Fan Engagement Drives Business and Millennials are willing to pay for it

Platforms like the Fanisko Engage help both teams and fans alike by providing all of this scattered content under the same roof. It increases the fans’ engagement time with the team, it offers live play-by-play predictions, top trending content, AR/VR gaming, engagement rewards, fan behavioral analytics, call-to-action campaigns that draw fans to the stadium, all making up for lost revenue.

The TV Era of fan engagement is slowly but surely coming to a close. People are still watching sports on TV, yes, but it is not the only entertainment provider out there. Now it’s all about social media and the different outlets it provides. In a 2017 interview, Robert Kraft, principal owner of the New England Patriots, said that “[Millennials] don’t watch TV, they don’t have TVs or subscribe to cable. So we have to bring that audience in.”

He is right, of course. A lot of revenue came from TV ads, but since people are no longer watching TV as they used to, naturally, that revenue also went down. Sports leagues are now scrambling to find ways on how to make up for that loss but they feel stuck in the ‘stone age,’ not knowing how to approach the issue.

Fan Engagement in the 21st Century

Millenials and the younger generation are all over social media nowadays. The general interest in sports has also waned a bit, especially with those 24 and younger, but most people still consider themselves avid sports fans. In the US, that number is around 86% of the general population, with millennials showing the most interest in sports.

But since they’re no longer watching TV, what they do instead is to turn to the almighty internet and get their sports content there. In fact, 92% of all those under 24 get their sports information from social media. What they like most about it is the fact that the entertainment keeps on going long after the game ended. Like Brian Hughes, senior VP of audience intelligence and strategy at MAGNA Global USA puts it “[Their] increased interest in short-term things, like stats and quick highlights… has funneled some young viewers away from TV.”

And it’s precisely because of those “short-term things” that sports leagues and teams find it so hard to engage with their fans. Most of them have mobile apps of their own, but millennials are almost anywhere on the internet, looking up their team, except on the team’s app.

Platforms like the Fanisko Engage help both teams and fans alike by providing all of this scattered content under the same roof. It increases the fans’ engagement time with the team, it offers live play-by-play predictions, top trending content, AR/VR gaming, engagement rewards, fan behavioral analytics, call-to-action campaigns that draw fans to the stadium, all making up for lost revenue.

The Really Good Part

Statistics show that over 90% of sports fans are willing to pay for sports programming. Millennials, unlike their older counterparts, are willing to pay the most for premium sports content, probably because the older generations got used to receiving theirs for free from TV.

Whatever the case, the market is there waiting to be seized, but the problem still remains with the sport’s teams who can’t seem to find a way of capitalizing on this fan engagement. Platforms like Fanisko can provide this bridge and allow for a streamlined and all-encompassing fan engagement virtual space.

An inside look at Manchester United’s staggering revenue through fan engagement

EPL giant Manchester United is engaged in fan interaction with over 100 million followers digitally, with over 70 million followers on Facebook, 20 million on Instagram and 17 million on Twitter. Furthermore, they have over a million subscribers to their official app and close to 175,000 subscribers to their MUTV app and digital cable channel which is available to 165 countries.

With a breathtaking number of 659 million supporters, it is safe to say that the fan base of EPL giant Manchester United is nothing short of colossal. Let me explain you the significance of this number – this is twice the population of the United States of America and almost half the population of China. Constituting to 8% of the world population, the fan base of  Premier league’s most successful could hold its own ground to become the fourth largest practiced religion after Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism.

Photo by John Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

The club is engaged in fan interaction with over 100 million followers digitally, with over 70 million followers on Facebook, 20 million on Instagram and 17 million on Twitter. Furthermore, they have over a million subscribers to their official app and close to 175,000 subscribers to their MUTV app and digital cable channel which is available to 165 countries.

Revenue through fan engagement

It’s one thing to create a massive fan base but it’s a whole different game to metamorphose it into an effective revenue model and that’s exactly what Manchester United have been successful at. The revenue generated through fan engagement has contributed effectively, helping the club to post a record-breaking overall revenue of  £581 million ($817 million) last year. Manchester United converts only 1% of its 659 million fans to MUTV subscription at an average of just £1 per month (the pricing will vary by country, taking fans’ respective purchasing power into account and is as low as around £1.60 per month in India to around £6.30 per month in Finland). This helps the club to generate nearly £80 million per year in additional revenues apart from their primary revenue via broadcasting rights, brand endorsements, and sponsorships.

Now let me explain as to how this £80 million transcends on to the pitch. This money can fund the signing of as many as two to three top players with five-year contracts or could contribute to one-third of the club’s overall annual wage budget of the entire squad which, is around £232 million. That’s in addition to the usual business Manchester United conducts during the transfer windows, which tends to be quite substantial already.

*screenshot taken from MUTV app*

Moving on to the most amusing factor about this fanbase is that close to 85% live in developing economies around the world, with more than half in Asia and only close to 7% of the fanbase turns up to their stadium through the course of their footballing season. This makes the club to keep fans engaged between matches through social media and their dedicated apps. The fans are provided with the right and robust content at the right time in as many as 27 languages, through various mediums. This creates more interaction, greater advertising and merchandising opportunities among its predominantly young fanbase.

About Fanisko:

Fanisko offers a one-stop fan engagement platform, “Fanisko Engage”, that helps sports brands increase mobile fan retention, digital engagement, and revenue opportunities. We are built on a unique company culture where everyone is passionate about sports, entertainment and care about better fan experience and engagement.

So, if you are any sports association, league or a club planning to deliver an amazing mobile based fan engagement platform to build your fan base, we would like to hear from you.

 

*Revenue and fan base statistics were taken from BBC, Independent, MUFC’s social media accounts, and official website respectively*