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Engaging with Generation Z is turning into a headache for marketers, and one that can no longer be ignored or pushed into the “too hard” pile to think about later. The truth is, depending on where you draw the line, the oldest Gen-Zers are in their mid-20s now, and will soon be the dominant generation. 

One of the keys to understanding Gen-Z and how they tick is to tap into their values and beliefs. This is of particular significance to businesses operating in the sports sector, which is seeing declining interest and engagement from under-30s compared with older millennials, Gen X and baby boomers. The growing acceptance of cryptocurrency into the mainstream could be a vital piece of the puzzle. 

Making the connection

The apparently ageing nature of sports fans is borne out by market data. Only 23 percent of Gen-Z describe themselves as “passionate sport fans” compared with 42 percent of millennials and 32 percent of over-40s. 

So what are Gen-Z passionate about? They are progressive, they are more diverse in racial and ethnic terms and they are better educated. This is a generation that has grown up surrounded by choice. They take time to evaluate options before committing to a purchase or a pursuit. This is an important point, because marketers often say that Gen-Z has destroyed the concept of brand loyalty. Viewed objectively, however, it is more a case that they are more savvy and are less likely to blindly follow a brand unless there is a tangible reason to do so.

The connection with sport is plain to see. Traditional passionate sports fans are probably the best example of brand loyalty you will ever see. Just look at the Cleveland Browns, one of the most passionately supported teams in the NFL. You could ask a Browns fan why he or she continues to support the team despite its poor record in recent years if you dare. Any who deign to reply will say things like “because I’ve always stuck with the Browns” or “because I love the Browns” or “because my parents and their parents supported the Browns.” Brand loyalty at its best.

Where does crypto come in?

Winning the hearts and minds of Gen-Z needs a different approach. They identify with common beliefs and ideals and crypto is a prime example. An incredible 94% of crypto buyers are either Gen-Z or millennials. Gen-Z specifically has an inherent understanding of the digital world and of digital currencies. In fact, a recent survey by Bankrate showed that 34 percent of Gen-Z are “somewhat comfortable or very comfortable” with crypto investment, compared with 29 percent of millennials, 21 percent of Gen X, and 11 percent of baby boomers. 

By associating with crypto through sponsorship and endorsement deals, sports franchises and athletes send out a signal to Gen-Z that they have shared values and beliefs. Some sports have been early adopters where crypto is concerned. Poker is, perhaps, the most obvious example, and playing for crypto in online tournaments brings plenty of benefits – see for more information.

Published by HOLR Magazine.