How to Improve Fan Engagement at Sporting Events

The way the modern fan consumes sport has changed dramatically in the last decade or so. Nowadays, attending a large sporting event is no longer just about watching your favourite team fight it out. Attending a live event now encompasses a whole social and digital experience. Now, more than ever, clubs are fighting to control the match-day experience. With home entertainment arguably at its peak and a fully interactive event available from the comfort of your own home, the modern club needs to work its utmost to provide an enhanced and totally engaged live experience.

The evolution of the game-day experience and the constant flow of information that the current fan has access to, means sports clubs need to focus, not just on the game itself, but on the overall experience. Fan engagement matters just as much before kick off as it does both during the game and after!

The data shows that fewer tickets are sold at stadiums than ever before, more and more supporters are buying their tickets online now. If they’re at the stadium early they’re there to get involved in the pre-game atmosphere.  Clubs need to take advantage of this. There are countless ways to increase revenue, improve fan engagement and, most importantly, boost customer loyalty.

Let’s take a look.

The pre-game experience

There has always been a build up to sports events. As old as sport itself, there’s been the game-week build up. It’s the anticipation and it’s unavoidable. The reality these days is that it’s a market ready to be tapped into! The actual game-day and match experience don’t just begin at that first whistle; clubs have a chance to interact with fans much sooner and on a much more personal level. We’ll take a closer look at this in our next point, but just a quick note here: social media and digital apps play a huge role in this build up.

The online debates and pre-game interactions are potential engagement gold mines for the savvy, modern club. From families to solo travellers looking to link with like-minded fans, sports grounds now have the chance to become venues that can offer whole-day entertainment.

Sports grounds and stadiums are now seen as part of the community, a place to go early, meet friends, grab a beer and soak up the atmosphere. Speaking of atmosphere, those of you on the other side of the pond will already be all too familiar with this setup, we’re talking about tailgating. The American and NFL tradition of tailgating is legendary, and the interesting thing is, it’s starting to pick up in the UK and further afield. Head to any Premier League ground before kick-off and you’ll see an atmosphere to rival any NFL team. And when our partners the Jacksonville Jaguars are in town, you better believe Wembley is buzzing like never before.

So what does this mean? Basically, it means clubs have a chance to interact directly with the already passionate fan before they’ve even entered the stadium, don’t pass up this chance!

Social Media

As we said, the way people interact with the sport is changing, this includes how they watch it. Whether in their home or at the event live, social media and digital apps play a major role in this interaction.

From pre-game hashtags to in- and post-game analysis, sports apps give fans the chance to interact directly with the club.

But, just how does this apply to the live event, what can your club do to improve this?

One option is to include the option to have instant access to up-to-the-minute data and replays. Live streaming isn’t going away and it’s an invaluable tool for interacting with fans. Goals, touchdowns, whatever the score, they can now be accessed at a moment’s access, often right after they’ve just occurred! So, if these are already available across apps like Facebook and Instagram, what else can you do to boost engagement on game day?

How about a social media competition? Many clubs run these during the game to get fans talking. Studies show that fans actively use social media during games. Even in the stadium, fans are tweeting and posting pictures of everything that happens, so you should take advantage of this. Run a picture competition or set up your own in-game hashtag.

The key to taking fan engagement and fan satisfaction to the next level is by creating a totally unique and personalised experienced. One way to do it is to offer fans exclusive upgrades on their seats or maybe offer promotions on the different vendors o sponsors that you have in the stadium?

Another great way to boost fan engagement and fan loyalty is to offer exclusive access to behind the scenes content. This is where we can certainly help out! Through FanTribe you have an opportunity to appeal to your fans like never before. There’s a range of loyalty schemes and reward programmes that give you the chance to engage with fans in an entirely new way.

On game day you can give fans access to breaking news, game-day exclusives and behind-the-scenes access that give them the desire to become part of your community. See, the thing is, these fans are already loyal, they’re on board, but they’re thirsty! They want more engagement, more content, and it has to be of the highest quality. 

Join the likes of the Brisbane Broncos and the Jacksonville Jaguars and take your fan engagement to the next level.