Top Ten Tips to Creating the Ultimate Sports-Fan Engagement during Covid-19
Sport without fans is like fish without chips, a goal without a net, or a Sunday Roast without gravy. In principle it sounds okay, but it’s just a bit disappointing and dry without it. So we’ve come up with 10 tips to Creating the Ultimate Sports-Fan Engagement during Covid-19.
Sure, you can pipe in crowd noise, or you can have cardboard cut-outs of fans (respect to whoever did this), but sport is meant to be played in front of people. The players are motivated by it and the fans need it. When else is it acceptable to eat a volcanic hot pie than at half-time during the match? Definitely not on the couch at home, that’s for sure.
When Covid-19 struck, sport like so many things was stopped. In context, when talking about the pandemic, sport seems trivial, there are far more important things to worry about. But these pastimes are so important, the weekly trip to the game is a way of escaping the normal, and that being taken away, on top of everything else people are dealing with, is hard to cope with.
Add this to the financial implications for the clubs, decreased match day revenue, and the impact on commercial deals with sponsors and broadcasters, the picture painted for most sports teams across the world is a bleak one.
At Never.no we’re huge sports fans, and have been lucky enough to work with some of the biggest brands and sporting institutions around, so we thought we’d share ten ideas on how to boost engagement with supporters while in lockdown.
Matchday Live Show
Fans can’t get into the ground so bring the matchday experience to them by broadcasting a Matchday Live show on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Journalists and ex-players can feature on-screen talking about the match as it’s taking place. Fans can submit questions, comments and pictures during the game that the pundits can answer.
Here are two examples featuring Leicester City and Manchester City.
Regular Live Shows
Make your own version of Soccer Am (other fan-tastic shows are also available!), we’re sure every club has a budding Tim Lovejoy on the books. Don’t just go live to your fans on matchdays, create regular live shows throughout the week that feature ex-players and pundits talking about what’s been happening at the club that week. Show match highlights, audience-generated content, live polls, and competitions to make it a truly engaging fan show.
Fans love to have their say on everything, so there’s no better time to gauge opinion with a poll to get fans involved. Sponsored Man of The Match, Greatest Full Back of All Time, Favourite Goal Ever, Best Try, or even Best 3 Pointer – the opportunities are endless.
Tease the question on social, use that to get the shortlist and then push the poll live. You can aggregate the answers from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and publish the results in real-time during the matchday show or during the live broadcast.
Fans can’t get into the stadium so are unable to embarrass themselves taking part in those ludicrous on pitch half-time challenges at the moment. (Back in 2006 Crystal Palace got fans to try and kick a ball into a shed to win it). That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with the fans though. Before each match, set the fans a different challenge that they need to complete at home. Fans upload the clips of themselves (or friends) doing these challenges to Instagram using a specific hashtag.
They can then be curated and published during the shows, the winner gets a signed shirt from the match.
We all know some interviews with players can be pretty dull, but usually that’s because the questions are. Have some fun, after all sport is supposed to be fun, that’s why we like it. Each week interview a former legend but let the fans submit funny, offbeat questions. Honestly, ex-players love to talk about themselves, lets ask them about their most embarrassing moment on the pitch, who is the longest in the shower, who eats the strangest food. Broadcast the interview live on Facebook, with the questions overlayed – using captivating Real-Time Graphics – and asked by the presenter.
Using a Personal Response tool, you could send back the clipped answers directly to the user that asked those questions, who will likely share to their network – boosting engagement beyond the content!
Great Moments – Recreated
Ask fans to recreate a classic moment in their back garden. Upload it to Instagram, pick the best and play them out. Pundits then critique the fans efforts (ideally with the person that created the initial moment), and the best one wins a prize. Try to get a current player to have a go as well at training – even better!
Host a weekly live Q and A with the coach or captain. Entice fans to film themselves asking the question and upload it to social, then curate and publish the posts to the live stream, so the captain or manager can respond to them directly.
FIFA Live – eSports Simulation
E-Sports are hugely popular at the moment. Set up the next game to play out a 10-minute simulation. Get two current players to commentate it, stream onto Facebook and let the fans watch and comment over the top of the broadcast.
Invite a panel of journalists, former players, and fans to re-watch an historic match, as if it was happening live. Create a call to action for fans to watch along at home and submit their questions via social, the pundits can then answer the questions during the show.
Ultimate Fan Quiz
Fans love to share their wealth of knowledge (or lack of) about their club. Create some competition and pit them against each other in a weekly live head-to-head video quiz. The winner goes into the next round and challenges the next know-it-all The winner gets bragging rights and a signed shirt!
So, there you have it, these are just ten ideas that can keep your fans engaged during this pandemic and after. Supporters are desperate to consume as much content as possible to continue their experience – so give them what they want, you’ll reap the rewards through increased engagement and hits on the website, possibly leading them to merchandise and increased ad revenue.
All of these ideas can be managed using our Audience Engagement Platform, Bee-On. And in terms of ideas, this is just the tip of the iceberg as well, we’ve got hundreds more (we’ve been thinking about this a lot), so if you’d like to know more get in touch.
Alex Robinson is our head of APAC, he lives in Sydney and watches a lot of sport. He has a framed Gazza shirt from Italia 90 in front of his desk. You can email him on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Important commercial note. Not only do these ideas keep fans engaged fans, but each of them could have a commercial opportunity attached to them. One of the most powerful things about our Bee-On platform is that we can turn previously unused digital real estate into digital advertising inventory. Giving sponsors and partners exposure to fans that they were previously unable to access. Our in-depth analytics platform means we can demonstrate to sponsors and partners how successful their campaigns have been as well, giving them real ROI results.
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