Sports Brands: Optimising the Fan Lifecycle

Chris Welsh Thursday, 09 February 2017

What do sports fans want from digital? Fans now demand more from their favourite sport and team. Outside of competitions, they now expect to be able to engage with their favourite sports in more meaningful ways.

Fans desire exclusive content, new ways to interact with platforms and access seamless services across multiple devices. More sports clubs are leveraging this, including Leeds United Football Club in the UK, who are launching new online services that encourage fans to register and become paying customers for their OTT video service, that boast both live and on-demand content.

How do you get Fans to Sign-up?

With fan consumption of sport-related videos increasing 75% the day before a live event, there is certainly an appetite for digital content.

Fans are wishing to access exclusives and compelling videos, but the biggest hurdle facing sports organisations is the ability to convert fans to paid or registered services. Besides technology, this can be achieved by educating fans that there is value in subscribing or sharing data to access premium services, developing a clear value exchange relationship between the club and their fans. Additionally, there are other tactics you can embrace to get consumers to sign up.

Fan Insight – using data is not a new concept to the market. However, leveraging new technology such as digital fingerprinting means that sports brands and content owners can develop and enhance ways of utilising fan data. For example, organisations can collect data on where fans are coming from, the route they have taken to the site, the videos or content they are clicking on, how long they are on the site for, or the links they are engaging with.

Fan Driven Offers – leveraging fan insight, organisations can design and tailor offers and marketing campaigns based on their interests, habits or – for example – their favourite player, to drive conversion. Examples can include free trials, which is one of the tools OTT giant Netflix leverages to attract audiences (helping it reach over 81 million members across 190 countries) or a promotion which enables access to 3 videos for free before being asked to exchange data or pay for a 4th.

A benefit of offering a free trial is that the brand can gather further insight about what sports content or products the free trial users are engaging with, and therefore create more personalised offers to entice relevant fan personas to continue using the service after the trial has ended.

Leverage Corporate Partnerships – publishers have already embraced this, with The Daily Mail previously offering a free Kindle Fire when a reader purchased a 12-month ‘lock-in’ subscription to the Mail Plus App, as it drew in consumers from both services. In the digital space, a broadcaster might identify Spotify as an additional content provider to partner with, given their focus on music as opposed to TV. Complimentary partnerships of this nature, with some data and commercial exchange in place, can help drive cross-pollination of digital subscriptions.

To continuously develop fan engagement and D2C revenues, it is essential to adopt A/B testing and experiment with various incentives to determine how to best get fans to sign up and purchase additional services.

Want to Optimise the Fan Lifecycle?

While getting fans to register and pay is key, there are other areas of the fan lifecycle which sports organisations need to be optimising.

From fan relationships management to incorporating in-store purchases with online, MPP Global can support your efforts to manage and engage fans throughout the fan lifecycle. Download our free white paper ‘Sports Brands: Managing the Fan Lifecycle which covers how organisations can leverage the changing ways fans interact with sports.

Get in touch with our sports specialists to discuss strategies on how to manage and grow fan engagement.