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96% of Singaporean tennis fans use mobiles while watching live matches, but brands should be useful not interruptive suggests Octagon

Tennis tournamentA week before the 2015 BNP Paribas WTA Finals in Singapore, research from Octagon has found that 96 per cent of Singaporean tennis fans use their mobile phones when watching live tennis matches, presenting a big opportunity for marketers to reach fans beyond the traditional means.

And 89 per cent of Singaporeans search for match related content during matches, the study found, and 78 per cent of Singaporean tennis fans use their mobile device for social media to discuss the match while they are at the event.

Over half of Singaporean tennis fans surveyed (57 per cent) used their mobile to find more information on the match they are watching, with one in three using their phone to find more information about players not being televised.

The study of tennis fans in Australia, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore found that Chinese fans (85 per cent) are the most likely to be looking at tennis-related content on their computers or mobile devices while watching matches on TV.

How people use mobiles during live matches

How people use mobiles during live matches; for utility or social purposes

“There are certainly opportunities for smart brands to increase their presence through smart digital thinking,” Adam Hodge, Octagon’s regional head of strategy, said in answer to a question on whether sponsors should shift spend away from traditional media and into mobile.

“The key to this is utility. Fans react most positively to brands who add to the viewing experience. This might seem obvious, but there are still sponsors who interrupt a fan experience with an ‘ad’. Be it a pre roll, banner or in stadium TVC these intrusions are unwelcome. At best, they are wallpaper, at worst they detract from a fans enjoyment of the thing they love.”

Octagon’s Passion Shift survey found that Singaporeans are the least likely of the other nations surveyed to buy a product from a brand because it sponsored the tournament, but 61 per cent said they would.

Eight out of 10 Chinese tennis fans said they are more likely to buy a product from a sponsor than a non-sponsor. In Malaysia the proportion was 71 per cent, in Japan 65 per cent.

Hodge added: “The very passion that the brand is saying they want to be part of by sponsoring is the thing they can dilute through traditional ‘look at me’ advertising. When sponsors bring their technical expertise, player access and storytelling ability and heritage to the fan experience, this is when fans will notice and reward sponsors with their attention and loyalty.”

Examples Hodges mentioned of brands activating their sponsorship activity well at tennis tournaments included Jaguar’s involvement at Wimbledon. Sensors were used to track the energy of the crowd.

He also singled out IBM’s ‘slam tracker’, a data analysis tool that charts eight years of grand slam events, as a smart way for a brand to deepen its involvement in tennis.

One of Octagon’s own campaigns was for ANZ Bank. The Your Game, Your Way campaign told stories of ordinary people who through tennis created their own path to success.

Maria Sharapova

Maria Sharapova

Octagon’s survey also found that the favourite tournament among tennis fans in Asia is Wimbledon with the exception of China, where the favoured event is the US Open.

Maria Sharapova was singled out as the favourite player for fans (male or female) in Indonesia and Korea. In Indonesia, she is more than twice as popular Roger Federer.

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