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Utilizing The Second Screen to Engage Your Fans

Lisa Bregman

There’s nothing abnormal about second screen usage within the entertainment industry, and especially not within the sports industry. We are all guilty of tuning into a show and equally tuning out due to the distraction of our (second screen) devices. In fact, in 2016, 68% of US internet users browsed the web or used apps on their phone while watching TV. In 2019, the number increased to 79% and according to Statista, over 91% of internet users are expected to use a second screen while watching TV in 2020. When it comes to sports fans and their second screen experiences though, they tend to be more focused on the content they’re watching while engaging with their second screen vs being distracted by it. Even though they might be live tweeting about the game, sharing predictions, checking in on stats, or sharing reaction gifs and memes, they are still engaged with the game. While it might have been a nuisance in the beginning to keep the attention of viewers, it is now often used as part of an engaging marketing tactic. Sports teams, leagues and broadcasters especially have taken steps in recent years to embrace the opportunities second screen offers through tactics like sharing gifs or memes as part of their gameday coverage, among others. The incredibly high engagement of accounts like @NBAMemes on Instagram and the billions of views on the NFL’s official Giphy channel help prove that an effective second screen strategy can actually enhance not only engagement from fans, but their fan experience. By implementing a second screen marketing strategy and solution that doesn’t take away from the content a fan is watching but rather complements it, sports properties, broadcasters and brands alike can be part of both of their viewing experiences in an organic way. And as the fan experience continues to evolve, so should your digital strategies. 

Capitalizing on an opportunity

In today’s unprecedented times, when fans aren’t able to attend games physically, they’re tuning in to broadcast programming even more than they would before. “Mike Mulvihill, Executive Vice President for research and league operations at Fox Sports, noted that since action resumed at the end of July, there have been days when sports viewing has been up 100% to 150% over comparable dates last year.” (LA Times) With more eyes on screens and few or no fans in stands to focus on, implementing a second screen marketing strategy presents an opportunity for teams, leagues, and broadcasters to not only engage fans, but also to capture data on their live viewers. To understand who is viewing what and when, as well as better understand what content fans want to engage with. What app are they using? Where are they tuning in from? Do they also engage with you on social? Subscribe to your emails?  With a solution like Pico, sports and broadcast organizations can begin to connect the dots on who is watching or listening, and who is also engaging on social. They can begin to learn even more about their viewers habits and in turn, preferences when watching a game. And they can use this data to build robust fan profiles to be leveraged to personalized marketing efforts. Down the line, these organizations will have learned about their fans on a personal level, making it easier to sell tickets and memberships when that becomes an option again. 

Give me an example 

Pico’s longtime partners, the Israeli Sports Channel (Sport 5) have utilized Pico’s digital activations to embrace the second screen and use it to their advantage. Viewers were asked to send the word ‘best’ via the Israeli Sports Channel’s Facebook Messenger to vote on their choice for “Man of the Match” for a chance to win a prize. Once the word was received, viewers were met with a series of questions that allowed the Sports Channel to not only learn more about who their viewers are, but also their preferences when it came to where they’re from, how often they’re tuning into the program, and which teams are their favorite. All extremely valuable data but an even more powerful tactic to embrace inevitable second screen usage to their advantage. 


No matter the play, no matter the call, no matter the player, a good portion of your fans will typically always go to their devices when watching. So why not strategize and capture valuable data while engaging them? The opportunities here are abundant. Through running sponsored activations on digital, to giving the fan even more content to engage with post-match, it’s a win-win for your organization and your fan. Keep them engaged and active with your brand, before your competitor does.  

All in all, second screen experiences provide the opportunity to increase fan engagement during events, increase online discussions, and enhance the viewer and overall fan experience - all while capturing valuable data for your organization when you pair it with a solution like Pico. The modern sports fan is not just a sports fan - today, they are all digital sports fans. And digital sports fans want to be engaged, and be engaged with. They want content and they want it now. Your fans will be there anyway, you might as well meet them there. 



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