INTERVIEW: Digital transformation is taking place in the sports industry, but what are the goals and preconditions for a technological revolution?
“Automatically, you get telemetry of the different systems using machine learning and analytics tools so you can the interests and likes of every single fan.
“[You might be able to sell to] 60,000 people in a stadium but when you have millions of fans, you need to have the tools to analyse them and run automated marketing campaigns. This could be as simple as a ‘happy birthday’ promotion or some content.
“The second thing is processes,” he continues, adding that it isn’t simply a case of organising marketing and IT departments. “You need to have data scientists, people who are helping you craft a digital strategy, people who are helping you execute digital campaigns and doing the analytics.
One size fits all?
“If you can get the data from fans into your digital assets you can monetise that through sponsors and run marketing campaigns for them in a much smarter way.”
Real Madrid is a Microsoft customer and is using the firm’s software, hardware and cloud capabilities to engage its significant fanbase and generate revenues that can maintain its on-field dominance.
Having such a high profile customer is of course very useful for Microsoft’s sales department but Lancestremère is adamant that the sports division is an actual business – not just a marketing tool – and that every size of club, not just 12 -times Champions of Europe Real Madrid can benefit.
“Yes, [sport] is a high profile market and helps Microsoft tells stories in an easy way which helps executives understand [the benefits of Digital Transformation],” he says.
“When you look at different sectors in terms of [value], then all the clubs and federations are generating a total of €100 billion, which places it around 25th in terms of individual industries globally. There are much bigger markets but this is still a €100 billion opportunity. How can we increase their revenue and help their industry grow?
“Digital Transformation is for every single organisation. The challenge has been educating audiences. We have great reference studies like Real Sociedad and they are a €60 million organisation – ten times smaller than Real Madrid – so there is a smaller opportunity for [smaller clubs].
“The challenge is ‘how do we simplify the access to the knowledge?’ It’s not just CRM, its a whole digital platform. Our vision of digital transformation democratises the assets for smaller clubs and we’re creating SaaS and digital marketing services from agencies that can operate on those platforms.”