A Study of French Sports Clubs' Websites and GDPR

Axeptio used its cookie scanner, Shake, to audit the GDPR compliance of 270 websites of male and female professional clubs across the five main team sports in France . The Axeptio study reveals significant challenges for the professional sports sector: 40% of the websites of football, rugby, basketball, handball, and volleyball clubs lack consent collection mechanisms!

Many clubs resort to proprietary consent management solutions, which often result in superficial compliance. Even among clubs equipped with Consent Management Platforms (CMPs), only a minority effectively deploy cookies after consent.

The complete study is available in a 10-page document below in PDF format.

CTA english

Cookie management on professional sporting clubs' websites

 

In an ever-changing digital landscape, where data protection and privacy have become top priorities, GDPR compliance auditing and cookie management by websites are crucial aspects for any online business, including professional team sports clubs in France.

Today, a professional club uses its website for many functions:
- News about the club and its various teams (men's, women's, U23, youth)
- Fixtures and standings
- Ticketing
- Online store for merchandise
- Photo and video content
- Community management

Axeptio has published a study that is a first in France, analyzing the strategies implemented by almost 300 of the leading sports clubs' websites in France. It provides unprecedented information for compliance officers, digital marketing professionals and decision-makers in the field of team sports in France.

 

The Methodology Used is Based On Shake. Tracker Audits Are One Of The Pillars Of The Axeptio Consent Platform.

The scope of this Axeptio study covers the websites of men's and women's professional clubs in the 5 major team sports at the top 2 competitive levels, i.e. a total of 270 websites (158 men's club websites and 112 women's club websites).

  • Football (38 and 26 clubs respectively)
  • Rugby (29 and 15 clubs)
  • Basketball (36 and 20 clubs)
  • Handball (30 and 26 clubs)
  • Volleyball (25 and 25 clubs)

The Axeptio team conducted an audit of trackers (cookies, trackers via fonts or CDNs) on each of the websites using its cookie scanner, Shake. For each site, Shake can:

    • Identify the presence of a consent collection banner (Consent Management Platform- CMP acronym used throughout the rest of this article).
    • Count the number of tracking technology providers present.
    • Determine whether each tracker was activated before or after user consent was obtained.

Note: Some clubs were excluded due to technical issues.

 

40% Of Professional Sports Clubs' Websites Have No User Consent Collection Mechanisms

After conducting the Shake tracker audit in the second half of February 2024 on 270 collective sports club websites, it was observed that over 40% of professional clubs do not display any modules or banners for collecting user consent. 

    • There is a gender gap, as 35% of male clubs do not collect user consent, compared to 48% of female clubs.
    • There is also a discrepancy between the two major outdoor sports and the three indoor sports:
      • the percentage of football & rugby clubs without consent collection is 27% and 32%, respectively,
      • whereas the percentage without consent collection is 46% for basketball and handball and 52% for volleyball.

21% Of Professional Club Websites Rely On Home-Made Consent Systems

Sports clubs equipped with CMPs

Shake allows you to analyze the identity of the consent collection platform when it is present.

Clubs that want to comply with the GDPR face two choices:

    • They can either develop it themselves (through their IT department) or have a custom consent collection module developed (by a web development agency). In the vast majority of cases, such proprietary development is accompanied by a facade of consent, as these proprietary developments often overlook the backend aspect of consent and neglect to ensure that the end-user's wishes are respected for each tracer provider and on each page of the website and its various sections and sub-domains.

    • Choose a market solution offered by a dozen technology players, including Axeptio. A list of Google-certified consent management platforms can be found here.

The Axeptio study reveals that one in five clubs adopts a proprietary CMP development, both on the male and female sides (22% and 21% respectively).

 

➡️ Detailed analysis by sport is available in the complete study below.

CTA english

 

Professional Football Clubs, Both Male And Female, Appear To Be The Most Mature In Digital Marketing, With 18 Cookie Providers Present On Their Website.

As mentioned above, Axeptio's Shake tool is able to identify each cookie and tracker provider. We have analyzed the number of cookie providers on websites by sport and gender. The Axeptio study shows a wide disparity in the number of cookie providers present on team sports websites.

 

Table 1: Number of cookie providers present on websites

 

Football

Rugby

Basket

Handball

Volley

Total

Total

18.1

12.7

12.1

10.7

11

13.1

Source: Axeptio Study on GDPR Compliance of 270 Websites of Professional Clubs in Major French Team Sports (Football, Rugby, Basketball, Handball, Volleyball), April 2024

 

➡️ Detailed analysis by gender and sport of the number of cookie providers present on the 270 websites is available in the complete study below.

CTA english

 

It seems realistic to think that such a 50% difference in favor of football versus the other 4 sports reflects the importance of digitalization in the strategy of professional clubs.


A club like PSG addresses an international audience digitally (45% according to Similarweb) to develop its brand and ticket revenue (the top 3 keywords still according to Similarweb). It is therefore normal for performance tracking and digital experience optimization purposes for PSG to use 20 cookie providers. It is worth noting that some clubs may exceed 40 tracker providers, as is the case with Olympique Lyonnais and FC Metz.

Among The 60% Of Clubs Equipped With a CMP, a Minority Use the Best Practices For Depositing Cookies After Consent Has Been Obtained: One CMP-Equipped Club in 6 Waits For User Consent Before Collecting Data. 

GDPR compliance of 270 professional sporting clubs' websites

Shake allows for regular monitoring to determine whether cookies and other trackers are deposited before or after obtaining user consent.


The Axeptio study reveals widespread poor practices among clubs equipped with a CMP: only 16% of the 161 clubs equipped with a CMP have at least 70% of their cookie providers properly configured within their CMP, meaning that cookies are deposited after obtaining user consent.

There is little difference between genders regarding this percentage of "good performers," with 15% of male clubs and 19% of female clubs equipped with a CMP.

The case of male football is particularly revealing because even though it has:

    • the highest level of CMP installations (82%),
    • the lowest presence of proprietary CMPs (13%),
    • the greatest digital maturity, with nearly 20 plotter suppliers per site,

only 19% of equipped clubs properly deposit cookies after obtaining consent (at least 70% of cookie providers properly configured within CMPs). In total, 43% of cookie providers are properly configured after consent within male football clubs.

 

➡️ Detailed analysis by gender and sport of the percentage of compliant clubs is available in the complete study below.

CTA english

 

Conclusion: Urgent Need for GDPR Awareness in Sports 

The findings of the Axeptio study are clear:

    • 40% of professional team sports clubs do not have a user consent collection banner (35% among men and 48% among women respectively).
    • Clubs equipped with CMPs overwhelmingly resort to surface-level consent regardless of their digital maturity (over 80% of clubs equipped with CMPs).
    • Overall, only 10% of professional team sports club websites respect user consent (the same figure for men and women), with at least 70% of cookie providers well configured.

Football appears to be the least worst performer with 12.5% of GDPR-compliant websites, ahead of rugby (10%), basketball and handball (7%), with volleyball being last (2%).

 

GDPR compliance of Basketball clubs' websites

 

It is worth remembering that failure to comply with the GDPR can result in fines of up to 4% of sales and that the average budgets in France of the top men's professional divisions are 100 million euros per club for football (excluding PSG), 32 million for rugby, 7 million for basketball, 6 million for handball and less than 2 million for volleyball. 

More than ever, stakeholders in both professional and amateur sports must implement proven consent banners in the market, such as Axeptio (with 60,000 equipped websites), to comply with CNIL regulations (French National Commission for Information Technology and Civil Liberties). ("Read the recommendations (French) aimed at professionals to assist them in their compliance efforts.")

 

Axeptio, The Leading CMP Among Professional Team-Sports Clubs

The Axeptio teams are ready to help all French sports decision-makers improve their GDPR compliance in 2024, the biggest year for sporting events in a quarter century. 

With a 17% market share among professional team sports clubs, Axeptio offers a suite of consent management platforms capable of delivering the best possible user experience.

The Axeptio CMP makes it possible to create a positive consent experience, enabling sports associations, professional clubs, leagues and federations to offer their digital audiences real choices regarding privacy and data protection, all while growing brand preference.

Some Axeptio references in soccer and rugby (men's and women's):

 

 

"Decision-makers in French sports, let's meet!"

Be GDPR compliant while providing a positive consent experience for your fans!

Chief Revenue Officer - Axeptio

Newsletter

Related articles

Axeptio and Law 25: An essential Asset for Small Businesses

Axeptio and Law 25: An essential Asset for Small Businesses

Patricia Filiatrault is the founder of a web agency in Quebec that bears her name: PF Communications. She helps companies with their website and SEO projects, navigating the challenges of...
How Veepee Switzerland optimizes its user consent rate

How Veepee Switzerland optimizes its user consent rate

Veepee, Europe's leading private sales company, faces a twofold challenge in Switzerland, where the group has historically been present: to comply with the New Federal Act on Data...
The Impact of a CMP on Digital Performance: DroneXperts Case Study

The Impact of a CMP on Digital Performance: DroneXperts Case Study

DroneXperts, a leader in drone integration for businesses, offers tailored solutions for a variety of industrial applications. As a recognized brand in the industry, DroneXperts generates...