Past, Present, & Future: How Technology Has Changed Fan Engagement
An inside look at how technology has transformed fan engagement, and what it means for future customer and employee touchpoints
A common theme of our weekly blog posts is that we at Best.Day.Ever. deeply value fan engagement. Another theme is our understanding of how technology plays a key role in successful engagement. Take a second to think about the time when engaging fans simply meant filling seats on game days. Now, think about what fan engagement looks like today. Changes in technology and engagement strategies have shifted the fan experience in a way that we never thought possible.
The @NFL season is kicking off with unprecedented solutions for fan engagement and sponsorship executions. Here are our top trends to pay attention to, with our methodology for broadcast and social valuations. https://t.co/ThBprOrWhM
— MVP (@MVPindex) September 8, 2020
Our team loves being able to provide an exciting and unforgettable experience for our guests especially during times like these. Because of this, we’ve decided to take a look back on how sports teams have used technology to reach their fans over the years and how those choices have shaped the current fan engagement experience.
It’s no secret that technology has become a staple of the sports industry. The newest generation of fans are quickly becoming more connected online through both VR and a variety of digital entertainment options. Teams have started to see the value of incorporating these options into their fan engagement strategies. The NBA has done a great job with this through their partnership with NextVR which enabled them to become the first sport to live-stream games using VR technology. With virtual reality becoming an expectation from fans, other leagues are following suit, making VR experiences a common occurrence in the sports industry.
Digital technology has also been integrated into the sports industry. In 2017, over-the-top (OTT) platforms started to grow exponentially, as the NFL saw an increase of 25% in online streaming while at the same time seeing a drop in their TV ratings.
After months without live sports, fans are now thrilled they can watch their favorite teams play again. As exciting as this is, they will have to come to terms with the “new normal” of watching live sports. Teams and leagues will have to also deal with this while conforming to new technological advancements. There is no doubt this will be hard work but moving forward teams will be focused on new ways to engage their fans and hopefully bring in new ones.
Athletes also worked to stay connected with their fans during COVID-19. They are making a concerted effort to be more relatable with their followers through their social media platforms. Luka Doncic did a great job of staying relatable to his fans when he tweeted:
— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) March 13, 2020
Thinking about the current situation of sports, one would have difficulty finding a conversation where sports and technology are not mentioned in the same sentence. As previously stated, this is the time for teams to incorporate digital and virtual tech experiences into most of their fan engagement strategies. There are many ways for teams to do this:
- Re-Establish Trust – a recent poll found that 72% of fans would not feel comfortable entering a stadium until there is a vaccine available.
- New Digital Lifestyle – teams need to find a way to support and incorporate digital experiences for their fans with younger generations needing more and more content to be kept interested. The NBA has been doing a great job in this department, through their new partnership with Microsoft Teams, the organization has created a new and intriguing way to engage their fans during their most recent games.
- Premium Apps – teams should take this opportunity to create premium entertainment and engagement options for their fans.
- Data Usage – teams need to work on using the data they get from fans to create deeper and more emotional connections with their fans across the globe.
As teams and leagues push forward during these difficult times, they are realizing that change is unavoidable. The need to embrace change comes at the risk of losing even their most loyal fans as hospitality and fan engagement pivot towards more technology-based solutions. On the corporate side, expectations have never been higher for your most valued counter parties. Customers, prospects, and employees are all looking to experience the latest and greatest in their sports and entertainment consumption. With all the changes in technology rapidly advancing, let Best.Day.Ever. help you find a solution that will keep your clients happy during this newest technological age.