NFL has a secret potion on fan engagement. Or don’t they? There’s something that the league has consistently pursued over the years. Take a look.
What’s that one secret potion that NFL uses so the fans renew their undying loyalty for the league with each season? The league knows how to deeply engage fans and keeps working day and night to engage them in the years to come. NFL anticipates fan needs, involves fans in each of its initiatives and uses fan-generated content for winning more fans.
NFL’s fan engagement strategy has invaluable lessons for sports clubs, leagues and fantasy sports entrepreneurs who wish to create winning sports-related applications. Here’s what you can learn.
If the fans have internet access, NFL is available. The league has worked on this for decades ever since the first televised NFL game in 1939 which featured Philadelphia Eagles v/s the Brooklyn Dodgers. NFL ensures that its game is still the best thing to opt for every Sunday morning. You will find their players’ names on jerseys or see them building bigger stadiums to contain the growing volume of fans, organizing games on Monday nights when people come home. NFL even launched its own network apart from serving additional content to fans in the form of NFL Film series.
Take-away: Make your sports product accessible to fans all the time. Keep finding newer ways to serve brand content in the environment that suits the fans.
NFL is one of the few brands worldwide who have succeeded in turning social media completely on its side. Every NFL team has a Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts that share off-field action apart from interesting stats, stadium frenzy, news and features. But most importantly, these social media handles involve fans through rewards, prizes and team memorabilia. Teams like New Orleans or Eagles have even created fun stories on Snapchat.
Take-away: Make sure your fans are constantly involved in your social media accounts. In fact, your entire social media strategy should revolve around involving fans.
There’s series of updates that NFL has always maintained over the years. For example, in 1912 they made the touchdowns from four to six points. Then in 1965, the NFL and AFL merged for growing fan base. And then there was the Superbowl that itself became a phenomenon when launched two years ago. The league also introduced Wild Card teams as part of its fan engagement innovations.
Take-away: Don’t think your sports brand is bigger than fan frenzy. Keep surprising your fans with innovations and you will see them multiply with each season.
Don’t think your sports brand is bigger than fan frenzy. Always keep surprising your fans with innovative ideas.
NFL rides on its positive brand image by joining hands with partners for its various activities, programmes and fan engagement initiatives. NFL often strikes up these partnerships based on its analysis of how the fans are evolving. For instance, tapping the deep engagement of video games, it struck up a partnership with EA sports that develops the game Madden NFL with the aim of reaching video game players. In order to keep the fans updated with latest news and to constantly feed them with its brand content, the league has partnered with Twiter, Google, Verizon, DirectTV and the likes so the fans don’t miss any updates.
Take-away: Think beyond the most obvious way to reach sports fans. Are your fans playing fantasy games? Do they engage in video games? Will they love a live update? These questions would help you engage fans better.
Imagine sitting in a stadium watching an NFL match and you need to go to the washroom. There are apps that would tell you how long the washroom queues are. Such is the extent to which NFL would go to not only make fans comfortable but also to magnify their experience. Apart from the giant screens, some of its stadiums like San Francisco’s Levi’s or New England’s Gillette stadium have Wi-fi access so fans can continually update their social media accounts or check out their fantasy game teams thus naturally producing fan-generated content for everyone else to see and experience. For fans watching the games at home, NFL provides NFL Red Zone which is pretty much every fantasy team player’s dream coming true.
Take-away: Keep your sports fans at the center of your brand and their needs at every part of it. Simple things such as a mobile-friendly web application, deep study of social media analytics, listening to users’ complaints on social media can give you valuable insights into what your customers really want.
NFL has managed to make itself America’s favourite sport by conscious and consistent efforts over the years. They have achieved a fan engagement strength like no other brand. Any sports business that aims at such a phenomenal level of needs to start from truly knowing and understanding fan needs. We undertake a lot of research on fan sentiments while building fantasy sports applications or fan engagement platforms and would love to help you out.
Vinfotech creates world’s best fan engagement solutions for fantasy sports startups, sports leagues & clubs and sports brands. We promise initial set of real engaged users to put turbo in your fan engagement and fantasy sports growth. Our award winning software vFantasy™ allows us to build stellar rewards platform faster and better. Our customers include Zee Digital, Picklive and Arabian Gulf League.
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