Oct 19, 2020

Tokenization – a Game Changer for Loyalty Programs in Sports Clubs

Tokenization – a Game Changer for Loyalty Programs in Sports Clubs

The number of powerful sports organisations that have decided to invest in Tokenization is proliferating. If you’re close to business in the sports industry, you’ve surely heard of big football clubs like Juventus F.C., FC Barcelona, Galatasaray S.K. or A.S. Roma implementing Tokens for their communities. But they are not the only ones who can take advantage of it. Smaller brands can also strongly benefit from Tokenization. 

Would you like to build a community around your sports club, enhance your fans experience and motivate them to be more active with you between Match Days? Read our article to find out how you can achieve it with Tokens!

FAN TOKENS – FIRST ASSOCIATION CRYPTOCURRENCIES, REALITY LOYALTY PROGRAMS

What’s the first idea that comes to your mind when you hear “Tokens”?
You wouldn’t surprise us if your answers were blockchain and cryptocurrencies. 

However, although for many of us, the primary association with Tokenization is Bitcoin, its activity is completely different. In the case of football clubs, we should associate Tokenization with the possibility of offering custom services explicitly dedicated to your fans. 

Imagine a hypothetical situation. Thanks to a tool like WICKET, which collects all data about your fans in one place, you know that the part of your supporters that leaves the most money in the club store are also big enthusiasts of your top striker, Aleksandar Prijović. There are 100 of such fans.

You send to each of them a special offer where you say they were chosen to have a possibility to meet Aleksandar Prijović for an exclusive, one-hour-long interview. Additionally, you give them 10 free Tokens from your club as a thank you gesture for their continued support. Participation in this exclusive interview costs 100 Tokens.

The price of one Token is set by you (and/or by free-market rules). 30 fans decide to purchase the offer. Not only do they feel delighted and appreciated by your proposal, but they also pay you additional money that would never come to you if you hadn’t decided to start this action concerning your loyalty program.

You have no risk or financial loss by giving out your Tokens to the fans who deserve it the most. Moreover, it creates an incentive for others, less involved supporters, to be more active.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Tokenization – a Game Changer for Loyalty Programs in Sports Clubs

Tokens are a great opportunity to activate your fans in the periods between and during Match Days, using the data you collect and loyalty programs. The method we present here is scalable to any sports club worldwide. Grab our hints on where you can use Tokens in your organisation.

WHERE TO USE TOKENIZATION AS A SPORTS CLUB

There are at least nine such places. Check them out!

1. Loyalty Programs

Loyalty programs are the best place to use Tokens. They seem to be the most effective way of influencing how active your fans are.

By having your own currency, you can control how your fans behave without the risk of losing any financial assets. You’ll acquire a new power of choosing what can be bought with the help of your Tokens. 

Another strength will be the possibility to reward your fans with Tokens for increased activity in social media channels, more frequent visits to the stadium or higher purchases in your store. You’ll create the fan engagement paths that you find most successful.

Moreover, suppose Tokenization and loyalty programs are accompanied by a tool such as WICKET, thanks to which you’ll have all the data about your fans in one place. In that case, the effectiveness of your actions will increase unimaginably. Ultimately, you’ll build a strong community around your sports organisation by rewarding those who are the most loyal and active when it comes to interactions with your brand.

2. Fan Engagement

Once you have the power over the products that can be bought with the help of your Tokens, you can use it to offer custom services that will significantly increase your fan experience. 

Exclusive interviews with players, one-time VIP-ticket to your Gold Club or the possibility to write an article on your official website. That’s only some of the ideas that can appear in your offer.

Use Tokens to take your sports organisation to the heights of uniqueness. Appreciate those fans who deserve it both financially and in terms of loyalty. Don’t forget to choose the prizes so that they have the highest value for the fan, and, at the same time, the lowest cost for your club. You can read more about it below in the “Best Practices with Loyalty Programs” section.

3. Ticketing

Do you know this feeling when you need to pay a 5% commission to the operator of your ticket selling system? Implement Tokens, connect with your ticketing system ⇒ the problem is no longer there!

Or maybe you have a group of fans that could come more often to your stadium, but the ways you use to give them incentives aren’t satisfactory? You can use your currency to activate specific segments of your supporters more efficiently.

The cost of Tokens implementation will be quickly offset by the reduction of your payments to the third-party operators. Additionally, by tracking your fan behaviour, you could offer cheaper tickets to the individuals who are most prone to such promotions; thus, maximising your revenues. A simple win-win situation.

Tokenization – a Game Changer for Loyalty Programs in Sports Clubs

4. Merchandise

Fake kits and (t)-shirts make your club generate less revenue? The problem with the illegal actions of external parties is very difficult to solve. However, you may use Tokenization to implement the process of verification of your official products. No longer will any supporter consider the purchase of an unofficial item. It’ll become desired to receive a digital certificate of authenticity of your products. You can easily launch it alongside Tokens (which will work as a guarantee).

5. Concessions

We’ve already discussed the issue of transaction fees that can be removed once you implement Tokens. And it applies to the stadium drinks and food as well. But Match Days can also be used to spread the idea of Tokenization among your supporters.

Let’s look at the cases of AFC Ajax and Olympique Lyonnais which introduced the possibility for fans to order food and club clothing to their seat in the stadium during the match. It’s very convenient because food stores at the stadiums used to have high demand during the break and almost no demand while the game was on. Once they implemented this revolutionary idea, they managed to spread the demand over the entire match and maximise their profit from selling products.

Tokenization – a Game Changer for Loyalty Programs in Sports Clubs

Now imagine you decided to improve it even further in your club. Only those who pay with Tokens can be given a slightly smaller price for the same product, and it will be brought directly to their seat stadium. It’ll both spread the idea of Tokenization and allow you to maximise your revenue from Match Days.

6. Surveys

Collecting data about your supporters is crucial for your future opportunities to influence fan engagement. One way you may consider is to implement a tool such as WICKET that works as a customer identity and data management platform. Another possibility relates to surveying your fans.

However, as you may know, the problem with surveys is that rarely are our customers willing to fill them. Once you have Tokens, you may use them as an additional motivation for your fans to supply you with the crucial information about them. If you give them one Token that they’ll be later able to use in your official store, you’ll both receive important knowledge and drive them to consume more of your products.

7. Live-streamings

Winter, season break, your team plays a friendly game. Thousands of your fans would like to see the game. No longer do you have doubts whether “To OTT or not to OTT”.  So, you created your own information medium – “[Name of your club] TV”!

Now, having Tokens, you can choose whether to make the possibility to watch this game a premium content worth 20 Tokens. Or maybe the game will be free, but the highlights accompanied by the discussion of experts after the game will be exclusive. It’s you who decides what you show to your public and what’s the best way for you to monetise this (potentially non-profitable, right?) game.

8. Sponsorship

Sponsors constitute an essential revenue stream for sports clubs. Not only do Tokens bring new advertising space, but they also make it possible to appreciate decision-makers among your business partners. 

Sports industry is better than any other because people who are there most often passionately love the discipline they invest in. That’s why if you grant some Tokens to the most important people from the business perspective of your club, you may make them more willing to prolong the contract with you (they could even think of larger sums!). Appreciation of those who invest in your organisation is always a value you should seek.

9. Crowdfunding + Player Transfers

Crowdfunding is an easy one. If your club is responsible for the number of Tokens released (and their sale), you can use Tokenization as a crowdfunding option as well. Many sports organisations have huge communities behind them that would like to realistically [financially] help the club.

The subject of transfers is a controversial and rare matter. It’s easier to imagine it in the form of crowdfunding. Nevertheless, the reality has surprised us many times, and it’s not difficult for us to imagine the payment for a player in the form of Tokens. History had already heard such stories when cryptocurrencies were spent in the footballers’ transfers!

BEST PRACTICES WITH LOYALTY PROGRAMS

As we’ve mentioned earlier, the greatest value that Tokens bring to the loyalty programs is the possibility to exchange them for the unique rewards. However, your task as a sports club is to set them in a way so that they have the highest value for the fan, and, at the same time, the lowest cost for your club.

Therefore, you should stick to the following three rules when coming up with the unique rewards that can be purchased by Tokens:

  1. It should be easy to conduct by your personnel or players.
  2. It shouldn’t be time-consuming.
  3. It should give access to people or places that are exclusive.
Tokenization – a Game Changer for Loyalty Programs in Sports Clubs

Some of the good ideas you may consider are:

  • Customised birthday wishes from a chosen player of your club,
  • A common picture with a chosen player of your club (preferably just before a training session to make it least time-consuming),
  • Photojournalist entry to the game / Access to watch the game from the stadium’s pitch,
  • Single VIP entrance to the home game,
  • Watching the game from a unique perspective such as the roof of the stadium/skybox/coaching bench if possible.
  • Balls / Shirts / Gadgets signed by the players,
  • A gift card to your club’s store,
  • Possibility to write an article that will be published on your official website,
  • One-time access to the team’s training (with a signed confidentiality clause, of course!)
  • Access to the wedding session at the stadium,
  • “Your child walks the selected player to the game”,
  • Lunch with the team (preferably at the time they normally eat together)


CONCLUSION

As you already see, Tokenization is an idea that can strongly contribute to the development of your club’s identity. Breeding loyalty and building community around your sports organisation are just the first steps. The next ones refer to the monetisation as you may be responsible for the number of Tokens released, or you can use them to influence [increase] the sales of your merchandise, tickets and beverages.

There are many possibilities that Tokenization brings. You have to decide what interests you the most. You can put more emphasis on fan activation between match days, but you can also focus on crowdfunding. It’s entirely up to you!

Remember that Tokenization works even better when you combine it with a tool like WICKET. Not only will it allow you to have all the data about your fans in one place (including the one from Tokens!), but SSO will also form a huge facilitation for your fans

A properly motivated and rewarded supporter is a more profitable consumer!

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Thanks to Dominik Łagowski, an expert in Tokenization and PO of WICKET, who contributed to the creation of content for this article with his experience and knowledge.