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Why 2024 will see sport dominate conversations on social

The importance of joining sports conversations in 2024 is identified by Ogilvy Influence’s latest trends report

2024 will be the year of sport as the Olympics and Euros dominate our screens and newsfeeds once again. Whilst brands are right to capitalise on the star power of these landmark sport events, Ogilvy Influence’s 2024 trends report has identified the growing power of community-level and grassroots voices in the coming year.

As much as sport lives on screens and stadiums across the globe, it exists on our own doorsteps too. Sport is rooted at a local level, from sending our children to evening swimming practices, to five-a-side footie after work and community workout groups. They can be lifelines for disadvantaged teenagers and open important conversations around issues such as men's mental health and inclusion in sport.

And where there are conversations being had by real people, there are conversations to be owned by brands - here are three key tips to help brand PRs and marketers to get involved.

First-mover advantage

Stadium competitions and grassroots communities aren’t mutually exclusive. There’s space for brands to play a valuable role in both, but to reap the benefits they need to act fast given the UK government has already invested £300 million in grassroots sports in the past year.

Storytelling remains a dominant content type within influencer marketing - especially within TikTok where trends such as ‘Call Me Crazy, but...” have been the biggest viral moments of the year – brands can prime themselves as a narrator in sport; nurturing rising talent on their journey and creating a loyal community of creators.

Turn influencer to sport star

Boxing has birthed some of the greatest names in sport of all time - and now it’s housing creators like Jake Paul. Sport is starting to belong to influencers - the KSI vs Tommy Fury fight was the biggest selling boxing event of the year - and audiences are engaging with sport stars in entertainment first ways.

Brands like Guinness are great at partnerships and sponsorship deals with grassroots rugby clubs, but they could go one step further by giving nano profiles from these clubs the creator treatment and elevating them, like we’ve seen with sportsperson turned influencer Alexis Caught, or taking micro sports creators and engaging them in charity or crowdsourced match days.

Shine a light on the sidelines

So much of society has experienced barriers in sport, including women, LGTBQ+, neurodivergent, and elderly communities. But now we’re seeing new and flourishing clubs catered for these communities which are brought to life in creative and powerful ways.

Emerging sporting talent and within these communities can have a huge influence in creating online discussions that showcase unheard voices; bringing a new type of role model to the forefront of conversations around sport and exercise. Athlete Jake Williamson, for example, uses his platform to address LGBTQ+ inclusion in sport and is now an ambassador for LuluLemon and GymShark.

The sports communities that live at a hyper-local level and the fringes of competitive sport will come alive like never before next year. For all brands, this yet untapped market is a new, diverse and exciting playing field that is only going to boom.

Article written by Sam Johnson, influence executive at advertising, marketing and PR agency Ogilvy UK

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