Think of the last time you’ve been to the football game. How hyped were you? What did you feel during the match and how did you like the whole experience? What would you change to make it even better?
How to Boost Fan Experience in a Sports Organisation
What is the fan experience?
Fan Experience is everything that makes up being an active supporter. Everything you see, touch, feel and eat has an impact on your Fan Experience. This is not limited only to the gameday, it is much more than that. Everything influences even subconsciously the fan’s overall impression. Factors that matter are: how you like the website, how easy it is to buy the tickets, how engaging is the social media and marketing content, how costly buying food at the stadium is and multiple other aspects!
WHY SHOULD YOU STRENGTHEN THE FAN EXPERIENCE
The experience clubs provide is crucial to acquire economic and emotional investment from your fans. Sports fans are a distinct group of clients who need to feel important and appreciated. And similarly to every other client, they expect more and more from organisations they support.
Building engagement and loyalty among your supporters builds the strength of your organisation. Trophies and winning are not the most important. We have to remember that the vast majority of the clubs are non-elite clubs. Therefore, in order to be able to compete, they need to provide a valuable fan experience. Loyal fans are a unique group of supporters that will be there for their beloved clubs despite no significant results in the field.
Engaged fans equal profits. It is a straightforward win-win situation, because clubs (organisations/businesses) are monetizing their fans. But the fan is an agent for which clubs are competing, thus fans are expecting a high-quality approach towards them since they can pick and choose which football community they will join. Moreover, a stable and engaged community is a Holy Grail for the sponsors who mainly value and seek clubs with already numerous involved clientele.
HOW TO INCREASE FAN ENGAGEMENT
Fan engagement increases when the whole package contributing to the fan experience is in place. During a matchday this is something that every sports club should think of, especially to gain new supporters. The goal is to make you feel recognized and appreciated by a club at every step of the process, starting with you getting out of your house to witness a match in person.
1. Entry to the stadium
Starting with an entrance which may determine how you perceive the whole club. Is anyone there greeting you? Who and what do you see first? How long do you stay in a queue? Is there a way to make it more pleasant? Maybe it would be worth it to reduce queuing by accepting only paperless tickets such as NFT tickets?
2. Pre-match and post-match experience
Apart from playing beautiful football and winning, there are lots of possibilities to make your supporters happy and willing to invest in your organisation.
Merchandising in football
Engaged fans (and having these is your objective) should have at least several opportunities to buy something that makes them feel connected with a club. Do you attract younger fans? According to our report on Fan Engagement among Generation Z, over 90% of the youngest fans are willing to spend their personal budget on items related to their favourite club, which makes this generation a very dedicated receiver group.
Catering in football
In the ideal world, a fan doesn’t need to wait for their hot-dog and a beer for over 20 minutes. Unfortunately, this is the sad reality of stadiums due to restaurants not being prepared for such crowds. Maybe your club would be willing to consider allowing its fans to pre-purchase food and beverages? Not only would it minimise the lines, but also it may increase your revenue.
Creating a dedicated place for the fans to gather before or after the game builds relationships not only between them but also between the fans and the club. Fanzones where supporters gather and have a pre-match drink or food are a perfect idea to build engagement. They can be accessed by casual single-entry ticket holders, but also you may think of VIP zones with exclusive, gated experiences.
FAN EXPERIENCE BEYOND MATCH DAYS
Obviously, the non-match days are a majority, so delivering content beyond match days is critical. Nowadays with high modernization and digitization, there are limitless ideas that may empower the fan experience besides witnessing a match.
Creating an official mobile app for your club is a very powerful tool to keep the club’s fans closely engaged and keep them entertained. With today’s great commonality of smartphones, there are no obstacles that may preserve fans from using such an app.
Squeezing into the app some competition works extremely well for gaining attention and keeping on supporters. To achieve this trivia games like quizzes can be utilised, which would be checking knowledge on the club and ranking its fans. Engagement through competition is an effective strategy and is very much enjoyed by the receivers.
Moreover, it may serve to share behind-the-scenes footage, exclusive materials or club podcasts featuring players. These activities will be especially entertaining for the Gen Z and they may successfully address their dual-screening.
Furthermore, another tool worth implementing is tokenisation, which also has a significant potential to engage fans. Exploring options of introducing some loyalty programs in your organisation, through for example rewarding supporters who interact with a club on social media or those who buy merchandise and frequently attend matches. People love to be rewarded and openly recognized, thus it’s a strong incentive to continue their keen support for a club.
To gain an even better understanding of how to drive supporters’ engagement, read our article on how to engage fans beyond match days.
Thinking about introducing innovative tools in your organisation ought to be intertwined with exploring TISA’s broad products’ offer. It will boost your digital transformation and enhance your fan’s experience.
DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION WITH TISA
Partner with TISA and strengthen fan engagement within your organisation by using our products:
- NFT Studio
Among ESE (Entertainment, Sports and Esports) organisations it becomes increasingly popular to lean towards tokenisation. With our NFT Studio you will be able to develop club tokens, NFTs or FTs. The product provides additional streams of revenue, whereas, at the same time supporters receive various perks, such as access to gated content, discounts, special footage etc.
According to our report on Fan Engagement among Generation Z, over 75% of younger fans share football-related content on their private profiles on social media. This is the exact reason why your club should keep it consistent with BRISK which enables the creation of attractive and unique visuals. It also enables managing all of your channels of communication in one place.
Having all your supporters’ data safe and organised within your club is essential. WICKET is a tool that gathers, analyses and rewards your followers across every digital platform. On top of that, the SSO solution, makes using your website a pleasure. Using single credentials starting from logging into a match centre, going through tickers purchase and ending with buying merchandise is a user experience on a top level.
Building a relationship with your fanbase and maintaining strong connections with them should be crucial for the club. UMPIRE enables you to plan & deliver content across all of your web, mobile and OTT channels that we are able to develop for you.
Read our article on why you start an OTT channel, to better understand the idea of a modern fan. The phenomenon of dual-screening is a fact. Therefore, you should provide interesting content for the fans who nowadays are not only interested in your club’s performance on the pitch but they are also into receiving behind-the-scenes materials, exclusive interviews etc.
INNOVATIONS IN SPORTS
Every day new, creative ways to strengthen the fan experience and their engagement are being implemented.
- Partnering with TISA, Ekstraklasa S.A. launched a series of quiz games on its website that resulted in doubling the number of active users. Fans love to participate in online trivia games before, during and even after the live event.
- FC Porto launching an app with in-seat food delivery is yet another example of boosting fan experience. There is no better thing for a fan to have their beer/food delivered with no need to stand in long lines and be late for the game itself.
- With the growing popularity of 5G, Bundesliga is introducing a real-time instant replays system. This is the feature that every sports fan would like to have on their smartphone. Sometimes it is tough to see everything clearly while watching the game and the Internet connection is poor across stadiums. Current technology enables supporters to see every important action again and again. Imagine not missing out on anything important.
- NFT tickets are gaining popularity as they work not only as access to the game but also as they give a fan the feeling of being closer to the team. S.S. Lazio introduced its first NFT tickets with lots of benefits for the fans.
- Implementing innovations in sports to boost the experience is something that the NFL does very well. The Dallas Cowboys use augmented reality in the stadium to enable their supporters to take photos with the players. The marketing action is called “Pose with the Pros” and has been a big success in the league.
There are also more simple ideas to strengthen the relationship with your fan. Mark Bradley in our Know The Score interview outlines that “It’s not just about winning, teams that don’t win can grow too.”
More and more people start to support organisations that are more than just sports clubs. For instance, Green Rovers with its idea of becoming the first fully- vegan football club, or Bohemian F.C with a list of civic actions.
“Without fans, football is nothing” is a perfect way to end up pondering whether it is worth investing in boosting fan engagement in your organisation. A loyal, engaged community is what should be put in the first place for a rational board.
Fan engagement has to be driven by a lot of factors. One of them is using digital solutions which give the opportunity to reach new audiences all around the world and attract fans in a variety of ways.
Are you looking for more information about digital transformation in the sports industry? Visit our website to learn more about dedicated products and innovations designed for sports. To find out more about how TISA can help your organisation thrive in the digital world, contact us directly – we will be happy to talk about your case. And if you’d like to join our team and help us create the best digital solutions for the world of sports, check out our current career opportunities.