With over 66% of sports fans going online at least once per day to check out the most recent developments about their favorite team, it should come as no surprise to anyone that digital engagement with the fans is becoming increasingly more popular with every passing day.
This trend, however, presents both a significant opportunity as well as a severe challenge for sports clubs and teams to engage with their fans in an ever more content-saturated environment such as the internet. Here are the latest trends that will influence the digital fan engagement in the foreseeable future.
Reorganizing Fragmented Content
With the internet quickly becoming the preferred source to follow up on sports news, fans can keep up with their team’s activities whenever their heart desires. The internet brings a ton of bite-sized content such as instant replays, highlights, or behind-the-scenes previews, found on all sorts of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, or Snapchat. For all the marketing benefits that this fragmented content brings, sports clubs have a tough time engaging with their fans.
Even if some sports teams have their mobile apps, many fans prefer to keep themselves up to date by making use of the previously-mentioned social platforms. Fanisko Engage, on the other hand, can help sports clubs get back in touch with their fanbase by funneling all of this content on the platform.
As a software development kit (SDK), Fanisko can either enhance a team’s already-existing app or develop one from scratch. This platform powers the first ever Mixed Reality fan experience by combining augmented reality (AR) for gamification with AI for personalization, thus, allowing sports teams to connect with their fans wherever they are.
The Rise of eSports
In the Kleiner Perkins Internet Report 2017, it was highlighted that eSports are gaining more and more ground over traditional sports. In fact, 27% of Millennials said that they have a ‘significant preference’ for eSports, 13% slightly prefer it, as opposed to 27% who strongly favor and 15% who only slightly prefer traditional games. The remainder of 18% is comprised of millennials who have no inclination either way.
These percentages come in comparison to non-Millennials who noted that 45% prefer traditional sports and only 13% strongly favoring eSports. Of this group, the remaining 20% were indifferent, 13% had a slight inclination towards eSports while 11% said they slightly prefered traditional sports.
This trend comes at a time when McDonald’s, a Worldwide TOP Olympic Partner since 1976, has ended its deal with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) ahead of time. It was also in 2017 when McDonalds Australia partnered up with Blizzard to sponsor their Starcraft II World Championship Series. Vodafone Spain, on the other hand, launched its own Twitch Channel to live stream esports gameplay and other gaming news.
With the internet, many sports leagues have seen a surge in the size of their overall the size of their overall fanbase. Nevertheless, most of these fans will never physically attend a match only because of their geographical location.
It is why certain sports teams such as Manchester United, have decided to partner up with regional sponsors, in an attempt at reaching to their ever-growing international fanbase. Manchester United is the most dominant football team online in China.
The Bundesliga and the English Premier League are the first two soccer leagues concerning popularity in the world, quickly followed by the Spanish La Liga. The last one, however, has since opened several permanent offices in the APAC region to counter this shortcoming and outpace the others regarding fan engagement.
These trends presented will become increasingly more transparent and widespread as time goes on. Other such macro-trends will also present themselves in the upcoming years as new technologies will be reshaping the sports industry like never before.