Engagement, the good kind – where both parties benefit – was a word that I was asked about after April’s executive briefing. More to the point was why and how do we reach out to those fans who have never been in the stadium or otherwise consumed the product except from watching from their homes.
It’s important to remember that the experience, the engagement, goes way beyond three hours on a Sunday afternoon or nine innings on a summer evening. It goes full time, 24/7, 365. Why is that important? Because there is a way to continually engage the fan, to observe their behavior, to strengthen the bond with the team brand and to truly own the relationship with the fan, regardless if they attend the game or never have.
Think of it this way: With the sports world going to virtual ticketing in one form or another, why limit that technology investment to only a trackable way of knowing who is in the venue and who is conducting business on the secondary ticket market? Why not use that technology to expand understanding of the fan even when they have left your stadium, even understanding fans who have never been to a game in-person because of cost or distance?
By giving fans an opportunity to connect with your brand, to evangelize it by telling others about it through their behavior in the market, to earn loyalty points through their behavior because they see value in doing so, to allow affinity programs between your corporate partners and your fans, allows any team to truly own their brand as well as the relationship others have with it.