Once upon a time, supporting a sports team was an almost entirely passive pursuit (bar the shouting). Fans would sit on the sidelines rooting for their outfit, their engagement with the club never going further than buying a match programme or replica shirt.
With the dawn of the mobile age, that all changed. Stadia and stands around the world are filled with smartphone-toting fans, willing and able to engage directly with the action.
As is so often the case, collegiate athletic departments in the US have been among the first to catch on. Nearly half of all people between the ages of 18 and 35 follow a sports team, and 35% actively comment on the latest results and news via social media. Mobile marketing is an essential part of any right-thinking sports marketing campaign.
Colleges and universities across the country are using the power of mobile to propel support and harvest crucial data on attendance and opinion. Christine Kudelk from Concordia University’s marketing department has identified four key strategies for sports marketers:
- Offer incentives through mobile to engage your audience.
- Give your user newer, deeper ways to experience your brand.
- Help the mobile user to achieve a goal or solve a problem.
- Make the user experience with your brand easier.
Smartphones are acting like interactive dashboards, allowing fans to monitor live stats, social media feeds and peer commentary – all whilst watching a game. As a generator of interest, mobile is invaluable.
But it’s more than that – mobile marketing can directly drive revenue through sponsorship and promotional campaigns. Data gathered from crowds can be used to target potential partnerships and garner crucial sponsorship dollars.
From collegiate sports departments to professional leagues, engagement driven by the power of mobile is helping maximize the fan experience, and generate much-needed cash to foster grass roots talent.