CHICAGO: AT&T, the telecommunications and media company, is aiming to become “endemic” to the fan experience as it delivers both content and connectivity in the sports space.

Ryan Luckey, AT&T’s Assistant Vice President/Corporate Sponsorship, discussed this subject at the Association of National Advertisers’ (ANA) 2017 Brand Activation Conference.

And he outlined how the company – which owns satellite service DirecTV and is attempting to purchase media group Time Warner – is extending its capabilities in the sporting arena, from short-form online video to seamless digital connectivity.

“Connectivity is like oxygen to the sports fan. In the coming years, if we do our job right, AT&T will be just as endemic to the fan experience” as many sports drinks, apparel brands and beers have become, he said. (For more details, read WARC’s exclusive report: How AT&T is tapping consumers’ passion for sports.)

In the field of sports sponsorship, by way of example, the company now possesses unique capabilities for engaging fans around their passion point.

“Our mission is to mobilize your world. Everywhere you live, work, and play. You are increasingly connected, you are increasingly mobile,” said Luckey. “The ‘play’ part of ‘live, work, and play’ is something we can really nail.”

Building on this theme, he continued, “We are looking to innovate on the fan journey, not just devices, but with the human at the other end of that device. Why is this so critical? Because mobile has become the ‘first screen’.”

The AT&T Stadium in Dallas represents a case in point. “The on-site experience is – in what we used to called ‘critical thinking’ – ‘necessary’ but not ‘sufficient’,” said Luckey.

“If only 5% of football fans ever actually attend a live NFL game, that [is] only 80,000 fans on a Sunday in one stadium. I need to get after the millions of [Dallas] Cowboys fans in the state of Texas and beyond.”

The enthusiasm – for the Cowboys, for AT&T’s broadband service, and for the DirecTV platform that delivers more than just the play-by-play action – thus needs to spread far beyond the playing field.

“It needs to be much more about the content that you want to engage with on your mobile device,” Luckey said. “We’re leading that transformation to invest in exclusive short-form and long-form content, to engage fans wherever, and whenever, you want.”

Data sourced from WARC