BIHUB PATH

June 3, 2022

Fan Engagement & Big Data

Strategies to improve fan engagement

After the pandemic, attendance to sports events has been decreasing in many sports. There is no one single factor for this phenomenon. It’s more about a change in the market in which digital services have gained increasing relevance.

Consumers’ entertainment is encountered in many different ways such as streaming platforms, video games, esports competitions, on-demand online content, etc. 

Attendance and participation have also been affected by changes in games schedules, ticket prices, and negative perceptions of traditional sports as involving violent, racist, and homophobic behaviours. 

The industry is at a point in which fan loyalty and engagement are extremely important for the sports and economic development of a club. How is this obtained? 

Fan engagement is based on the understanding of fans’ needs, tastes, and preferences so that the values and principles that the community expects from a sports club can be followed. It is about creating a closer bond in which the fan feels part of the club by means of the generation of actions that directly target fans’ expectations. 

Attention Market

Sports clubs do not only compete against each other about content creation. They are constantly competing against other ways and means of entertainment.

The average consumer has a limited amount of time to spend on leisure activities. If clubs don’t want their fans to change services or platforms, they must ensure they produce quality content and one that differs from the rest of their competitors

Sports have a clear advantage over other types of entertainment. Going to the stadium and seeing a game played by your favourite team are still an essential part of a football fan’s experience. The game day is a perfect moment to generate content before, during, and after the event: prior analysis, chats, players’ stats, post-match talks, etc. 

However, it is not convenient to concentrate all the fan engagement in just one day.  Sponsors, who are key in the sports industry, are permanently trying to reach consumers and to be part of their daily lives. Concentrating all the advertising effort in just one day is too risky. In the case of a bad result, for instance, the fans’ mood might lead to a lack of interest in the content generated by the club that day. 

In order to avoid having everything done on game day, it is necessary to develop actions that add value during the whole season, and not just at certain moments.

Creation of Quality Content

The content is the most effective way to retain fans. This means that it is the king of fan engagement. The Internet, smartphones, and social networks have brought celebrities, brands, and clubs closer to fans. They have generated a great level of competition to catch consumers’ attention.

Fans do not only consume content related to the event as such, instead, they have started to look for a deeper connection with the club. With the global boom of social networks, sports celebrities have started to gain a great number of followers. Their posts allow fans not only to consume content directly related to an event or a training session, but also to peep into their daily lives.

This has led football clubs and organisations to create content showing what is happening and how they work in-house. Today it is very common to find challenges, “behind the scenes” content, pop culture references, or collaborations with streamers and influencers.

Fan Tokens

Fan tokens are digital assets that allow teams, leagues, or sports organisations to gain a greater fan engagement. These assets offer their buyers varied rewards such as prizes, exclusive experiences, surveys and polls. Thanks to them, clubs can connect with their fans database and also get new additional revenue streams in relation to their followers’ real experiences.

For instance, Barcelona FC launched a flash sale of fan tokens issued by Chiliz, the blockchain company which is a partner of the Club. The sale was available for 48 hours, and in that time, the fans could get the token for a fixed price of 2 €. 

As a first action, the fans who got the token could participate in a survey to vote and decide which mural would be painted in the locker room of the first team. The followers’ acquisition of these fan tokens had a direct impact on the club’s decision-making process.

Seizing Great Moments

When something relevant occurs in a sports organisation, the social networks of the club must ensure that their fans talk about that topic the most they can. Advertising a team’s victory is the obvious thing any club should do. However, the mass media intensification can also be advantageous in other cases.

For example, if a player who has been part of a team for a long time retires, posting about their career is a good opportunity to seize: best scored goals, set pieces, assistance, etc. It is a good occasion to foster fans’ participation by asking them to send messages for the player who can later react to them in the social networks. 

Seizing daily relevant moments allows clubs to become closer to their fans and to be connected with them recurrently and also to gain greater engagement towards different actions taken by these organisations.

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