Even though the most well-known sports are the ones you’d usually expect to have the best fan engagement, it doesn’t have to be that way. Engaging fans of lesser known sports could be easy with the right tools. The secret is to create a loyal following, and some games are naturally better suited to that than others. A lot depends on the players, as well — big international successes may bring more interest for a lesser known sport. It is why the landscape of sports popularity is constantly changing, especially in India.
Image Courtesy: Pro Kabaddi
How Fans Engage with Lesser Known Sports
For years, the most popular sport in India has been cricket, and while its throne is still secure, new contenders are emerging. All of them drive fan engagement in different ways. A recent example is the launching of the Indian Super League in 2013 which inspired plenty of fan interest in football. The fact that many Bollywood stars own or co-own Indian football teams certainly helped its promotion. There is a similar way of driving interest in a lesser known sport — through its heroes.
Badminton saw a surge of popularity in India after P.V. Sindhu won an Olympic silver medal in 2016. The appeal of badminton in India more than doubled in the last few years thanks to Sindhu’s achievement. However, some sports rely on smart online marketing and appealing to younger audiences — such as Kabaddi.
The Popularity of Kabaddi
Kabaddi is not a well-known sport, especially outside of India. Two teams with seven players each (plus three subs) take turns doing “raids.” It consists of sending one player into the other team’s half of the court. The goal of the raid is to tag one or more members of the opposing team and return to their half of the court. The trick? The raider has limited time to accomplish this feat, or he fails to score points. Those are the basic rules of Kabaddi, the sport that has taken India by storm.
During 2014, the trend began to emerge with an increase in searches related to the Pro Kabaddi League. Season 5 of the league is the best one yet when it comes to traction, considering that the total number of queries exceeded 50% of all the queries combined last season during a couple of weeks. Fans mostly search for information on tournaments, with some of the searches related to game highlights and individual teams.
Fanisko Engage and the Improved Fan Experience
Even for smaller, lesser known sports, there are possibilities to get more fans, raise awareness and increase engagement. As we can see from the examples of football, badminton, and Kabaddi, it’s clear that all these sports thrive when there is more interest. With an improved fan experience, every game has even more potential to grow. A platform like Fanisko Engage provides excellent support and an opportunity for teams to build and engage their following. It’s an SDK integration platform, meaning that it enhances the existing apps of organizations and clubs, or it can create one for them.
Here at Fanisko, we are happy to serve niche markets and help them grow with our fan engagement platform that gives excellent results to our clients. For more information about Fanisko Engage, take a look at our website.