Insights from the 2021 Fan and Membership Engagement Conference

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The Fan and Membership Engagement Virtual Conference in April brought together professionals from across the sporting spectrum to discuss the latest thinking and insights into how sporting organisations can grow nd sustain their digital communities in the post-Covid sporting economy.

Our CEO, Rich Cheary, took part in the Fan and Member Experiences panel, hosted by Swansea City FC’s Rebecca Edwards-Symmons, that discussed the impact of Covid and the steps that can be taken to aid long-term recovery.

Here were the key takeaways …

RETHINKING PRIORITIES

“99% of sports organisations’ budgets and thinking around fan engagement are geared towards the in-stadium experience, but more than 99% of one’s potential audience is digital”

The onset of Covid placed immense scrutiny and responsibility on internal media teams to adapt their content strategies almost overnight – in order to communicate and offer continued value to fan audiences digitally.

Those forward-thinking organisations who had invested in a digital ecosystem that enabled fans to subscribe to premium content, engage by sharing their own media, and enjoy meaningful interactions with sponsors that brought fans onto a club’s own digital properties – were more prepared to adapt to the challenges placed on them by Covid-19 – which robbed fans of the match day experience and clubs of their main source of content.

SIMPLIFYING WORKFLOW

“Whether it’s remote working, or home and away games, can you readily access your media from anywhere to get your messaging out effectively?”

The added responsibility of carrying the needs of the brand, the fan and sponsors on a club’s digital platforms during Covid, emphasised the need for media teams to be able to collect digital media across a variety of touch points and be able to access and share that media from anywhere, on any device – in a way that also protected digital media assets in a secure ecosystem.

By implementing a simple media workflow solution, internal media teams will be best placed to take better ownership of fan communication, and advantage of breaking club news and other content on their own channels before mainstream media.

WATCH: THE FAN & MEMBER EXPERIENCES PANEL

UNEARTHING BEHIND-THE-SCENES MEDIA  

“How do we give the fans that other media, that raw footage without makeup, without the right lighting, but at the right point in time?”

Sports organisations need to ask themselves the question … can they take stock of all the media being produced around their brand – whether by fans, players or others? And if so, how much of that media are they initiating, collecting and repurposing?

While traditional broadcasters play the role of bringing the on-field matchday action to fans, sports organisations have a unique opportunity to unearth the behind-the-scenes content that fans crave. The key is to establish a repeatable collaboration platform that allows players to contribute consistently as content producers in their own right, providing a rich stream of unique, monetisable media IP that benefits both player, brand and sponsors.

KNOW YOUR FAN

“Not having any fans in the stadiums makes you realise you have this other segment of fans that is your digital audience – and they have become the main priority”

Your digital audience may include 70-year-old season ticket holders having to navigate your digital platforms, or 20-something millennials with high expectations to be able to interact with your brand digitally across a variety of touch points.

But how much do you really know about your registered fan, in order to provide a digital experience that resonates and is personalised to the individual user?

The key is to provide an exceptional user experience that transforms casual digital visitors into loyal, engaged digital community members, allowing you learn about your fan in a way that incentivises them, is not exploitative but a natural consequence of a long-term, mutually beneficial digital relationship.

PT SportSuite is a digital sports consultancy and implementors of an advanced digital media ecosystem for sports organisations. To learn more about how we work with our partners to increase fan, player and brand engagement, book a team talk

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