Monday, February 13, 2017

Sports Marketers: 3 Ways to Engage Your Fans with New Technology

As a Sports Marketer, one of the biggest concerns you face today is how to keep your fans engaged in an increasingly digital and technological world. As a graduate student at the Northwestern Medill IMC program who has an interest in sports marketing, I have found two articles which address the growing technology trends and how they affect the sports industry.

In the GeekWire article, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver predicts how we’ll watch basketball in 5 yearsTaylor Soper explains the way sports are being watched and how that is changing. Nobody sits and just watches a game anymore; whether at home or in-person, people are always looking at their smartphones and other devices. The challenge and opportunity lie in providing opportunities for fans to be looking at content that is relevant to what’s happening in the game. One proposed solution is developing Augmented Reality (AR) applications that will enhance the game experience such as seeing additional information like stats or potential scenarios overlaid on the court or field through a smartphone.

The VentureBeat article, How Marketers Tap Sports Fans in Connected Stadiums, by Chris Nguyen details the importance of connectivity in stadiums and how that impacts the fan experience. It’s crucial for stadiums to have great WiFi and large data capabilities because fans expect to have access to real-time content such as player and game stats and video highlights when they are at the game. Fans also want access to exclusive, contextually relevant, experiences such as instant replays from angles not shown on the jumbotron that allows them to feel even more connected to the game. Teams and brands need to focus on creating experiences for fans that enrich the game through the devices and technology they prefer to use.

Based on my review of these two articles and relevant studies I have done at Northwestern University, I have developed 3 action items to consider.

  • Make Streaming HappenThe way that fans watch sports and engage with teams is changing; use live video to build a strong and intimate experience with your fans.
  • Invest in Augmented Reality - With shrinking attention spans, embrace new technology and find ways to truly augment your fans' experience at the game.
  • Share the Experience - Give your fans what they want by using Virtual Reality and 360 video to put themselves in the athletes' shoes, review a play from any angle, and more. 

The next time you are thinking about how to take advantage of new technology, remember these action items to enhance your fans’ experience.

Katie Amys is currently a graduate student at Northwestern University pursuing a Master's degree in Integrated Marketing Communications, specializing in Content Marketing and Brand Strategy. With over three years of experience in marketing and sales in a variety of industries, I hope to pursue a career in sports marketing upon graduating in August 2017. Please feel free to contact me on Twitter or LinkedIn

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