Matt Wilson – Ball Street – The Influence Channel

Matt Wilson

Consumer engagement with football content is changing, as more viewers interact and seek opinion via social media channels. This new consumer take-up has led to advertisers revaluing their brand propositions and output. 

Ball Street Co-Founder Matt Wilson details to SBC readers the rise of ‘Influence’ based marketing and how new social dynamics are changing advertiser practices and values.


SBC: Hi Matt, pleasure to interview you. Your company Ball Street focuses on building social influencers for sports on Social Media channels such as Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc… Can you detail to SBC readers how Ball Street defines an “influencer”, and why this form of marketing is gaining popularity?

Matt Wilson: An influencer is somebody who has built an audience around the passions that they share with that audience, be it Transfer news, funny videos, or a specific team or club. This form of marketing is growing as fans are extracting their trust from traditional media and investing it into authentic places where they enjoy a greater intimacy and engagement. The stats bear it out as well, 90 % of consumers trust influencer recommendations whereas 33 % trust ads and 74% of consumers use social media to inform purchasing decisions.

SBC: Ball Street has introduced numerous advertisers to a relatively new form of marketing. Can you detail how your team has guided its partners through ‘influence’ led social media practices?

MW: Our company is made up of fans who are influencers that play an active role within fan communities on a continuous basis. We have a direct relationship with huge audiences across some platforms and channels, and this makes us well placed to provide good and honest counsel on whether an idea will work, or how an offer or message will be received. Football fans recognise football fans and a brand trying to act like a mate but not getting it right can go wrong very quickly as we saw with Dunkin Donuts x Liverpool FC (see below).

Had Dunkin Donuts worked with us and our Liverpool channel (The RedMen TV) this own goal would have been avoided. Brands who include us / influencers early in the process see the best results!


SBC: From a commercial perspective how is ‘influencer’ marketing challenging conceptions of traditional media/branding campaigns? What new factors and values has ‘influencer’ marketing brought to the party?

MW: I would say that influencer marketing is a new channel, a new frontier, one that is made up of Trust and authenticity. Influencers have strong relationships with their audience, they are organic and pure rather than conceptualised.

Brands have the opportunity to fund something that an influencer or group of influencers would like to do, and that their audience(s) will enjoy, in turn, the brand partner will earn the trust, the long term good faith of a community.

SBC: Assessing current betting marketing campaigns, do you feel that there is appropriate/adequate fit between sports “influencer” channels and betting services, or do bookmaker need to create more socially appealing brands?

MW: I feel that it is more about understanding the opportunity in social and the role that influencers can play. The fit is there, but that nobody is really doing it well. The affiliate model and pressure to get ROI out of social prevents a great experience where the interests of fans, the influencer and bookmakers overlap.

This sweet spot is where great value exists, and one in which the brand can garner favour and delayed gratification. Influencers have a great relationship with their audience, and brands have an opportunity to enter that relationship by enabling the influencer to make more of the content that the audience already love.

At Ball Street, we did a nice piece of work with our fan channels and BetVictor that created strong foundations of community around their brand and unprecedented engagement for BetVictor’s social channels. Fans were actually discussing the weekends likely football outcomes and making predictions on the outcomes of markets that BetVictor provide.

SBC: As “influencer” marketing becomes further established; how do you think this practice will affect the operational set-up of marketing teams (be it agency or in-house).

MW: It reminds me of the early days of broadcast sponsorship, and I expect it will be fragmented with some people employing agencies and a lot of stuff getting done directly. I believe we are fairly uniquely positioned, who are well versed in working with brands on partnerships, but we also have lots of influencers working together, so we can provide a very professional yet authentic service to brands wanting to do great tings in this new and exciting space.

SBC: Finally, as advertisers see consumers engage further with social devices, seeking brand information or product/service opinion via social mediums. Do you feel that advertisers will ultimately lose control of their brands and core messaging?

MW: The world has changed immeasurably over the last ten years, it is sometimes hard to see as we are in the midst of this change, but what worked in the past is not necessarily going to work in the future. A huge ad budget and great line or big name ambassador don’t necessarily mean success anymore.

People are waking up, and advances in tech and social are fuelling and enabling the satisfaction of a greater thirst for transparency and authenticity. Brands are no longer what they say they are; they are what the crowd says they are. Hence the constant requirement for independent third-party advocacy from trusted sources. And this is where influencers can play a pivotal role!


Matt Wilson –  Co-Founder Of Ball Street  will be speaking at BOFCON session “Read all about it – Content marketing & football,” click the below tab for further details 





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