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#57 The secret strategy to embracing GDPR in sports today
Episode 5731st January 2023 • Sports CDP Crash Course - Data Talks • Data Talks
00:00:00 00:05:42

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GDPR in the world of sports – this is definitely not a new topic. 

GDPR is the toughest privacy and security law in the world and it imposes obligations onto any organization which targets or collects data related to people in the EU. At the center of this law is the protection of personal data. Which is a great thing that all sports organizations should embrace.

Prior to GDPR, organizations across different industries could basically collect and process data about users and customers wherever and however they want. Moreover, when they did not have access to such data about the fans themselves, they could simply rely on third-party data to complement their own data.

However, the challenge with third-party data is that you usually don’t know where the data originally comes from. This is because the data sets are large and sold through an automated bidding system. This in turn leads us to another obstacle with third-party data: it is usually not compliant with privacy regulations, including GDPR. Consequently, this has led to big players such as Apple removing third-party cookies altogether, forcing sports organizations to go back to the drawing board and figure out ways to have sufficient data about their fans. 

So how can you do just that while at the same time always ensuring that you are GDPR compliant (as well as complying with other similar data privacy regulations)?

There is a secret weapon all sports organizations can leverage to understand fans’ wants and behaviors and that weapon is first-party data. First-party data is information that you can collect from both online and offline sources that belong to you. For example, from sources such as your:

  1. Ticketing system
  2. Point of Sale (POS) system
  3. e-commerce store 
  4. App
  5. OTT streaming service
  6. Newsletter and mailing list
  7. Event sign-up sheets

5 reasons why first-party data is your secret weapon:

  1. It is GDPR-compliant – when done right. What do we mean by “done right”? According to GDPR, your organization can process personal data for one of six main reasons. And one of these six reasons includes when “the data subject gave you specific, unambiguous consent to process the data.” To give you a couple of examples, this could be when your fan opts in to receive your newsletter or subscribes to your OTT platform. Basically, it should be your fan who decides to share their data with you 
  2. You will be able to build trust and loyalty with your fan base – thanks to transparency and clear communication from your side. 
  3. Grow your fan base – by building trust in parallel with delivering relevant communication, you can rest assured that you will grow your fan base.

However, in order to adopt an efficient and optimized first-party data strategy, your sports organization needs to ensure that all your first-party data is available to you. And the best way to leverage this is to use a customer data platform (CDP). This will ensure that:

  1. Collect and centralize your data. By unifying your data, a CDP makes your data available to everyone in your organization that needs it – creating a single source of truth.
  2. Analyze and uncover insights from it. Because you have all your data collected and centralized in the CDP, you can now easily gain relevant insights into your supporters’ characteristics, preferences, and behaviors.
  3. Act on these insights. A CDP then lets you segment your audience into different groups based on these insights. You can then act on them via different tools, such as a marketing automation tool, CRM, Social Media, etc. Then via these tools, you can deliver messages and experiences on your supporters’ preferred channels and platforms.