Nov 03, 2021

How to Engage Fan Community Beyond Match Days

How to Engage Fan Community Beyond Match Days

Today, with the proliferation of 24/7 sports TV channels, dedicated radio stations and independent podcasts, engaging your fan community goes a long way beyond match days. In fact, sports organisations have never had so many opportunities to stay in touch with different types of fans, whether it’s serving fanatics or encouraging regular fans to get more involved.

With Generation Z setting new standards and the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the world economy, sports clubs have searched for new ways to engage their fan community and increase their earnings beyond match days.

Let’s take a look at how this is done:

  • What are the ways to increase revenue beyond match days;
  • Why good content will always defend itself;
  • Why fan engagement is the most concerning topic;

MATCH DAY REVENUE

According to a BBC article, the ‘Big Six’ clubs in the Premier League (Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham) had a collective matchday income of £495m in 2018-19, which represented 73% of the total made in the Premier League. This, however, stands only for a 13% share of the total income clubs make throughout the season.

How to Engage Fan Community Beyond Match Days

There’s no surprise that match day income largely depends on the number of fans that the club can host during the match – larger stadium = more fans. However, this is not always the case. The emphasis also lies in food & beverages and hospitality. Business people are willing to spend large sums of money on executive lounges, and regular fans like a snack during those few hours at the stadium.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF ENGAGING BEYOND MATCH DAYS

However, the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic and its consequences on live events have proved that match day income is insufficient to keep sports clubs afloat. Arsenal generated almost a quarter of their total match income during the 18-19 season, making them financially vulnerable for an extended period of no matches.

How to Engage Fan Community Beyond Match Days

With the coronavirus pandemic forcing people to play sports behind closed doors, match revenues have dried up, making it crucial to find new revenue streams and new models of fan community engagement. We’ve selected some solutions that seem vital to us at TISA. Take a look!

 

#1 Quality content

There’s never enough emphasis on good quality content. How the club communicates with its fans determines its image and fan engagement. Choosing the right content and media channel is the key to attracting fans beyond match days. In the case of clubs like Manchester United, dedication to engaging content boosts their digital fan base, particularly Gen Z, who account for 77% of their social media following.

If you are interested in learning more about building effective social media communication with the help of TISA’s tool BRISK, make sure to check this article.

 

#2 Bring the fan community closer to live action

OTT (over-the-top) allows you to share engaging and unique audiovisual content with your fans via the Internet. Don’t think of OTT as a technological change. Treat it as a marketing transformation! Sports clubs need to think outside the box and have the chance of becoming a media powerhouse. Bring your fan community closer to the club’s life beyond sports and the matchday!

Note: Beware of the danger of illegal football streaming!

 

#3 Digital engagement through esports

Regarding the previous point, esports is one unique way to engage your fans beyond match day. Although stadiums were closed or their capacity was reduced during the pandemic, online venues thrived. In 2020 esports had an audience of over 450 million fans globally.

How to Engage Fan Community Beyond Match Days

Many sports clubs like Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke 04, or Ajax Amsterdam have created their own esports teams over the years. The teams are involved in the virtual counterparts of their sports discipline (FIFA 22), but also in video games of other genres (League of Legends). 

If your club players fancy a game of virtual footy, organise a tournament between them! Furthermore, engage your e-gaming fan community by inviting them onto your esports team!

 

#4 Supporting local community and fans

Love for sport and dedication to the team build a dedicated fan community inside and outside the stadium. Chelsea FC has created one of the biggest football charities globally, which promotes equality, social inclusion in sports, positive well-being and fights problems like racism and poverty.

Another example is the Legia Warszawa Charity whose main aim is to build and support an equal community by implementing educational projects and support programs aimed at children, teenagers and elders in Poland.

 

 

How to Engage Fan Community Beyond Match Days

Loving your favourite team is one, but sharing support and love with other fans and local community members is another. Inspiring your fans to participate in such projects is a noble way of engaging your fans by contributing to the local community!

 

#5 Integrated fan engagement platform

Getting your club involved in all of the ventures mentioned above requires the creation of new individual platforms crafted for the users’ unique needs. Esports players need their place; the charity needs their website. The clubs must have their various platforms integrated so that fans can see them, be attracted by them and access them easily.

 

#6 Using data as a source of knowledge

All businesses need to keep up with their target audience’s needs at all times. Each sports club has a group of fans with distinctive needs and interests beyond match day. It is essential to gather the fans’ data to identify and pinpoint their needs to engage them more!

Is there a tool that meets all of the requirements? Yes!

 

How to Engage Fan Community Beyond Match Days

WICKET

WICKET is a powerful customer identity, consent and access management tool designed to help sports organizations collect, store and manage their fan base in one unified place.

Implementing WICKET in your sports organisation is a win-win situation for you and your fans.

On one hand, it allows you to connect and combine fan bases across all your digital tools like your website, mobile app, ticketing platform and e-commerce. The authentication mechanism enables easy integration with other TISA products or 3rd party solutions. Fans will appreciate easier access to your services without the constant need for typing in passwords and logins. 

On the other hand, once integrated WICKET becomes your single source of truth for customer data. It allows you to visualize the progress and effectiveness of your marketing and sales campaigns.


CONCLUSION

Thinking of increasing your fan engagement between match days? This is our recipe for you!

Implementing WICKET not only will it help you in becoming a data-driven club, but it will also enhance your fan experience by increasing the convenience of using your (and your business partners) applications. Be ahead of your competition by implementing solutions that will give you an advantage in the long term.

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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.