jack settleman work in sports podcast

How to Engage Today's Sports Fans with Jack Settleman CEO SnapBack Sports

By Brian Clapp | July 26, 2021

Hey everybody, I’m Brian Clapp VP of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkInSports.com and this is the WorkInSports podcast... 

Just as much as change is a constant, so too is resistance to change. 

Every generation, to some degree, fights against change. They like how things operated in their youth, that is what they see as their perfect combination of how things should be. 

This applies to sports, and unfortunately just about everything else. A lot of the discord in our society comes down to many people being unwilling to change, they like the powerful seat they have, and change could disrupt that.  

In sports, it’s often about nostalgia, memories of going to the game with their dad and getting a hot dog vs. sharing memes on social media. 

I remember vividly how upset the generation before mine was about the wild card being introduced in baseball... it was going to ruin the game! The Wild Card, really? The game is so fragile that introducing more teams to the playoff format can break it?  

This resistance is nonsense, things change. The world changes. Demand changes. 

jack settleman work in sports podcastThe fact you carry around a supercomputer in your back pocket capable of giving you real time game results, means you don’t have to wait for Headline News to give you updates on the sports news of the day at the 10’s and 50’s of each hour. And you surely don’t have to wait for tomorrow’s newspaper. 

Anyone that is resistant to these changes is stuck. 

Now, that said, I’m not always a social media maven, I still like to watch a game instead of just highlights, I still like a well-crafted story...and occasionally, when I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll turn on SportsCenter and remember the olden days.  

That was a bit of a rocket shot at ESPN... sorry, love you guys! 

Today’s media and fans are changing, their appetite their interests. Do you think commissioners like Adam Silver can afford to sit back and think, man I loved the days those fans acted in this particular way. That was great. 

No! They are constantly evolving! 

That bring us to today’s guest Jack Settleman, CEO and Creator of SnapBack Sports. Jack hosted a panel right after mine, at the recent Hashtag Sports conference, and he captivated me. Jack was talking new media, new fans ad new levels of attraction...I was hooked and wanted to learn more.  

Snapback sports tagline: a new way to consume sports – does just that, really well. Snapback is the largest sports Snapchat account in the world totaling over 500M+ views YTD. And Jack and his team leverage other social channels, collaborations, memes, experiences, betting, fantasy –it's amazing, and it works. 

Let’s learn a little something about fandom with Jack Settleman CEO of SnapBack Sports! 

Questions for Jack Settleman, CEO of SnapBack Sports

1: When I started doing my research on you front and center is the 24-year-old part, which gives off an impression that you are some young guy that hit the lottery with a popular social media channel.  

But that’s not the full story, you put in the work – graduated from UT Austin in sports management, interned at SportsLock, Hashtag Sports, Whistle Sports, Nike, worked at the Action Network – how important was it to build your foundation in sports and business so that you could be successful as an entrepreneur? 

2: SnapBack is a super interesting take on what sports fans want today. When I came up in the industry it was ESPN and highlights – now it is something very different and you have tapped into that – what makes SnapBack so relevant to the needs of today’s sports fans?  

3: Let’s dig into that content side of things, since I am a content guy and love all the new techniques and approaches. The first thing that grabs me in the experiences side of SnapBack – I love behind the scenes, off the court content - It’s real, it’s entertaining, it’s human. But going to games is an expensive endeavor, when you were first getting started, before you had 1 million followers and brand partners, was it hard to afford some of the creative ideas you wanted to explore?  

4: There is a lot of pressure in social media to constantly be creative, do you feel pressure to always be on the leading edge and always be creating new perspectives, or does this come naturally to you? 

5: I had a guest recently that stressed the importance of failing as a means of growing. In her view, which I agree with, you must stick your neck out there and try things without fear.  

You seem like the embodiment of that – do you live in a trial-and-error world? Or do you spend a little more time planning than people may give your credit for? 

6: I feel like I was in the sports industry for over a decade before I found my real point of view – some of that is probably deprogramming from my education and early career that was pure journalism – how did you generate the confidence to say, “I’m doing this differently, and I know it’ll work”?  

7: We use the word “Authentic” a lot nowadays. I hear “chasing authenticity” “authentic branding” authentic this and authentic that … what does that concept of authenticity mean to you and how do you bring that to SnapBack? 

8: I mentioned having to deprogram myself a bit -- coming up in sports journalism it was always “don’t make yourself the story, you aren’t the brand” and “be completely unbiased, present information”. This is another area you challenged and fans have embraced – do you think the audience was just a little fed up with the way sports had been presented for so long? 

9:  Let’s talk about brand alignment – building an audience is great, creating great content is amazing and rewarding, but we all have to monetize, we aren’t charities. How do you go about aligning with brands and keeping the authenticity? 

10: Why SnapChat? Why was this the right channel for your style and niche? 

11: I interviewed Michelle Andres recently the SVP of Ravens Media – one of your favorite teams – and we were talking about social channels and how they decide to allocate their time and resources. She somewhat dismissed SnapChat as if to say, she’s not sure it has a future... what would you say to this? 

12: One trend that has never gotten old in sports is debate. Sports fans have been arguing in bars since the dawn of time. Personally, I’m a little tired of the way debate is done now – it seems to have lost authenticity [there is that word again] it’s the click bait of sports content. Are we done with debate yet? 

13: The creator economy is different now than ever before, primarily due to access. When I was coming up in the industry there wasn’t the avenues to create and publish content that there is now. For a long time we all said in the digital space “content is king! go forth and create!”  

I heard you say recently that “collaboration is king” -- explain. 

14: Finish up with this -- Sports content and fandom is always changing – you have your finger on the pulse, where does it all go from here?  

Thanks for listening to the Work In Sports podcast -- remember to share with your friends!


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