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Being a sports fan is emotional. As the team goes, so goes its fans. Fans want to know all about the players and everything that’s happening and receive updates as they happen, so they can feel as close to the team as possible. A top priority for sports organizations is expanding their fan base. Fans living in the local-market can easily catch a game and buy apparel and merchandise in a local pro-shop. There is also plenty of advertising, discussions of the team in local media, and a variety of other events to keep the team top of mind and attract new fans. But what about your fans who don’t live locally? How can you keep those out-of-market fans engaged and valued? Let’s walk through a few ideas.
1. Keep out-of-market fans connected to the game by sending communications about group viewing events in their local area. By establishing a fan loyalty program, you can take the engagement one step further by awarding points for a check-in at a pre-approved, local viewing location. Rather than depend on a QR code to register - which opens you up to fraud if someone takes a picture of the code and sends it to their friends to scan who aren’t physically at the venue - set up geo-fences to register attendance. Validated attendees can then be entered into a sweepstakes for VIP experiences or team memorabilia each week in order to increase awareness and participation.
2. Delivering surveys, quizzes and sweepstakes through a fan mobile app is another great way to engage with out-of-market fans. Additionally, your fan loyalty program could award points for engaging with content, like watching online videos or reading game day summaries and other articles.
3. Sending offers for merchandise and apparel through online ordering is also key to keeping out-of-market fans engaged. Using a points program that allows people to redeem points for merchandise gives fans even more incentive to engage with the team through the various ways mentioned above. Teams can send a push or email to specific segments of fan profiles about sales or other offers at a particular store, or offer double loyalty points on a certain day for certain product categories.
The right technology allows marketers to connect those who love your team, but live out-of-market and don’t have the opportunity to visit your venue. By customizing communications to focus on actions like making an ecommerce purchase, organizing viewing parties or subscribing to streaming video, sports teams can capitalize on the dedication of fans who love them from afar.
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