How BT Sport increased subs despite cutting marketing spend

BT Sport combined data with creativity, resulting in a 30% uplift in subscriptions.

BT Sport had been challenged to maintain its previous performance despite substantial cuts to its marketing budget. To do so it turned to data, helping it to “think the unthinkable” and write a script for the 2019/20 football season using artificial intelligence (AI).

Opta supplied sports data, which was analysed by the Google Cloud platform and sports agency Squawka to create a 60-page dossier that was released to pundits, players, influencers and journalists, before being made public.

The result was a national conversation about football, with BT Sport at its centre.

The strategy delivered a 30% increase in subscriptions for a fraction of the 2018/19 budget, leading BT Sport to win the 2020 Marketing Week Masters award for data-driven marketing.

The judges described this as “hitting the holy data grail”. “It’s good to see that spending more money isn’t always the answer, that creativity and the power of data can lead to strong results. Encouragement for all brands competing with others with bigger budgets.”

The campaign also won the Masters awards for PR and brand storytelling, best use of a small budget and sports, gaming and entertainment.



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