Blog Sep 2, 2022

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

Each generation has its own customs and beliefs that sports organisations have to take into account not to neglect any of their supporters. It’s very important to do everything to retain your old-time fans, but at the same time, new supporters must be reached.

In this article you will learn:

– The difference between generations on how they consume sports;
– What tools to use in order to attract different supporters;
– How to engage particular generations.

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

Fan engagement

To begin with, we need to define fan engagement.
Fan engagement is everything that connects a supporter with a particular organisation.
It might be buying merchandise and attending games, but also more specific actions like
 choosing music that is being played on a matchday thanks to tokenisation.

All in all, fan engagement means identifying with an organisation through different activities.

What is important for the ESE (Entertainment, Sports, Esports) organisations is knowing the difference between its fans.
This article divides supporters into the 5 biggest generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, Generation Z and Generation Alpha.

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

How to engage Baby Boomers?

It may be tough to attract new supporters among Baby Boomers because either they are already loyal fans of one club or they are simply not into sports.

Sports organisations have to keep in mind that already existing Baby Boomers fans are very likely to buy a full season ticket rather than a single entry ticket.
They would definitely highly appreciate it if they got some special offers every season as a “thank you” for so much support.

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

How to engage Generation X?

To empower Fan Engagement among Gen X, it is good to appeal to nostalgia.

Producing retro jerseys or introducing a series with historical games and goals might be very nice.

Additionally, as they are parents, they want to make sure that their kids are also taken into account – while buying tickets online they like to see that the club offers something to their youngsters.

Using e-mail marketing to fire up excitement before the game and sending post-event photos from the match with a little “thank you” note might attract Gen Xers.

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

How to engage Millennials?

Millennials use social media and the Internet on a daily basis and with no obstacles, that is why online marketing is good for this group.

On top of that, what especially attracts Millennials, are Fantasy games – they make a huge positive impact on Millenials’ viewership. Users are interested in watching matches in order to analyse and decide who will start for their Fantasy team to compete with their friends.

Betting is also very popular within this group. Sports organisations collaborating with bookmakers to create pleasant promotions and enable live-betting with some perks can empower fan engagement significantly.

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

How to engage Gen Z?

This is where sports organisations need to rethink their fan engagement strategies. Gen Z is a fully digitised generation with a constant Internet connection and an attention span of only 8 seconds.

Engaging Gen Z via tokenisation is becoming more and more popular among organisations. Gen Zers love personalisation and they want to be heard. That is why they might be very interested in buying tokens.

Moving sports organisations to Metaverse is another way of attracting these young people. It has already been done by Travis Scott or K-pop bands. They performed virtually bringing millions of fans worldwide to participate in their concerts.

Stay tuned for our full report on consuming sports by Generation Z!

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

How to engage Generation Alpha?

The NFL being the front-runners in engaging younger and younger generations, introduced a kid-friendly way of broadcasting games. AR (augmented reality) effects were displayed on and off the pitch during the live broadcast.
This idea resulted in boosting the interest of the youngest audience that has not been interested in sports before. Thanks to this technology they could see their favourite cartoon characters during the game and learn about the rules of playing.

Generation Alpha is also very keen on Esports and widely understood gamification – that is why it would be very attractive for Gen Alpha to have apps with short video content and games. It could strongly boost their engagement.

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?

What more can be done to attract supporters?

This is the question that gives decision makers sleepless nights.
Below you can read 3 general hints to consider while trying to attract new fans and empower engagement among present supporters:

1. Feedback

Only few sport organisations request feedback after the game. AZ Alkmaar, for instance, used to send a notification via mobile to rate fan experience, regardless of results.
Just think of that…
Nearly everywhere after the purchase, companies want to know how they can improve. Why is it so uncommon in the sports industry?

2. Being different

Studying different sports organisations, you may find many examples of how to be more than just a sports club that sells tickets.
Especially non-elite clubs might choose to be different to fight for attention.
There is a very interesting example of the Forest Green Rovers from EFL League One which attracts supporters by being the first vegan football club. Its stadium, Eco Park, is almost fully wooden. What’s more, the facility will be powered by renewable energy and it will be easily accessed by bikes and public transport. It’s worth mentioning that Hector Bellerin, Arsenal’s defender became one of the biggest shareholders in this club.

3. Showing gratitude to your fans

Long-term supporters need to be rewarded for their loyalty. Obviously, the ticket price is one of the main factors (especially to supporters of clubs like Liverpool or Manchester United where they used to be working class clubs), but it is also the experience that matters.
Southampton for example sends a little video package to its supporters at the end of the season. It’s a personalised clip showing the best goals and statistics such as how many games a fan attended. An action like this is not costly whatsoever, but for the fans, it is priceless to feel recognised.

How to Engage Fans of Different Generations?


So what ESE (Esports, Sports, Entertainment) organisations should do to attract different types of fans?

First of all, organisations should analyse their audience with tools like TISA’s WICKET and then think of implementing solutions according to the particular generation.

Especially now, digital transformation is key, but decision-makers need to remember that online experience needs to be added and it should not replace traditional ways of engaging fans.

While developing OTT platforms for Millennials and Gen Zers, we can not forget about the more traditional approach to Baby Boomers and Generation X.
Introducing tokens, for example, can be a cutting-edge solution for younger people, whereas more the more mature, would prefer personalised emails.

We need to remember that engagement is not only buying material things, but what’s more important – these are the emotions you purchase. Sports is all about these goosebumps you have every time you hear your anthem, or whenever you enter the stadium.

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.