What are sports without fans? Fan engagement is the catalyst that makes or breaks the level a sport can reach in terms of size and popularity. According to some experts, the emotional bond that is developed between the team or player and the crowd is what drives fan involvement in sports. Many teams and players would fail if fans stopped supporting them by no longer going to games and events, buying goods, and posting information about events on social media.
The majority of sports clubs and teams are aware of the crucial contributions fans make to the success of the sport in which they compete. Every sports property makes an effort to interact with fans frequently. However, in this day and age, engagement among sports fans will never be the same.
Since there are increasingly more options for fans to follow and connect with their preferred sport, team, and players, fan engagement, particularly digital fan engagement, has grown in importance for sports marketers. Sports teams and clubs have the chance to interact more deeply with devoted and new fans through social media, digital NFTs, fan tokens, closed digital groups, conversations, and forums.
Companies like ECAL, XEERPA, and more add a different dimension to fan engagement in sports
To simplify this interactive process, there exist companies that provide services in this very field, to bring fans closer to the sport they love so dearly. We look at 10 such companies from across the world that have been doing a stellar job at it.
All these solutions are accessible in the Indian market via Mumbai-based B2B sports innovation consulting firm HiG Sports. Referring to these companies, the founder & CEO of HiG Sports, Abhishek Padwal, noted that these companies cover the broader tenets of fan engagement around areas including but not limited to enabling real-time fan interactions, creative ways of gathering first-party fan data, automated and customized digital campaigns, and simplified, template-based social media content creation.
Trusted by 300+ major sports brands and servicing millions of users globally, Australia-based ECAL has excelled as the leading calendar marketing, communications, and data platform.
Its clients include some of the biggest sports properties in the world, including the Premier League, ICC, ECB, Cricket Australia, LaLiga, FIA Formula E, PayTM Insider, NBC Sports, and more. ECAL's smart, dynamic 'sync to calendar' technology allows fans to sync their personal calendars with the latest event content from their favorite brands, so they can always stay up-to-date and connected.
Fans receive everything they need to know to participate and engage in an event, including the latest event details, handy alerts, direct action links to tickets, streaming, video, news, merchandise, offers, and more. ECAL provides its leading digital calendar technology across a variety of sectors including sports, media, ticketing, venues, retail, payments, billing, bookings, and more.
Social media-based fan profiling and first-party data enrichment platform Xeerpa offers various integration options through the majority of solutions: BI, CRM, DMP, Data Warehouse, Data Lake, Data Mart, and CDP.
Xeerpa works with top football clubs, including several Champions League champions and top European leagues, helping them understand the interests of individual fans worldwide far beyond their passion for sports and creating the most advanced Fan Golden Records. Knowing each fan individually not only helps create more engaging experiences, but it also allows sports organizations identify better-qualified leads for their sponsors, facilitating a higher ROI on their sponsorships.
Social media content can now be sponsored in novel and intriguing ways thanks to Slate. The company expands the range of sponsorable assets available to its clients and makes it easier to monetize its most compelling real-time content.
With Slate, social teams capitalize on the most important moments by overlaying photos and videos with custom design elements that make its real-time content stand out on platforms such as Instagram Stories, TikTok, and Snap. Some of Slate's chief clients include the Australian Open as well as some NBA teams, including the Golden State Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.
Dutch-Hungarian platform Seyu specializes in allowing fans everywhere in the world (in-stadia and in front of their TVs) to take selfies, add motivating messages, and post them on digital platforms, including live OTT and broadcast feeds, or at the event venue, giant screens and perimeter LED boards via a moderated channel.
As fan engagement partners, Seyu recently took part in one of the most popular sporting events in history. The legendary El Clásico match was arranged by the official FC Barcelona and Real Madrid fan associations in Hungary, LaLiga, and its broadcasting partner, Spíler TV.
Speaking about new age tools driving fan engagement today, Tom Vecsernyes (SEYU CEO & co-founder) said:
"In my opinion, digital fan-engagement is a must for sport institutions and brands active in sport, no matter the size and scope that they are targeting. Digital tools such as our mobile phones and all kinds of solutions that have become an essential part of our way of living. Many exciting solutions and Seyu are here to make it easier for right holders in sport to keep up with the fast pace digital needs of their market, and we are more than pleased to do this hand in hand with HiG Sports for the Indian market."
5) Sports Alliance
The Sports Alliance platform has over 20 years of experience developing and designing fan data solutions for professional sports brands, making it easier for marketing teams to access, analyze, and act on their data.
Sports Alliance unifies all fan data in a single, user-friendly interface, allowing sports marketers to create distinctive fan experiences that deepen loyalty and increase efficiency for any brand. This includes email marketing, loyalty program integration, full omni-channel orchestration, single sign-on, and contact management for privacy and detailed transactions.
Some of the major clients of Sports Alliance include football clubs like Brighton & Hove Albion, FC Barcelona, Nottingham Forest and Rangers FC, among others.
Pico - Get Personal is a data-driven fan marketing platform that helps major league teams, esports, brands, and organizations turn digital engagement into valuable zero-party data. Pico's data capture technology creates an opportunity for targeted and personalized marketing and fan experiences.
The digital activation and zero-party data gathering platform offers solutions like memory games, trivia, find the difference, spin the wheel, and more entice fans to communicate with brands directly over digital channels such as Facebook and Instagram Messenger, Twitter Direct Message, a mobile app, or website. It also deals in increasing brand awareness and engagement for partners by organically placing the logos of sponsors as well as creating targeted campaigns to drive sales of tickets and merchandise. Pico’s Indian clientele involve IPL team Mumbai Indians and ISL side FC Goa, among other global sports bodies.
Footylight is a sportstech startup providing video player technology with relevant content for sports publishers. Once publishers insert Footylight's Fconnect widget on their websites, relevant video content and advertisements are served automatically within the widget.
It is a publisher-centric company providing B2B solutions to create fan engagement and monetization. Although it started with soccer content, Footylight gradually extended its portfolio to include other sports like cricket, tennis, and more.
Australia-based Campaignware is the leading digital engagement and first party collection platform for the sports industry. Its clients include Sporting News, Dafanews, Eleven Sports, Manchester United, Castore, AFL, The Insider (StatsPerform), National Rugby League, and many more.
Campaignware offers its customers a self-service, no-code content creation platform to create interactive content for readers, or commercial campaign assets for brand partners. Simply pick a template, customize it, and inject it into your website with a copy-and-paste. Templates include polling, squad predictors, quizzes, trivia, voting, spin and win, user-generated content, competitions, pick-em predictors, and 50 more.
Download your data, view your analytics, or edit your campaigns in real time, and connect to your wider marketing stack with integrations. Campaignware also supports 15 languages, including Hindi, Spanish, Traditional Chines, and 13 others.
SpoLive is a virtual spectating platform that enables real-time interactions between fans, teams, and players. It also provides fans with a new remote cheering experience while improving the efficiency of social media operations.
SpoLive has partnered with a number of Japanese and international sports sides, offering them an automated generation of various game-linked content and images for social media. SpoLive is predominantly suitable for Tier 2 and Tier 3 sports that do not have big budgets to develop their own apps or streaming platforms.
Pendular automation technology enables sports broadcasters and publishers to generate content automatically. Pendular allows them to position hundreds of web stories on Google daily to reach new audiences and increase revenue.
Pendular includes three native advertising formats to monetize sports highlights and articles. Its technology offers a dynamic cropping feature to generate sports highlights in different sizes.
The list of Pendular’s successful associations includes its partnership with TNT Sports and Caracol TV in Colombia, among other broadcasters and publishers.