GDPR – The Opportunities for Sports Businesses

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GDPR – The Opportunities for Sports Businesses

This time last week our inboxes were caving in with a deluge of re-engagement emails ahead of the GDPR enforcement deadline but a week on we’re all still standing and still working diligently to get to grips with the new legislation. It may feel more like GDPaRghhhh than GDPR but there are definitely some opportunities for sports organisations…

For many businesses, the 25th May was a day of dread; GDPR has sent companies scrambling to make sure that they’re not at risk of fines and punishment. However, with a small shift in thinking, GDPR isn’t a monster but an opportunity that sports clubs and businesses can capitalise on to help increase the fans’ feelings of trust and loyalty.

Trust & Transparency

Data security is at the forefront of the conversation going forward with GDPR, especially in the wake of the Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal. Being ‘GDPR compliant’ is now a promise to fans and partners that their information is secure and it’s a badge that should be worn with honour. That promise of compliance gives businesses legitimacy in regard to data – trust and transparency are valued more than anything else in the information age.

Data Strategy

The classic data conundrum, which GDPR may well change, is the frantic landgrab to secure as much user information as possible without any real thought being given to how exactly that information will be used – and this where the opportunity prompted by GDPR presents itself.The new regulation’s rules on data acquisition now forces brands to devise a more solid strategy and decide how data is best used. In other words, don’t collect data if the output isn’t worthwhile.

Profiling Data

Clubs aggregate thousands of fans’ data every month and this is now the perfect time to profile it. Until GDPR hit, it was always deemed ‘a priority which could wait’ but by acting now brands will gain vital insights into their audience and customer-base. Having a well-organised, detailed, and in-depth database of data enables businesses to scrutinize and target specific demographics. This will do wonders for any company’s communications.


However, the biggest talking point of GDPR for marketers, and certainly according to my inbox last week, seems to be around re-permissioning databases. Many managers are worried that doing this will risk massive reductions of their database, but it shouldn’t be seen as such a negative – surely it is far better to be conversing with a fanbase that is loyal, engaged, and ready to listen rather than supporting a vast database of disinterested people? It will certainly help your deliverability as low open rates are a clear signal to email service providers that your recipients are not engaged with you, your brand or your content. Whilst re-permissioning will almost definitely result in losing subscribers, the remaining fans will be worth keeping.

Undoubtedly GDPR means more work cultivating lists and potentially a loss of records but 25th May actually means a great chance to clean house and create a database that’s more efficient, the consequence of which is a concentrated collection of valuable fans who wish to hear from you.

Is adopting good practice really such a bad thing?

Click here to watch our recent webinar on GDPR with Fiona Green of Winners