Building a Sports Fan Engagement Platform | Future Platforms

What makes a good sports engagement platform? Discover all of the essential features in this article.


What Makes a Good Sports Fan Engagement Platform?

By 2027, forecasts suggest the global sports entertainment market is expected to grow to over $623 billion. Naturally, sports fan engagement is a vital part of this growth, but the revenue benefits will only be available to fast-acting organisations that transform their sports fan engagement platforms. Namely, by offering all the key aspects that fans are looking for in their favourite apps.

That’s why, in this article, we’re looking at what makes for a good engagement platform, where fan camaraderie and loyalty rewards are at the heart of the club experience. Read on to learn more and discover scalable strategies to deliver next-gen fan experiences.  

What is an engagement platform?

An engagement platform is an app or website that enables brands to reach out to their followers. These platforms can take many forms, including simple online forums to all-in-one multimedia super apps. Interestingly, brands don’t necessarily need to own these engagement platforms directly. Some brands even let followers interact with others to share user-generated content, discuss updates, and more. Though it’s difficult to cultivate and scale, these peer interactions add an extra layer of authenticity and community to engagement platforms that’s incredibly valuable.

Within the sports context, a good sports engagement platform puts personalisation and customisation front and centre. This focus allows fans to follow individual players or clubs they like most while also accessing all the information they need to enjoy themselves at venues. Let’s now look at some of the essential features and benefits engagement platforms should offer, or read our dedicated Whitepaper where we go into more detail.

Essential elements within any engagement platform

Build community and camaraderie

First and foremost, engagement platforms should enable interaction, allowing customers to find community with each other based on shared interests and grow their familiarity with brands.

These social features can allow customers to share best practices on how to use your product/service while also allowing brands to collect feedback in near real-time, too.

Establish omnichannel integrations

More sophisticated engagement platforms allow marketing managers to integrate customer data from different sources. This then allows them to achieve greater customer targeting to deliver more personalised and relevant information to users. 

We circle back to this topic within sports fan contexts further down, so keep reading to learn more.

Offer fast and easy rewards

Finally, the best engagement platforms help to incentivise regular engagement in the future. Common tactics can include push notifications, discounts, and more. However, brands should be wary about making their loyalty process too difficult or complex. 

The experience of watching sports in stadiums, court-side or even at home is already something that fans enjoy. It’s the club’s job to heighten that, so ensure to keep rewards schemes simple and issue rewards quickly and regularly. In previous research, we uncovered that a vast majority of loyalty scheme members have a good or very good understanding of their membership programme. As such, customers are highly sensitive to changes in the incentives and rewards on offer.

How to tailor your platform towards sports fan engagement

We surveyed 1,000 British sports fans to understand what they liked most about the sports fan experience and how clubs could enrich it. Here’s a taste of what we uncovered: 

Live streaming capabilities

Sports fans are usually interacting with your platform for one reason: to watch the latest game. Given this, our research showed it’s essential that any sports engagement platform gets the basics right. Namely, by allowing fans to watch live streams in-apps directly or signpost to where they can catch the action instead.

Merchandise opportunities

Sports merchandise is a common gift for many fans, meaning clubs can leverage fans’ interest in signed club materials and other memorabilia for revenue.

To help foster these consumer behaviours, clubs can offer early access to loyal fans and free giveaways for regular engagement. As mentioned above, just make sure to keep reward schemes simple or learn why in our dedicated article, The Ultimate Guide to Fan Loyalty & Fan Engagement.

Relevant information

Finally, our research found that fans remain engaged even in the off-season. While 56% of fans check their favourite sports apps daily during the in-season, this rises to 80% in the off-season. So, clubs need to find ways to deliver relevant content to fans before, during and after games. 

Our survey respondents said that they wanted to be able to keep up to date with the latest stats and news from clubs, as well as more information on overlooked sports categories like lower leagues, women’s teams and others. As a result, we recommend that clubs embrace these niches while also offering fans information on travel routes and hospitality outlets while attending their favourite matches. 

Of course, it can be hard to inspire fan engagement in new media offerings. So, if you’re looking for some inspiration, make sure to check out our other article on 5 of the Best Fan Engagement Campaigns. 

Discover the future of sports fan engagement platforms in our latest Whitepaper

The digital playing field – like you’ve never seen it before. Check out the industry insights collected from 1,000 British football fans as well as club leaders and experts in our latest Whitepaper.

We examine consumers’ modern expectations for fan engagement platforms in sports and explore what club leaders can do in response. Amid a fragmenting landscape of sports media consumption, we offer strategic recommendations on next steps to help you adapt.

Interested? Get your free copy now!