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Sports Agents Secret Weapon: Know Thy Fans

Sports agents spend so much time working with an assortment of clients and personalities, all with differing degrees of needs, that it is easy to forget about the consumer end of the sporting world. If you’re a sports agent, you may feel constantly wrapped up in the demands of your client or the law and business aspects of the job. This preoccupation makes it easy to lose touch with perhaps the most important component of doing your job and doing it well: the fans.

But Octagon, a sports agency that serves more than 800 clients and personalities from a wide range of sports, is on the ground floor of fan research as it pertains to athlete management. In a recent joint release with Passion Drivers, Octagon announced its findings with regard to Brazilian football fans and the reason that they connect with the sport.

In a Nov. 22 release, the agency announced that Brazilian football fans are made up of four main groups:

  1. Club Members comprised 33% of the fan base. Young, single males account for most of this demographic. They “emphasize team devotion, gloating, and intense action” in support of their team.
  2. Television bandwagon jumpers claimed another 30% of the findings. The ability to watch Brazil and European clubs brings in a large viewing audience, Octagon’s Lance Hill explains, but these fans tend to be less enthusiastic in their support.
  3. Camaraderie motivated an additional 25% of the survey. What drives this demographic is the sense of belonging to like-minded fans. They tend to be less combative than club members, but significantly more involved than the next largest grouping.
  4. Tribe fanatics earned just 12% of the pie, but what they lack in numbers they make up for in spirit. These individuals may have a strong allegiance to one team, but they use “multiple touch points” to consume football, which means their fascination with the game itself is not going to begin and end with just one team.

What It Means to Sports Agents

First, it means you should not lose focus with the other end of the business. Marketing your clients is an important part of the job, but keeping your fingers on the pulse of fans can be just as beneficial as knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each individual client.

Secondly, it means that you should not assume one set of results for one region will be true for another sport in another area. Octagon Marketing/South America President Alexandre Leitao said in a release, “The ways in which football sponsors activate in Brazil should be significantly different than the ways they activate in other mature soccer markets.” So, just like with your clients, one size doesn’t fit all.

Finally, it gives you a clear, proven method for approaching fans to better understand their wants and needs. The Brazil study took into account a cross-section of 2,000 fans. Finding ways to adapt this study for your clients’ sports and markets will lead to unique results that can be incorporated into the better management of an athlete’s career.

This post was contributed by Aric Mitchell, a freelance writer for St Bernard Sports, retailer of high-end KJUS jackets. He can be reached at aricmitchell1 at gmail dot com.