically less loyal to these brands – so subscribers can be fickle and will naturally leave when an alternative is available.

It is therefore crucial for sports OTT brands to understand and consider how they can cater to core psychological drives – not only through the content they offer, but also through how they interact with a subscriber base that is intensely passionate about sport.

Move from transactional to emotional

Ultimately, many sports brands are failing to understand the ‘subscriber mindset’ and are struggling to connect emotionally with their customers. Therefore, sports OTT brands need to work much harder to building relationships with their customers in order to grow revenue, services and subscription longevity.

For brands that want to be relevant and retain subscribers, it’s crucial to quickly move from a transactional relationship that is defined by price, to an emotional (ideally indispensable) relationship in which it’s very clear to customers that it is the sports brand which provides the value to their lives.

Be fanatical about your subscribers

However, all is not lost. Don’t give up on the relationship just yet. Instead, be fanatical about your subscribers, think differently and connect emotionally across all stages of the customer journey. Your brand can be so much more than the sport your subscriber cares about.

For more insight into the Psychology of a Sport Subscriber, download a copy of the free report by clicking here.