Banyan - September 2023

Manchester United Partners With SCAYLE as Sports Teams Launch D2C Channels

Manchester United Partners With SCAYLE

With pro sports teams around the globe launching direct-to-consumer (D2C) platforms to build more immediate relationships with their fans, Manchester United is partnering with SCAYLE to create its own digital experience.

The Premier League English football team announced Tuesday (Jan. 23) that it is working with the D2C online shopping platform for its eCommerce efforts, gearing up for a launch later in the year.

“Manchester United is always looking for new and innovative ways to improve our fans’ experience,” Phil Lynch, CEO of direct-to-consumer products and experiences at Manchester United, said in a statement. “We are delighted to be partnering with SCAYLE to further enhance our eCommerce offering, delivering an exceptional fan experience through personalization and a premium best-in-class commerce platform.”

Across the world and in different sports, professional teams are increasingly turning to D2C platforms to build more direct relationships with their viewers, enabling them to more immediately capitalize on their fans’ enthusiasm, drive long-term loyalty and get a fuller picture of their audiences’ behavior. Many of these efforts in recent months have centered on the game-streaming experience.

Take, for instance, basketball. In September, NBA team the Utah Jazz launched its paid Jazz+ D2C subscription service, providing access to game livestreams, exclusive shows and other content. Plus, in October, the Phoenix Suns launched their own D2C streaming platform, Suns Live, and in the same month, the Los Angeles Lakers partnered with Spectrum SportsNet to launch the D2C Spectrum SportsNet+.

In baseball, too, teams are looking to D2C models. For example, over the summer, Major League Baseball team the Chicago Cubs launched a direct subscription via Marquee Sports Network, and Marquee said Wednesday (Jan. 17) that in the six months since its launch, the number of subscribers to the service has exceeded expectations by 20%.

“We saw growing subscriptions each month, and that’s the interesting thing with [D2C] as opposed to cable,” Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney stated in a Sports Business Journal report. “Typically, cable subscribers are not turning their cable service on and off monthly based on their programming choices.”

Yet consumers may not want separate streaming services for all their sports-viewing needs. PYMNTS Intelligence’s study “The One-Stop Bill Pay Playbook: Drivers of Consumers’ Bill Payment Priorities,” which drew from a survey of more than 2,100 U.S. consumers, found that when people are unable to pay all their bills, streaming subscriptions are the first to be canceled. Fifty-five percent of respondents reported that they would cancel streaming subscriptions if they needed to reduce the bills they received each month.

Plus, according to findings from 2022 highlighted in PYMNTS’ Subscription Commerce Tracker®, 55% of consumers think there are too many streaming options, and 53% find it too expensive to pay for all the content.

Additionally, reports show that roughly 1 in 4 U.S. subscribers to major services like Netflix, Hulu and Disney+ have canceled at least three subscriptions in the last two years, and streaming service cancellations have been on the rise.