Episode 96

#96 Marketing the game: Fans just want to be seen

Did you know that for some sports fans being identified with their favorite team is more important than being identified with their work and social groups, and as important to them as being identified with their religion? Sports provide a sense of belonging and identity for fans who get to experience the highs and lows of the teams winning or losing together. Sports fans are known for their intense loyalty. But I am sure you already know all this of you are working in the sports industry.

But did you know that according to a study conducted by Nielsen’s Sports, almost 40% of fans believe that male sports is money-driven. So, there is a disillusionment of sorts taking place. That is why in today’s episode we are focusing on the topic, “Fans just want to be seen” and we have a perfect example case of this.

Recently, one of our customers launched a campaign using our platform. The campaign was simply about thanking the fans for their continued support. See, this particular club had broken a lot of records, and they fully understood that this could not have been possible without the fans, and they wanted the fans to know that they knew this and appreciated it. There were no. “buy tickets now” or “buy merch here” CTAs. Just thank you. And do you know what happened next?

The club’s fans made six figures worth of purchases, of which a total of 89% was membership renewal. This campaign was the club’s biggest campaign in revenue created since starting to work with us. The moral of the story - fans just want to be seen.

So, how can you ensure that your club’s fans are seen and acknowledged?

Firstly, give credit where credit is due, just like in the example case we just looked at. Send out thank you campaigns. And get specific. Saying thank you for your support and then slapping someone’s name in the campaign might seem disingenuous. So, specify the moments in which your fans' support was crucial. E.g. maybe you recently won or lost the playoffs and got relegated to a lower league, thank the fans for being there and communicate the significance of their support.

Secondly, send out the right offers to the right segments. For example, if you have a membership scheme, why not create exclusive content, discounts and perks that you know your members will appreciate. For non-members, why not tell them a bit about the club and offer them experiences such as meet and greets so that they can become members. Remember, fans don’t want to be used for their money, they want to be seen.

Thirdly, stay consistent and transparent. Maintain consistent and transparent communication with fans regarding team decisions, policies, and changes. Even if the news is not positive, honesty and transparency can build trust. Trust is crucial to any relationship, and the fan/club relationship is no exception.

Most importantly, remember to maintain an emotional connection with your fans. That is the key to increased loyalty. An emotional connection with fans has many benefits. For example, Emotionally engaged fans are more likely to be actively involved in supporting the team. They attend games, buy merchandise, and share their passion with others, contributing to the club's success both on and off the field. When fans have positive emotional experiences with a club, they are more likely to share their experiences with others. Word-of-mouth marketing and positive testimonials can attract new fans and customers. And finally, clubs with emotionally connected fan bases are more likely to experience long-term success. This is because fan loyalty and engagement are valuable assets that contribute to sustained growth and prosperity.

About the Podcast

Show artwork for Sports CDP Crash Course - Data Talks
Sports CDP Crash Course - Data Talks

About your host

Profile picture for Lorraine Moalosi

Lorraine Moalosi

Hello, I am Lorraine. I am the Head of Communications at Data Talks, producer, host of the Sports CDP crash course, and Leader of the Women in Sports: Beyond the hashtag initiative. If you are passionate about women's sports, data, selling more tickets and merchandise, and negotiating sponsorship agreements of higher value. Then feel free to get in touch with me.