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Year Of The Ultimate Connected Fan Engagement Experience?

Wed 13th Jan 2016 | IT & Technology

Predictions for 2016; will 2016 be the year of the ultimate connected fan experience?

Now we’ve fully embraced the New Year, we’ve been reflecting on the fan engagement experience last year and how this will continue to evolve throughout 2016. Our prediction is that this year will see sports clubs embracing the digital era more than ever before. Let’s be honest, if they don’t harness this opportunity to engage with their fans through digital channels, they risk being left behind.

Without doubt, digital and technology innovations will continue to transform the sporting experience. Venues can make attending a sporting event an immersive, connected experience to build excitement and loyalty with the connected fan, unfolding the benefits of the digital era.

1.       The commercial benefits of the digital era

Clubs are under increasing pressure to adapt and find new ways to take the fan ‘experience’ to new levels to maximise commercial opportunities, both before the game starts and whilst fans are in the stadium. Through the use of digital channels and exploiting social media platforms, clubs can understand the ‘digital fan’ and achieve more tailored engagement throughout their journey. This will mean they can not only provide a rewarding physical match day experience but unlock the revenue opportunity from each fan. Relevant upsell opportunities will unfold as clubs engage with every fan, as well as their friends and family, through every part of the connected journey. With the vast quantities of digital data, clubs can gain a better understanding of their fan than ever before.

2.       Big data becomes responsible data

Exploiting the value of fan data in the right way will help clubs to enhance loyalty by delivering a ‘connected’ experience for fans. However, the impending introduction of the EU’s new data protection act means every sports club will need to focus on responsible data in 2016 – especially in the way they use the data they own.

With clubs embracing the digital era, data can be collected through social channels, apps and during online transactions. With this data comes responsibility. The new legislation will mean that any club or individual that processes data “by which an individual can be identified” will be held responsible for its protection, including third parties such as cloud providers. The perils of poor data management will become a big theme of 2016 as clubs turn their attention towards safely managing and using this information, particularly if it is also shared with third parties.

3.       Security tops the agenda

Digital transformation presents a myriad of benefits and opportunities for clubs, but it also presents new security challenges which they will need to quickly adapt to in order to ensure their infrastructure remains secure. 2015 saw a number of high profile security breaches which has put this issue under the spotlight. 2016 will see more and more clubs and venues adopt cloud hosted solutions to up the ante on their security measures, ensuring growing areas such as mobile access to IT systems as well as BYOD (bring your own device) becomes more widespread.

4.       The connected fan experience on social channels

Every fan interaction with the club, whether it be on the website or via direct channels of communication, is important to each supporter’s individual engagement with the club. A vital part of attending a sporting event is the ability to share the experience, the atmosphere and the exhilaration of a live event in real time. Inviting and encouraging fans to share their experiences on social media will be another big focus for 2016. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube have all become essential channels for driving engagement and awareness with fans and this looks set to continue as clubs continue to launch new campaigns and initiatives driven by social media.

5.       The connected fan journey

In 2016, clubs will increasingly unlock the value of fan data to engage better with fans throughout their journey with clubs – from the first point of ticket purchase, during the match day experience right up to encouraging them to attend the next event. The connected fan journey will become increasing personal, targeted and relevant – as well as responsible – ensuring clubs can realise the positive impact that this changing digital environment can deliver.

The digital era presents a whole host of opportunities for sports clubs from fan engagement and increasing loyalty through to delivering enhanced commercial value to sponsors and increased revenue. We strongly believe that 2016 will be the year these are realised and venues of all sizes recognise these benefits.

If you’re interested in reading more about the digital era and how this vision can be realised, we will be publishing a white paper - ‘The Connected Fan’ – a vision for delivering the ultimate fan engagement experience in the digital era, in the new year.

In the meantime, do you agree with these predictions and do you see the digital era transforming your club in 2016? Let us know!

Mark Dewell, Managing Director

Advanced Business Solutions (Ticketing)

For all news and stories see our Advanced Ticketing news site or follow us on Twitter: @Adv_Ticketing

Posted by: Aaron Gourley

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