We’re counting down to UEFA Euro 2020, so let´s talk about how clubs and franchises can engage their fans through gamification.
Football has changed, basketball has changed, sports in general have changed. The way that we watch a game is completely different compared to a few years ago. Today teams and franchises are not just interested in winning games, they are interested in profit and getting fan´s engagement, but let focus on this last one.
Nowadays it’s much harder to get fan engagement, especially after March 2020, when we started to feel the effects of Covid-19. Fans could not watch the games in the stadiums and, therefore, the clubs had to find new ways to engage their fans. But how?
Now, we start to see different communication strategies to engage fans, like social media content, podcasts, documentaries. All these communications bring the fans much closer, but we are forgetting one strategy that can engage, motivate and reward fans for their loyalty. Yes you’re right, that strategy is gamification.
Content is king and represents probably the most effective way of engaging with fans, but according to Didier Guillot, CEO of Ligue de Football Professionnel data has become the most valuable asset for any company operating in the sports industry.
Building fan engagement and brand awareness through gamification
Gamification is the platform that enables to know in detail the fans, engaged with them, interact and collect fans data. Through gamification, clubs and franchises linked their fans with incentives, such as official merchandising, tickets, club experiences, etc. This kind of incentives boost fan´s loyalty and introduces competitiveness between fans.
Besides fan engagement, it is really important to create a brand preference to attract younger audiences. Gamification is very popular among generation Z, so clubs and franchises should focus on data collection, incorporating gamification at the core to build the next generation of sports fans. But how?
One possible approach is providing the rewards after completing the tasks it will be visible to other players by showing the score in leaderboards are ways of encouraging players, in this case, fans, to compete with each other in the community. Normally leaderboards are a good way to keep users engage and involve with your club.
Giving points through some kind of games or activities is a very helpful mechanic to keep fans and supporters engaged. Besides, points are a good way of tracking or scoring an attribute of a player, and a good way of rewarding something valuable for the fans.
Badges system is used to recognize the skills of players. The badges give players a sense of reward and progress and encourage the players to continue on the journey.
A level system, fans are introduced to different levels where they can play, participate and get several skills and upgrade their level. Levels also serve to provide players with intermediate goals (small wins). As fans increase their spending, they “level up” to a tier with higher status and better benefits.
Without goals to work toward, without milestones to reach, games become grinds. Aside from giving participants a purpose, explicitly defined goals also serve to identify to participants what activities are possible in the experience, as well as what behaviours are valued (Paharia, 2013). Challenges are in the form of quizzes for example. Imagine being rewarded for getting a question right, for example: “Who was the top scorer at UEFA Euro 2016”.
Football and others sports are nothing without the fans, we saw that when the European Superleague was announced. Two days after the announcement the competition was cancelled because fans and several clubs were against the competition. This mechanic is very important in a gamification platform. We are social creatures, so we want to see what others are doing and want them to see what we´re doing.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the way clubs interact with their fans has changed, and the best way is to include gamification. This is the core to engage, motivate and reward fans for their loyalty and with this, build the next generation of sports fans.