Professional sports isn’t just about going to a game and watching “your” team anymore. When COVID-19 forced the world to shut down and stopped people from attending live sports events, a new appreciation for the value of engaging digitally with fans was found. Sports have become a global phenomenon further pushed on by social media and the entirety of the internet.
Fan engagement is important because fans are the lifeblood of sports. Even if there were no games, fans would still rally around a specific team. If sports organizations don’t make an effort to engage with their fans, they risk losing loyalty, revenue, and a community of people who would support them no matter what. Digitally, there are a few things sports organizations can do to create engagement with these fans.
When fans aren’t physically inside a stadium, you still want them to be involved and feel like they are part of something. A steady stream of content and exposure is a great way to keep your fans engaged while also making revenue on the side. Here are some ideas to create excitement:
Host an online contest. Have your fans share, comment, like, and create posts that directly benefit you. You are in charge of a community. Make that community feel like they have a voice and have them contribute directly to the business. Whether that be a new slogan, new graphics, new song, etc… let your fans submit entries and make them feel like they are actually part of something.
Interaction with your content attracts new fans while giving current fans exciting opportunities that they love to be part of.
Smartphones are used more and more every day. Creating an app specifically for your team is a great place to integrate your content into one area that fans can easily access. Fans can connect with other fans, see all the team stats, and even stream the game directly from their app. On top of all of this, an app allows you to integrate a reward system to engage with your fans. Fans can earn rewards for doing certain things that will lead to prizes and discounts.
Make your fans feel like they are a VIP. LaLiga North America created a unique approach to engage a group of Spanish football superfans. They hosted a series of five exclusive watch parties that you could stream directly from your home and had Q&As in a live chatroom only for members in the loyalty program. This made their fans feel like they were important and that they were actively part of the team. Offer incentives and benefits to people who want to go above and beyond in their fandom.
With the advancement of technology, there is virtually nothing stopping you from creating new ways to engage with your fans. Fans want 24/7/365 content that gets them closer to the athletes and the action. That is why FC Barcelona created a specialty entertainment service and launched their very own streaming platform, which has become a treasure trove for fans. There are more than 1,500 hours of content, including exclusive interviews, behind the scenes info, original documentaries, live matches, etc… They realized that people wanted more than just a stadium experience, and they tapped into this digital world.
Digital experiences are taking over the sports world. Companies are now working on virtual immersion. Wouldn’t it be fun to be part of the training sessions or play an actual game with your favorite player? Technology enables fans to stand in the waiting room with all the players right before a game.
The possibilities are endless in a digital world. Fans are wanting more than just to go to a game. To create engagement, you need to think outside the box and deliver something that makes people feel like they are part of a community and not merely part of a game.
At Americaneagle.com, we can push your sports team into the digital world and actively create engagement for your fans. If you want to learn more about how we can help your sports team adapt to a digital world, contact us on ways to greatly enhance your digital presence.