Yes, the Fan Experience will be different. But the fascinating thing about the “Fan Experience” is that it is constantly changing, growing and evolving with the world around it. And unlike many other industries, events, ideas, etc., the acceptance of change and “new” within the sports industry’s fan experience is not matched elsewhere. Similarly, sports fans are unlike any other - hungry for more news, updates, content, and memorable experiences. With the introduction and latest innovations of the SportsTech industry, fans hunger is not satiated but definitely being met. So when we talk about the Fan Experience in today’s new “normal”, it’s important to remember that yes, it will be different, but it doesn’t have to be less engaging, fun or memorable. Unique to sports teams and leagues, is the fact that they are able to still create fan experiences not only from a social distance, but also digitally. We’re seeing, especially now, more and more franchises going digital, and driving great fan engagement on social. And the numbers prove it - sports fan engagement is only second to alcohol beverage pages when it comes to post engagement. We know that sports fans are dedicated and involved, so it makes sense as to why there have been so many evolution's of the fan experience and changes to what it means to be a fan.
The New Game Day Experience
In today’s new normal, we keep ourselves safe through wearing a mask, washing our hands, and staying 6 feet (2 meters) away from one another in everyday life. Where does the fan day experience come into play on game-day with these requirements? How can stadiums, teams, and leagues keep their fans safe? One method is to take the entire experience and make it digital.
Sounds extreme? Well according to research, technology is now an integral part of the way fans consume sports. Nearly 70% of all fans say that emerging technologies have improved their overall viewing experience, both inside and outside the stadium. In fact, 56% of fans stated that they enjoyed their tech experience, they would attend more matches or opt into receiving online subscriptions and newsletters. Not only does this improve almost everything for the organization itself, but it strengthens the overall engagement and relationship for the fan.
The digitization of sports and the fan experience brings with it new opportunities to test new technologies, hear from your fans, and increase brand awareness, appreciation and revenue.
Everyday is Game Day
Well sorry but actually, everyday is not game day. Players need a break. Seasons change etc etc. But it could be everyday for your fans, depending on your digital presence. With technologies like XYZ from WSC Sports, fans are able to relive their favorite highlights and share them easily. With Pico’s own custom digital activations, which introduce AI in sports, fans can participate in daily or weekly challenges that consist of voting, memory games, trivia polls, spin the slice (yep, you read that right - check it out: Spin the Slice) and more. Through these digital technologies and digital activations, fans can relive moments, stay in touch with their teams, and feel more engaged outside of the game-day buzz.
As an added plus, when a team moves their fan engagement efforts to the digital space, that also means more value and real estate for team sponsors and partners. Opportunities for creativity here are unlimited, so this is a win-win scenario where great experiences can still be brought to your fans stuck (safely) at home and real value to sponsors, who no longer have thousands of eyes on their brand and logo during the game.
All in all, the sports industry and the sports fan experience is facing an important but beatable challenge in the upcoming few months. It’s not like the industry to not be there for their fans, which is why we see so much growth and engagement happening across multiple digital channels. The digital revolution has already begun to alter the way in which we watch sports, but it’s now also changing the way we connect and relate to teams.