We’re just days away from National Sports Forum, the largest gathering of business professionals in the sports industry. At this event, we expect to hear from key influencers on the changes happening to the industry, especially as it pertains to the web.
Like everything else in this world, the sports industry has gone digital. It’s easier than ever for fans to connect online and both major teams and youth leagues have even more opportunities to build dynamic and engaging moments. With the quick rise in AI, VR, and the Internet of Things, many sports firms are dealing with “innovation overload.” What’s important to go after and where should teams begin when it comes to creating digital experiences? Here are a few ways to take sports moments from the field to the web without breaking your neck.
Build a community
There is an emotional aspect of being a sports fan. When you have a team or an athlete that you love, that is your team, you take ownership of their wins, losses, triumphs, and setbacks. Sports fills that innate need for human connection and the desire to be a part of something greater. Enhancing that connection on digital is the most obvious next step. Think of ways you can build an experience around your team, starting with your website. Are there places that fans can talk to each other? Can you find ways to facilitate in-person fan interaction?
One great example of this is the website we created for the Green Bay Packers, PackersEverywhere.com. Loyal Packers followers don’t just live in Green Bay, they’re located all across the country and the team wanted a way to connect these ardent fans. The Packers Everywhere website offers fans the chance to find watch parties and official Packers bars & restaurants. Users can even enter exclusive contests and submit photos.
Sports websites can also be used for useful information, and nowhere is that more prevalent than youth sports. At least 40% of children play some sort of sport on a regular basis yet digital experiences for youth sports are often the most dated and least intuitive. Many youth teams don’t even have a website and parents struggle to find the information they need about games, important documents, and news.
Treat youth sports with the same importance as the major leagues by creating a website built with the user in mind. What problems can you solve? What do your site visitors need from your website? Start with the user and go from there.
As brands continue to fight for attention, personal digital experiences are becoming more and more important. The concept of personalization isn’t new but its prominence is growing. Consider the last time you logged on to Amazon.com. If you’re a frequent shopper, you’ll be presented with a multitude of items that you recently viewed along with the items that Amazon predicts you will be interested in. With the right tools and the right data, your team can be on its way to providing these one-on-one experiences as well.
Start by creating personas of the different types of users that visit your site. What will each of these users do when they visit the site? How engaged are they with your team? How much do they make and what do they enjoy? From there you can start building out curated experiences based on user data. Consider displaying certain information to fans who attended a game to reengage them later on. You can even send out targeted emails based on past user activities such as viewing photo albums, sharing highlight videos, or purchasing team merchandise.
As the sports industry continues to undergo a digital transformation, it’s important to acknowledge the trends while staying vigilant to what’s ahead. For even more guidance, partnering with a technology partner is key. National Sports Forum is happening February 9th – February 12th in Atlanta, Ga. and Americaneagle.com is excited to sponsor the event. If you plan to attend, be sure to stop by Booth #9 in the sponsor village to discuss your organization’s digital goals.