Crisis Federation

Federations: how to bounce back after the crisis?

Federations: the 3 ideas to bounce back after the crisis

A driving force behind the Federations, the number of licensees has fallen drastically this season. Indeed, the cessation of sports competitions and reduced activity in affiliated clubs have cut the sports movement's main source of income. A survey circulated by the CNOSF on October 31 The latest figures show a 15% drop in the number of redundancies. The Ministry of Sports fears a drop of up to 30%. In both Olympic and non-Olympic disciplines, there were 9.1 million licensees a year ago, whereas there are now 7.67 million.

The sports pass is okay, but what else?

Claimed by the Federations, the pass'port is one of the tools activated by the State to revive the practice. Inspired by the Culture Pass launched in 2019 by the Ministry of Culture, it is a financial aid that will cover part of the cost of the licence for a young person under 16 years of age in a sports club. People with disabilities will also benefit from the scheme. This measure has been welcomed by stakeholders in the sports movement. Denis Masseglia, President of the CNSOF, said: "It is imperative to talk to young people and help them find their way back to the sports association". This measure, which commits the State up to 100M€, will nevertheless have to be accompanied by a profound transformation of the federal model. In order to facilitate this digital shift, start-ups Joinly, Be Sport and My Coach have recently signed a strategic partnership. This partnership aims to improve the readability of digital content for amateur clubs. On the Federations' side, the model also needs to be reviewed. 

Here are three ideas that will accelerate their mutation:

1. A better relationship with licensees to help them win back their business

confinement athletics federation

We meet too many Federations that only talk to licensees when they renew their license. The reasons can be inherent to the sport practice (moving, school evolution, non-conclusive test...). Nevertheless, the high rate of non-renewal of a licence from one year to the next (up to 30% of licensees for a Federation) is also due to the fact that it is easier to leave a family with whom we have not built a relationship. We have a strong belief in the benefits of relationship marketing. Moreover, we believe that daily support in the practice strengthens the link with licensees. Finally, it redefines the role of the institution with a mission that is intended to be more unifying:

> A licence content that meets expectations with more services (licensed courses, support, satisfaction survey, etc.), dedicated offers to support his life within his club, advice...

> The possibility of subscribing to one or more newsletters depending on the licensee's interests and preferred communication channel (email, SMS, application, etc.)

> A strong relationship around the events of the year: welcome email, birthday, wishes, advice on how to get well equipped for winter, events to follow...

> The distribution of personalized content according to licensee segments. For example, the FFR has sent its youngest licensees colouring exercises. during the last lockdown.

2. The need for income diversification

Like professional football on TV rights, the health crisis has revealed an increased reliance of the Federations' model on licensing revenues. A fall in the number of licensees, and an entire model is in jeopardy. Moreover, the practice is evolving with more "à la carte" and experiential formats, a less obvious orientation towards the need for competition and a growing appetite for digital. What then are the three paths to follow to counter this dependency?

> E-commerce. Federations benefit from a major source for doing business in 2020: data. Between clubs, departmental committees, leagues and licensees, they can easily talk to the whole ecosystem of a whole sport. For example, the immense potential for networking on sports equipment can be based on an existing model: that of the central purchasing office.

> e-sport. Last November, the FFBB launched into e-sport by choosing the Rocket League game, and more specifically the "Hoops" mode which consists of playing basketball by driving cars rather than athletes. A series of weekly tournaments allows the Federation to be present in the gamer communities (60 million on the Rocket League game worldwide) in order to reach the largest number of people.

> The OTT platform. We are in the age of video consumption, whether live, replay or documentary. The advent of OTT platforms now makes it possible to control the distribution of this content, in particular thanks to data collection and the creation of dedicated paths. Monetization is direct (subscription to benefit from premium content) or included in the product (increasing the visibility of the sport, data mining, advertising). The FFF 's example thus gives more visibility to its semi-professional championships and related disciplines.

What are the opportunities for the development of a Federation?

tatistics loyalty federation

Source: PWC Sports Survey, 2019

3. The evolution of sponsorship products

Sport has always been a great playground for advertisers: image association, visibility, the possibility of reaching communities of enthusiasts. The digital age has built large communities that today extend the attractiveness of a Federation. However, the products we offer advertisers have not evolved in the same way as their marketing investments. Where they are asking for more digital, more data and more activations, we are limited to image, visibility and event ticketing. Our conviction on this subject is that the development of sponsorship will go through a better exploitation and monetization of digital communities. To go further, find out more about the stages of this development with our white paper on Data Sponsorship.

Looking at the full glass, Covid offers us a great opportunity to review our model, which is very often out of step with the evolution of an increasingly digital society. Yes, digital helps to strengthen the link with our communities and define new activations for sponsors. Well applied, it helps to better serve the clubs and leagues in their mission and accompanies the licensee to flourish in his practice. 

Federations, start-ups have now grown up a lot. They provide effective and sustainable solutions to your problems. Trust them, you won't be disappointed!

Last year, the FFHB involved its partners in the licence renewal campaign. Despite the health crisis, the enthusiasm was there.

Alexis Riotteau

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