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  • Writer's pictureOli Shawyer

The SA sport spectatorship market

Updated: Mar 16, 2019

Understanding the characteristics and make-up of the South Australian sports spectatorship market allows me to clearly define the parameters that we’re working within.

Of the total South Australian adult population, not only do we now know some key market fundamentals, we can now benchmark all our future activities around these fundamentals (such as whether we actually achieve growth).

Key findings:

  • 55% of all South Australian’s consider themselves AFL Fans (where AFL is ranked as their number 1 preferred sport).

  • 45% of all South Australian’s don’t consider themselves AFL Fans (where AFL isn’t ranked as their number 1 preferred sport).

Whilst at face value it would make sense to avoid trying to communicate with this part of the market, our deeper work into these types of sports consumers indicates that just because they don’t rank AFL as their number 1 sport, doesn’t mean that they won’t, or aren’t engaging with the sport. There are large portions that still watch / and attend on some occasions.

Non-fans have significant long-term implications, specifically around where future growth in Port Adelaide supporters, fans and revenue will come from.

For the first time ever, we also now know how many people actually claim to support Port Adelaide within the total South Australian adult population (1.38m). In line with defining the number of Port Adelaide supporters, we have alsoe defined the specific number of Crows (other Adelaide AFL team) supporters, as well as those that that support a Non-South Australian AFL Club:

  • 259,000 adults in South Australia support the Port Adelaide Football Club;

  • 548,000 adults support the Adelaide Football Club;

  • 232,000 adults support a non-SA AFL Club;

  • 341,000 adults don’t support any team.

Accompanying these numbers, we now also know the South Australian sports spectatorship market share of the total South Australian adult population:

  • 19% Port Adelaide.

  • 40% Adelaide Crows Football Club.

  • 17% non-SA AFL Club.

  • 24% no team.

Whilst not definitively telling us what we didn’t already know (the Crows are a bigger Club), we’re now able to clearly articulate and accurately indicate specifically how much bigger they are than us – twice the size of us.

Understanding that the Crows has twice our market share isn’t just a nice-to-have, it’s a huge indicator to the understanding the reality of our challenge for new supporter and fan development.

The empirical evidence and resulting scientific rule of marketing dictates that market share is a significant driver of future growth. The Natural Monopoly Law dictates that Clubs with more market share attract a greater proportion of new fans.

We now know that for every 4 new AFL fans created in South Australia, 2 of them will support the Crows, 1 of them the Port Adelaide, and 1 of them will support a non-SA AFL Club.

Another important scientific rule of marketing that applies to us is the Double Jeopardy Law, which dictates that brands with less market share have far fewer buyers, and that these buyers are also slightly less loyal.

Again, insight that isn’t just a nice to have, it puts clear scientific reason around why matching the Crows for both penetration (sales) and retention (across all products) will continue to work against us because of their current market domination.

  • Repertoire market: Because the Crows have a markedly larger customer base, they have more casual sports consumers who purchase casual tickets to a game once to twice a year, resulting in higher average attendance and casual ticket sales.

  • Subscription market: Overall the Crows have better season membership retention rates than us for all membership products. To accompany this, they also have better membership show rates (% of members who turn up to games) when averaged out across all categories (which also in turn impacts their average attendance).

The only option to address both the impact of the Natural Monopoly and Double Jeopardy Laws is by growing our market share – of which desired growth comes from two sources:

  • Improving physical availability (ease of purchase and consumption), specifically through the channels in which our product can be consumed (such as broadcast) and the stadium / event accessibility.

  • Improving mental availability (ease of recall at the right time), specifically through better visibility of our brand; simple and repeated messaging, and brand consistency (building and leveraging our distinctive assets). This is a long term and consistent effort that requires proper brand and execution investment.

No task to big, or challenge to great.

But this won't be something that can be changed overnight. It is a vital long-term focus for the Club. My job is not just about managing and engaging our current supporter base. It's just as much about lifting our eyes and focusing on the future with just as much strategic rigour and intent. Whilst getting our current fans to continue to love us and engage with us, at a minimum of how they've historically engaged with us, we need to create new fans by reaching new audiences. By reaching our non-fan segments.


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