Ear To The Ground are a sport and music agency that work for some of the most well known organisations around including Nike, Beats by Dre, The UFC and The UEFA Champions League. The same expertise that these brands depend on to connect with fans will be on offer to the Conference attendees when Director of Fan Intelligence Owen Laverty speaks on 2nd March.
Ear To The Ground built an innovative Fan Intelligence Model that consists of a global network of over 6,000 hugely creative, intelligent & culturally influential fans to create effective campaigns and marketing strategies for their clients. This model has revealed some interesting findings around futsal that will be publicly presented for the first time in Manchester.
In this interview, we speak with Owen to get his thoughts on the conference and the future of futsal.
Futsal Insights: How much are you looking forward to presenting at the Futsal Insights Conference 2019?
Owen Laverty: Massively, I’m not approaching the conference from the aspect of having been a player or a fan (yet!), but purely from a research perspective. The sport has increasingly featured in our studies of sport participant & fan behaviour across key lighthouse cities in Western Europe, which has totally spiked my interest, and I can’t wait to meet and hear from the other speakers on where the sport is going. And to share my thoughts of course!
FI: You’re involved in advising and range of sporting bodies, from the outside looking in what excites you about the development of futsal in the UK?
OL: Lots of more traditional or established sports & rights holders are looking to find ways to make themselves more appealing to ‘gen z’ audiences. Be that through sport or competition format, finding cultural crossovers, or the ways it’s consumed. Futsal is set up to naturally fit into these audiences shifting demands and that is a huge opportunity.
An example of Ear To The Ground's work with the Champions League
FI: As someone who is highly experienced in looking at future trends in sporting cultures, habits and fan behaviours, where should futsal be positioning itself on the sports entertainment landscape?
OL: We’re seeing the lines blur more and more between sport & entertainment, and particularly in the wider football landscape. What’s clear is that properties that can authentically straddle these areas are in a great place to take advantage. Futsal benefits from two of these authentic links, especially in the UK.
First is the nature of the game itself, something that is particularly difficult for other sports to replicate, with local teams creating highlights reels that any ‘YouTube’ team would kill for! And second is It’s place in football culture, with it held in high esteem because of its perceived links to football in South & Central America, and Southern Europe. This cultural ‘positioning’ of the sport, and the easy content consumption are what have peaked the interest of the tastemakers we follow globally, and the cross-cultural sports brands that we work with.
FI: Where would you predict futsal to be in the next 5-10 years?
OL: I’m at the start of my journey with the sport so it’s hard for me to say! But based on the audiences we’re seeing growing into it and starting to follow it more, I can only see futsal growing massively with some smart business decisions made throughout the right organisations.
To hear Owen Laverty speak alongside 11 other sport leaders, purchase your ticket now by clicking here.