Advertising Technology Advertising Technology, Insights | June 5, 2017

A colossal kickoff: An advertiser’s guide to capitalising on moments marketing at the Champions League



Audiences aren’t just watching sports anymore. They’re indulging in an immersive experience, engaging with brands, browsing on their screens, updating their friends, digging up information, and staying updated in real-time. Memes, highlight reels, social comments, news snippets, and YouTube clips are just some instances of the changing sports-social landscape. Most of the fervour and frenzy around major sporting events begin much before the game itself, with people searching for game-related information on their mobile and other devices.

Brands can not just trigger ads in real-time, but also during the ‘pre-game’ mania, which is an excellent opportunity to capture the attention of their ideal audiences. One of the most watched annual sporting events worldwide, the Champions League, which drew 360 million television viewers (the final of the 2012–13 tournament), is the pinnacle of moments marketing for brands. Did you know that a person searching for Champions League is 3.5 times more likely to prefer Papa John’s than any other fast food joint in the UK? Or that 44% of them prefer Adidas for their sporting needs?

Take Robert for example. Robert is a devoted football fan. For him, the game is all about his favourite team and staying up to date with their information in real-time. For Mia, on the other hand, the big game is an opportunity to socialise and have a good time, while inviting friends over to witness the magical moments on the big flatscreen with a couple of beers. Then there’s Stephen, who takes every goal as a cue to update his social media feed. Every viewer or fan of the sport is glued to a screen, a device or even multiple devices and is constantly switching between them.

Brands are engaged in a consistent endeavour to be able to target a Robert, a Mia and a Stephen. This means that they need to understand who these ideal audiences are, and how to engage them without distracting them from the match. This can be made a reality with the advent of TV sync, social sync, and even sports sync. However, let’s first take a look at the audiences for Champions League, their interests and brand preferences.

Extracting insights that help brands stay ahead of the curve

People searching online for Champions League related information were 1.7 times more likely to belong to the 35-44-year-old age group, than other age groups. We found that 72% of them were in the $50k and above income group and 64% of them were male! Champions League fans were also 3 times more likely to purchase furniture and 2.4 times more likely to prefer musical accessories, than the average. 30% preferred beer as their choice of alcoholic beverage, while they were also 2.7 times more likely to prefer Indian cuisine.

Most of these fans and viewers are unfalteringly engaged on social media. For brands to be able to deliver impactful messages, create a brand presence, increase engagement, and gain conversions, they need to align their advertisements to significant social moments and ‘cues’. Advertisers can achieve this by analysing the content and profiles of audience, tweets, and trends on social. By identifying the positive and negative sentiment on Twitter, brands can stay ahead of their competitors.
Ballymoney, a small town in Northern Ireland had 8771.2 tweets per million users relating to the Champions League. Despite being the home of some of the biggest clubs in England, London saw 345.2 tweets per million users.
The Northern part of United Kingdom had 100% positive Twitter sentiment coming from Aberdeen, Angus, Stirling and Perth. Whereas, there was a negative sentiment about the Champions League in Omagh and South Gloucestershire.
Note: The negative tweets were mostly about the Walkers Crisp social media disasters and sarcastic comments about Paul Pogba, the Ex-Juventus player who would miss out on the big Final and spent a pointless season at Manchester United.

London accounted for both the maximum posts and shares in the UK, with 41% posts and 36% shares. The host city Cardiff was closely in the second spot when looking for twitter posts.

Champions League, Win, Final, Crisps, and Tickets were some popular keywords relating to Champions League tweets, with ‘Champions League’ witnessing the maximum positive sentiment of 93.4%. #WalkersWave, #UCLfinal, #ChampionsLeagueFinal were the most used hashtags in tweets relating to Champions League. #WalkersWave was the most used hashtag, owing to the video campaign being run on social media by Walkers Crisps, one of the sponsors of UCL.,, were the most mentioned site domains in the tweets.

In-Sync: Reaching millions+ micro moments+ real-time delivery

Most major league sports games are fueled by people’s zest to feel the frenzy of the stadium back home on their 40-inch screen. The buzzword? ‘TV Sync’. Did you know that 77% of TV watchers also use the second screen? The penultimate goal for advertisers here is not to drive the viewer away from the sport to the advertisement, rather disrupt TV advertising with simultaneous delivery of digital ads in a seamless, dynamic and custom manner, for audiences to be able to convert easily.

Sports are defined by magical moments like goals, touchdowns, aces and tries. To reach out to Champions League audiences who are reveling in the action of the moment, align your brand with these cues. Apart from responding to social activity and televised content, build a geostrategy to locate stadiums, bars, and other public places where you can trigger ads.

Most people are trying hard to tune out the noise, during significant sporting events. Advertisers and brands must be fueled by a robust programmatic strategy to stay above it.

With inputs from Abhishek Pandey, insights specialist.


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