As sports fans, we all want to feel close and connected to our favorite teams and players.
But considering fandom in the digital age, how do we achieve that? Attending live games is only a part of it, but the sports fan engagement and customer experience are ongoing processes.
Some key data to keep in mind:
- 51% of people interested in watching sports are checking live stats while watching a sporting event.
- 47% of the people who watch sports on TV or digital platforms simultaneously watch other live content, much higher than the general population (33%).
- There were 2,254 publicly announced e-sports sponsorship deals globally in 2021 compared to 1,785 in 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing segments of the global entertainment industry!
With expectations of more involved, personalized experiences and interactions with teams across multiple devices, sports clubs need to expand their digital capabilities to meet these demands. Not only that, they must do it in a way that extends beyond just having a website or social channels. They must figure out how to extend sports fan engagement beyond the fan experience at sporting events. With this in mind, some questions arise:
- How should a team transition from physical experiences to digital ones?
- How can they accommodate fans in a way that’s relevant not just to their location but also to their age and interests?
- What kind of interactions should they provide to bring fans closer than ever?
- And how can they put these ideas into practice?
This time we take a look at 3 of the biggest football brands in the world and explore how they’ve elevated their customer experience management (CXM) into a global audience eager to interact with their teams in innovative ways.
Case #1: Adobe Experience Cloud at the heart of Real Madrid’s fan journey.
Real Madrid is tapping into Adobe Experience Platform, the customer data platform for Adobe Experience Cloud, to drive digital growth, build stronger relationships with fans, increase sports fan engagement across devices and channels, and create new revenue opportunities. Sounds great. But how exactly are they extending fan experience beyond sporting events?
First, if you’re unfamiliar with Customer Data Platforms (CDP), here is a brief intro to the Adobe Marketing Platform.
The Adobe Marketing Platform is a CDP, a digital platform that helps companies collect, unify, segment, personalize and activate customer data across multiple channels. It’s an essential tool that marketing, sales, and product teams use to understand their customers and deliver better experiences.
You can read more about them here:
- Customer Data Platforms: Your go-to solution to customer data challenges
- CMOs are embracing Customer Data Platforms to drive their marketing strategies
How can these companies use their resources to give fans a fully immersive experience at home and abroad to drive sports fan engagement? Let's see:
- The power of real-time customer data: Real-time customer profiles are key to delivering relevant, up-to-date experiences that keep customers happy. Real Madrid will analyze customer interactions throughout the journey and deliver the appropriate messaging through the channels the customer prefers.
- Bringing the iconic Santiago Bernabéu stadium to the global stage: Through an expanded ecosystem of online experiences, products, and services, Real Madrid’s home court will be more accessible than ever. For example, depending on the country fans stream home matches from, they’ll receive personalized ads through the stadium’s digital advertising boards. In the future, fans will even receive ads depending on where they are located. Whether on public transport or at the bar, they’ll receive personalized publicity consistent with their specific location.
When you value your customers' experiences, attending to their evolving preferences within an orchestrated customer journey allows you to deliver seamless omnichannel experiences in the best and fastest way possible.
Case #2 FC Bayern reimagines sports fan engagement with Adobe.
When it comes to sports teams like FC Bayern Munich, understanding your customers —wherever they live— is crucial to create the best experiences for them. The club knew they had an opportunity to be at the forefront of keeping up with their demands.
The club’s goal is to provide one of the most personalized experiences, which they can achieve with a deeper understanding of their fans and by delivering relevant content at the right moments. These are some of the ways in which they plan to improve sports fan engagement:
- Serving real-time notifications via preferred digital platforms: With their sights set on personalization and based on in-depth fan profiles, the club’s notifications will vary depending on whether the fan attends matches in person.
- Providing different offers for different fans: Local fans may get ticket or food and drink deals, while international fans get immersive merchandise offers. A combination of real-time notifications and audience insights will enhance every aspect of the fan experience at sporting events.
- Let the fans and the team sign documents from anywhere, on mobile or desktop: Thanks to Adobe Acrobat Sign, they will implement e-signatures and digital documents for increased back-office efficiency. This speeds up the “boring” administrative parts and lets fans jump right into the fun.
Data combined with personalization is a powerful combo. When you have a deeper understanding of your fans, you can provide the most personalized experiences. Without profile insights and other data, delivering relevant, contextual offers like tickets, food or drink deals would be challenging.
Case #3: The FIFA World Cup companion.
With the FIFA World Cup making headlines worldwide, FIFA+ is a free service that will act as a companion to the competition.
Launched in early 2022, FIFA+ was conceived as the ultimate destination for football fans. It contains highlights, live stats, fantasy football, and more. Now revamped for the World Cup, football fans can enjoy the following:
- The first 12 World Cup matches will be free to stream.
- Full tournament coverage in 10 languages.
- Official highlights mere minutes after the match is over.
- Stadium Experience feature for live attendants. Attending fans will enjoy an augmented reality overlay with dynamic live stats such as possession, heat maps, live player tracking, speed of runs, line ups, formations, and more.
- FIFA World Cup Fantasy for gaming fans to manage virtual versions of their national or favorite teams.
- The official digital collectables marketplace, FIFA+ Collect and much more.
This is what the InStadium feature looks like: possession stats, heat maps from the team and individual players, live player tracking, speed of runs, line ups, and lots of powerful live data.
Need we say more? FIFA+ is an excellent example of a brand that is set to redefine sports fan engagement during the World Cup and beyond. It expands upon the experience fans already knew by going above and beyond what we all expected from a sports coverage service.
As fan experience at sporting events and sports fans' expectations continue to evolve alongside, we're seeing more and more brands choose to focus on improving their customer experience to keep up with market demands.
How those demands are met is changing, and we can see new avenues for sports fan engagement and connection opening up. But these new avenues can come with challenges. How well teams handle the transition towards multiple digital experiences for a global audience may be critical to long-term fan loyalty.
The best part? Investing in CXM to elevate fan experiences translates into more sports fan engagement, increased connection, revenue, and loyalty, thereby creating opportunities that are exciting for everyone involved.
We find it satisfying to see such giants of the sports industry focus on CXM by investing more time and resources into understanding their fans and the markets they serve.
If you're ready to boost customer engagement through CXM, don't hesitate to reach out to us. At Conexio, boosting engagement and optimizing your customers' journey is our bread and butter.