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Never make these 5 unforgivable mistakes in engaging sports fans

Team Vinfotech lists five common errors that often deprive sports fan clubs and leagues of valuable fan engagement and revenue.

You are a sports club or league with substantial fan base so you probably think you don’t need to know the errors. If you did commit those, you wouldn’t be have a fan base in the first place. But now that you have started reading this blog, you are wondering what you may have missed something.

Even the most successful sports clubs and leagues often make mistakes that deprive them of deeper and lasting relationships with their sports fans. In the last seven years of dealing in fantasy sports industry, we have often heard from sports enterprises problems that arise due to ignorance of understanding fan engagement. This blog would help you identify those problems and take some corrective steps.

#1 Generalizing sports content on the platform

Sports clubs and leagues often fail to identify clusters of customers around the world. As a result, when they serve content on their sports platforms, it suffers from generalization. For instance, they would post live video interviews of say Chelsea FC members visiting New York on their London’s Facebook page. This often puts fans off since they receive a live video notification only to know it’s not relevant to them. Similarly, having a sports engagement platform in one language keeps millions of fans away from their website.
Fix it: Arsenal FC has a Hindi Facebook page that talks in the language that Indians understand. Think of platforms where you could connect with local fans in their comfortable environment, in their language and in their style.

#2 Disregard for fixture time zones

Most clubs are waking up to a location-based fixture information yet there are thousands of others who have often ignored this crucial factor. Imagine how much viewership of your games you can lose by simply not paying heed to time zones around the world with regard to fixtures. Most sports engagement platforms do not have a facility of converting fixture timing according to their own time zone that leaves fans worrying about missing crucial matches and eventually drives them away.
Fix it: Ensure that your sports engagement platform provides location-based fixture without fail.

#3 Not paying attention to detailing

The devil, you already know, is in the detailing. This detailing can win you or deprive you of your fans. Take for example, Yan Dhanda, who became the first player of Indian heritage to sign a professional contract with Liverpool FC in 2015. Liverpool could have reached out its Indian audiences through its social media handles as well its website customized for Indians in order to reach a large demographic of its fans here. Rarely, sports clubs think of encashing on the origin country of their players in order to echo a more local flavor to their sports fans.
Fix it: They can do so by curating content based on crucial player information on a location-based platform that gets customized based on country or region. NBA had done it wonderfully when an Indian origin player Satnam Singh Bhamara had been drafted into the NBA.

#4 Lack of building a local connect

Millions of fans across continents have a pet peeve with sports clubs and leagues: no availability of team merchandise in their own area, region or city. Sports clubs hardly pay attention to reaching out to unreached fans with merchandise and curated sports content like exclusive videos of certain matches. There are several video platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar etc that offer sports content on a certain monthly subscription. But very few sports club think in this direction. Similarly, sports club-related merchandise like jackets, player-signed footballs, gloves, posters, etc are not easily available in hundreds of countries. Even leagues like Indian Premier League are not able to make their merchandise or exclusive match coverages at a local level in India. That way, these leagues are missing out on both revenue and a strong local connect leaving fans disappointed.
Fix it: Sports clubs and leagues need to bring in this kind of merchandise and content on their online platforms by tying up with local vendors. As a result, a certain fan demographic can have access to the content from anywhere in the world. They can have offline tie-ups such as how Arsenal Academy has a tie up with Tata Sports Academy in India or DSK Shivajians in Pune (India) have a tie-up with Liverpool FC.

#5 Ignoring in-stadium fan experience

Rarely sports platforms think of engaging fans who are sitting inside the stadium and watching the match. They are missing out on viewership, social sharing and a lot of revenue as well.
Fix it: Think of geo-location based social networking options on your platform along with updates so fans could connect with each other while they are physically sitting in a stadium and watching matches. Last year, we saw Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium become one of the most connected sporting arenas in the world when it offered HD replays on in-seat tablets for fans. This established the fact that sports fans want minute-by-minute social sharing of live matches.

Sports fans are driven by a strong patriotic connect with the teams and players they love. Missing one match or not getting access to a certain jersey evokes a strong sense of loss in the mind of a sports fans. It’s that serious for them. If you don’t learn to channelize this emotion for your branding, you are wasting a valuable social currency - emotions of your users. Ready to woo your fans a whole new way? Give us a call.

IN A NUTSHELL
  • Generalizing sports platform content
  • Disregard for fixture time zones
  • Not paying attention to detailing
  • Lack of building a local connect
  • Ignoring in-stadium fan experience

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