On the Grill: Marc Segarra & Triller Fight Club
TV viewership of traditional sports has been dropping for the last decade, mostly amongst the younger generations.
According to ESPN’s internal data, the number of 12-17-year-olds who identify as “avid sports fans” has dropped from 42% a decade ago to 34% last year.
Adding up to this trend, the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the Sports entertainment landscape in an unpredictable way: the stadiums were left with silent empty seats, and the sports competitions and events were cancelled and moved around the calendar.
Forbes published that in 2020 the Stanley Cup Finals dipped by 61%, the NBA Finals were down 49% and it was the least-watched World Series on record.
Even the almighty NFL is scuffling, as the 2021 Super Bowl got 96.4 million viewers, the lowest rating since 2007, according to CNBC.
Overall, a new fan experience is clearly in order to captivate the interest and attention of the new generations, and guarantee the future of sports entertainment.
The last Triller Fight Club event gathered a full slate of familiar names both performing and fighting, including Justin Bieber, Diplo, Dojacat, YouTuber Jake Paul, former MMA champion Ben Askren, along with WBA International champion Joe Fournier and reggaeton star Reykon, mediated by ISL for the event.
The goal wasn’t to make it solely a concert or fighting event, but rather a spectacle that can appeal to almost every demographic. No expense was spared to make that happen with an epic production on set, mixed with guest celebrities and social media influencers creating the buzz around it.
Is Triller’s recipe the solution to increase engagement in Sports Entertainment?
We gathered the comments of Triller Fight Club representatives on this matter, and the answers of ISL Managing Partner Marc Segarra.
Ryan Kavanaugh, Triller co-founder and principal:
“When you say Coachella, it’s not just music — it’s the experience of a weekend, we want people to say the same when they think Triller Fight Club. Boxing hasn’t changed in 50 years. If I go watch a boxing match from 1995 then youth watch a boxing match tomorrow, it’s the same camera angles, same camera, same announcers. The same format. It’s boring. People want entertainment that feels real, and this is the mix to satisfy that desire.”
- What makes Triller Fight Club different from the traditional boxing experience?
Marc Segarra: Triller fight club is a “trip” , an entertainment experience that goes way beyond two opponents boxing inside a ring. They are creating a transcendental concept by putting together a multifaceted show led by music legends and global influencers. The crossover between different entertainment experiences is what makes Triller unique, allowing it to capture the attention of a much wider audience than the traditional boxing events.
Bert Marcus, Emmy-winning filmmaker and Triller Fight Club show director:
“This isn’t sports, it’s entertainment that has sports, I think the one thing we’ve made a conscious effort to do is bring sports and entertainment together in a very original way.”
- What is the key to captivate the attention of the new generations towards traditional Sports entertainment?
Marc Segarra: How many of you watch a TV program while checking your phones? As technology evolves and continues to overwhelm us, paying attention to a single ¨thing¨ for over 10 min has become a challenge. In order to get the attention of the new generations it is a must to offer short, engaging and cool content communicated with a colloquial and understandable language.
- Will the mix of sports and entertainment be enough to create a new successful sports experience, or should Sports also invest in short attention span content for channels like Twitch, Tik Tok and Triller?
Marc Segarra: Although each individual consumes entertainment differently, the trends for the future of sports entertainment are clear; interactive experiences with short attention span content. These types of trends are totally normal for the Z and Alpha generations but completely new for the millennials and baby boomers. In this disruptive scenario, there is no other way around it than adapting sports entertainment to the new trends.
- Why do you think the younger generations are feeling disconnected from traditional sports and traditional media?
Marc Segarra: For younger generations it is essential to feel identified and a part of what they consume in order for them to engage with the content. Traditional media is not offering them that sense of belonging, which is why these upcoming platforms exclusively catered to the youngest audiences are taking over the entertainment industry.
- How do you see Sports Entertainment in 10 years?
Marc Segarra: In my opinion people will consume selected content by minutes. So for example, instead of paying $X to watch 90 min of a full soccer game, people will pay less $$$ to watch portions of this game.