Turning Sports Enthusiasts into Hardcore Fans

Hardcore fans, unlike simple sports enthusiasts, see themselves as part of the team and not just simple spectators in the arena. With this in mind, teams, leagues, and clubs should cater to these needs as much as possible. Luckily, however, this has become increasingly more feasible, thanks in large part to all the technological achievements in recent years.  

Hardcore fans are the lifeblood of any sports team, league, or club. These fans are the ones that live and breathe for their favorite teams and are the ones more than willing to go to every game, purchase merchandise, and follow their teams wherever they go. Not all sports teams enjoy this high level of fidelity and idolization, meaning that their bottom line has to suffer, stifling, in turn, their possibility for expansion, sponsorship acquisition, and better results, in a sort of positive feedback cycle that is incredibly hard to break.

Nevertheless, some sports teams such as FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, FC Bayern Munich, among many others, seem to be blessed with fans spanning the entire globe. So, what are these teams doing right that others aren’t? And more importantly, what do fans want and expect from their favorite teams?

What Do the Hardcore Fans Really Want?

Hardcore fans, unlike simple sports enthusiasts, see themselves as part of the team and not just simple spectators in the arena. With this in mind, teams, leagues, and clubs should cater to these needs as much as possible. Luckily, however, this has become increasingly more feasible, thanks in large part to all the technological achievements in recent years.

These fans want to be in touch with their teams 24/7, if possible. And while this was somewhat hard to do, say, back in the ’90, with today’s many social media platforms, like Snapchat, Instagram, or Facebook, this is no longer a problem. Teams and individual players alike can live stream from the locker room or their own homes, all to their fan base delight and satisfaction.

What Key Elements Facilitate Hardcore Sports Fans?

No person is born a hardcore fan, so, certain things must be turning them. Knowing what these are, can help teams to turn them into their loyal fans better.

For starters, and this is somewhat obvious, hardcore fans are usually from the same city. In fact, roughly 60% of all hardcore fans of any given team, especially those that hold international recognition, are from the same town or area as their team. An equally important aspect is the family tradition of rooting for a specific team. It is unlikely, though not unheard of, for children to endorse a different team than that their parents, siblings, and relatives do.

Then, there’s the matter of a team’s performance. Scientific studies have shown that fans whose team won a game see an increase in their testosterone levels. Likewise, some sports fans tend to follow individual players and not the teams themselves. It means that they are willing to change teams as long as their favorite player is part of it.

Lastly, there a matter of convenience. Today’s sports fans are all about convenience and versatility when it comes to their engagement with their teams. And as we’ve mentioned before, this trend has been facilitated, in large part by the rise of social media and other such digital technologies. The downside to this development, however, is the fact that there are too many platforms from which fans engage with their teams, which is somewhat the opposite of what convenience is about.

Conclusion

Fortunately, specific platforms such as Fanisko Engage are fixing that by funneling all this fragmented content, and more, within a single source. This is a win-win situation for everybody involved.

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.