4 ways fan engagement drives value for your club
- Entertain your fans
- Build first party database
- Bring new commercial assets and value to your partners
In today’s society sports clubs face enormous challenges to maintain all those values we love team sports for. Building blocks such as dedication, focus, endurance, agility, style, team spirit, and strategy that are shown by players and coaches must remain fundamentals for generations to come. To preserve these values, clubs are competing for attention harder than ever against the world of Netflix, sitcoms, music streaming services, social media platforms and so on.
According to Meta, 90% of fans use second screens (mainly phones and tablets) and browse social media platforms and other apps while watching sports on television or in the stadium. The use of these apps include some that are related to the game like live stats, but some completely unrelated and distracting. Nielsen adds the fact that 47% of the people who watch sports on TV or digital platforms simultaneously watch other live content, much higher than the general population (33%).
We looked at what clubs and rights holders can do to keep their fans engaged and build a long term relationship with fans.
Entertain your fans, this is showbiz!
It has been found in much of the related research that in the 21st century attention spans are on the decline. During a 90 minute game of football the attention fluctuates regardless of where the fan watches the match from. There are multiple ways to keep up the attention. Which are the ones your clubs are utilising?
- Maximising live experience for your fans
- Using apps and platforms that offers insights about the game as well ones that enables fans to connect with their favourite players and stars
- Creating virtual experiences for fans to see what players may be able to see. Going further, according to Chelsea senior management only 1% of their fanbase ever visit Stamford Bridge, so virtual experiences that give a feel for the stadium are also memorable for fans.
- Connecting with fans well before and well after matchday, building a community and having an ongoing dialogue.
- Make the experiences personalised
- Using technology to make the bond between teams and their fans even stronger.
- Launch activations that helps to understand fan behaviour and opinion
Besides holding on to fans’ attention for longer according to Gameplan Insights’ 2018 Sports Fan Engagement Marketing Report, 60% of sports fans will pay more money when provided with various experiences with their favourite athletes or teams.
Build first party database
“There’s no strategy for bringing in a 35-year-old fan for the first time. You have to make them a fan by the time they’re 18, or you’ll lose them forever.” – Tim Ellis, Chief Marketing Officer, NFL
Taking part in many online and offline sports related industry events and trade shows we have come across an unbelievably wide range of services that analyse players behaviour and these are being used to develop players, team and tactics. Learning about fan behaviour and building a database won’t improve the performance of the team directly, but the financial benefits of a growing fanbase that spends more will certainly be a great benefit to both the board of directors and the results. Knowing what players’ fans like, that leads to purchase intent. Knowing where fans follow the game from also helps to establish what of your products and services they may consume. However, if you are reliant only on social media platforms you will be deemed to only receive a limited amount of third party data. Focusing on keeping your fans data in house while abiding data protection regulations will drive much of your clubs worth besides players data in the near future.
Bring new commercial assets and value to your partners
Satisfying commercial obligations of your partners is increasingly more challenging. Most professional sports leagues in Western Europe & US are highly commercialised and the pandemic has shown that the current set of assets in the clubs hands to give value to their sponsors are vulnerable. European clubs and leagues had a harder time bridging their financial needs than US clubs that seem to have a wider inventory for commercial purposes. Clubs should look for easy to implement turnkey solutions that bring additional value in the form of new inventory classes and assets that help to satisfy partner goals. On the day sponsors will extend contracts if their brands get the attention of your fans and if your channels are driving values they can associate with. According to Horizm, new digital inventories like Seyu as well as other multiple platforms generated nearly $1.3bn in 2021.
Now that you have invested into entertaining your fans and you are aware of their consumer habits built into your internal CRM, surely you’d like to see returns on your investments. Let’s look at ways to monetize your audience. Much of monetization has been focused so far around the live experience. Ticketing in stadium services, food & drinks, kick off & halftime show experiences, as mentioned above, there is only 1% of the fans that show up in the stadiums, leaving a whopping 99% of untapped spending power. If your merchandise is top notch, you’ll have a good chance of selling to remote fans as well, but you’ll probably share the profits with multiple shareholders and you’ll also need to sort logistics. This is where digital experiences come to play for remote fans and where Socios have done a great job. Why stop there though, imagine you can give a way for fans to show their love and support for their stars from afar and display them in the stadium and through social media platforms while still owning the data. This is what Seyu has been offering for the past 3 years to entertain millions of fans around the world, creating additional revenue for clubs, federations and rights holders.