Fan Engagement in a Social Distancing World
How teams and leagues are using virtual fan engagement to add value for their partners and augment the fan experience
The return of live sports is finally here! Now that sports leagues are beginning to resume play, what does this mean for their fans? Today we are taking a look at what some leagues have been doing to keep fans engaged. Since consumers are the driving force behind league success, we are seeing teams making enormous efforts to engage their current loyal followers and take steps to gain new ones.
NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
The NBA announced their plan for engagement earlier this month, including new opportunities for content creation while their fans are still not allowed inside the stadium.
- Digital Interactions – new virtual experience for fans to be shown “courtside” on new 17 ft. video boards during the games, a great integration and marketing opportunity for league beer partner, Michelob ULTRA.
- Camera Angles – use of increased visual opportunities in different areas in the stadium, including some that will zoom in and give fans new possibilities to view the players in action on the court.
- Fan Cheering – fans can use the NBA app, NBA.com, and Twitter to create their own hashtags that will be shown on the new video boards surrounding the court.
— NBA (@NBA) July 30, 2020
Fans of golf have been experiencing a new reality, most notably revealed through an increase of legalized online gambling during matches. The PGA Tour has taken advantage of this surge in online betting by expanding their partnership with DraftKings.
- DraftKings – will now be the PGA Tour’s official betting operator in addition to their existing content and marketing deal and will have access to the Tour’s trademarks, content, and video rights.
BREAKING: Today, @DraftKings and @PGATOUR team up to announce a new sports betting deal, designating DraftKings as the first-ever “Official Betting Operator of the PGA TOUR”. Full release here: https://t.co/yp9Arv71Pd pic.twitter.com/QarNZQeNKB
— DraftKings News (@DraftKingsNews) July 28, 2020
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL
Some teams’ choices during this pandemic have been questionable, especially in the eyes of their players. But in good news, the league has the chance to approach their fans in a different, more ambitious way due to a longer season and more breaks in the broadcast than other sports.
- Cutouts – fans can upload their own pictures and create personalized cutouts of themselves in either cardboard or plastic, with most profits going to charitable organizations.
- Fan Noise – teams are figuring out how to create an atmosphere with fan energy without actual viewers in the stadium, like music or reruns of major moments during breaks, or for example close-ups of players and creative filming of plays to engage viewers in the same way the NBA is now doing.
- Virtual Ads – teams will be creating new broadcast and banner ads viewed throughout the stadiums, in addition to engaging with media partners to sell the teams’ sports memorabilia during the games.
A look at the fan cutouts at Dodger Stadium.
The cutouts cost either $149 for placement in the Field Level/Loge Level or $299 for placement in the Pavilion Home Run Seats. The cutouts come with an authenticated MLB baseball.
The Dodgers have sold more than 4,500. pic.twitter.com/TsaXQ3ElJA
— Front Office Sports (@frntofficesport) July 24, 2020
These are just some of the different ways that leagues have begun to connect with their fans virtually. Knowing that streaming of live games will be a big part of the new future of sports, leagues will be focusing on their youth appeal. Other than the tactics that we already mentioned, expect to see leagues continuing to collaborate with social media influencers that can help them capture younger audiences. Remote engagement will continue to be ever constant in this new world of sports, and Best.Day.Ever. is ready to help your organization capitalize on the change.