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Accelerate Through Digital Fan Engagement

An Industry Digital Strategy Opportunity Report

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  • Develop a digital fan engagement strategy that impacts pre-, during-, and post-game to meet evolving fan needs and provides insight on how to compete in a digital economy with other entertainment options.
  • Understand the different types of fan engagement behaviors and how to create monetization through them.
  • Your management lacks a framework to rethink how your organization delivers fan engagement today, which causes annual planning to become an ideation session that lacks strategic/holistic focus.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

Sports entertainment organizations need to be strategically holistic and emotionally deeper with fans in order to engage them through personalized experiences.

Impact and Result

  • The decisions needed to create a digital fan engagement strategy can be accelerated to reduce the amount of time and effort it may take for your organization to create a digital fan engagement strategy from scratch.
  • Implementing a digital fan engagement strategy can positively impact sports organizations in many ways, such as:
  • Generating new revenue streams or increasing existing revenue streams.
  • Enhancing fan entertainment, engagement, and growth through a high-value fan journey.
  • Ability to remain competitive within the industry as new enablers and disruptors enter the market.
  • Satisfy the needs and expectations of fans today by developing emotional, personalized, and valuable relationships that are beyond transactional.
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Accelerate Through Digital Fan Engagement Research & Tools

1. Accelerate Through Digital Fan Engagement – A digital strategy opportunity report that walks the member through a value-driven approach to digital fan engagement

This industry digital strategy opportunity report helps the member become aware of what aspects of the business to transform, what technologies to embrace, what processes to automate, and what new business models to create. This approach to digital fan engagement transformation unifies digital possibilities with fan experiences.

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Accelerate Through Digital Fan Engagement

An Industry Digital Strategy Opportunity Report

Table of Contents

3 Executive Brief

4 Analyst Perspective

5 Executive Summary

31 Phase 1: Transformative Value Chains

60 Phase 2: Digitally Enabled Growth Opportunities

91 Phase 3: Transformed Fan Journeys

120 Phase 4: Digital Transformation Map

129 Report Summary

130 Additional Support

133 Bibliography


Accelerate Through Digital Fan Engagement

An Industry Digital Strategy Opportunity Report

EXECUTIVE BRIEF

Analyst Perspective

Win the fan engagement game with a digital strategy

Photo of Elizabeth Silva, Research Specialist, InfoSEAT (Sports Entertainment), Info-Tech Research GroupPhoto of Dana Daher, Senior Research Analyst, CIO Practice, Info-Tech Research Group

Like many industries, COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital tools and technologies to accommodate a heightened reliance on online and digital interactions. A profound shift in consumer behavior has led to long-lasting expectations for digital experiences.

For the sports industry, digital technology has the potential to unlock unparalleled opportunities for growth, offering fans the ability to engage with teams in new or enhanced ways. As sports organizations brace for an evolving digital landscape, organizations have an opportunity to deliver digital experiences for fans before, during, and after a game. By leveraging technology to enhance the emotional paths of fans during each stage of a game, organizations can promote new or enhanced, long-lasting fan experiences. (St. John's University, 2020).

To thrive in this changing digital landscape, developing a digital fan engagement strategy will empower deep-rooted loyalty from your fans to your organization without exclusive reliance on winning and team performance (BIROn, 2013).

Elizabeth Silva
Research Specialist, Sports Entertainment
Info-Tech Research Group
Dana Daher
Senior Research Analyst, CIO Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

  • Develop a digital fan engagement strategy that impacts pre, during, and post game to meet evolving fan needs and how to compete in a digital economy with other entertainment options.
  • Understand the different types of fan engagement behaviors and how to create monetization through them.
  • Your management lacks a framework to rethink how your organization delivers fan engagement today, which causes annual planning to become an ideation session that lacks strategic/holistic focus.

Common Obstacles

  • Your IT team lacks the understanding of the fan engagement context to identify opportunities for digital transformation and enablement.
  • Your organization might approach digital transformation as if we were still in 2019, not recognizing that the pandemic resulted in a major shift to an end-to-end digital economy and exposure to competing sports entertainment options.
  • Developing and following a cohesive, consistent, and forward-looking roadmap to implement and go forward with the chosen strategy will be a challenge.

Info-Tech’s Approach

  • Identify and leverage the following research for the organization to enhance the business model, streamline and transform processes, and make use of technologies to enhance experiences with fans increasing engagement and loyalty.
  • Use digital for transforming non-routine cognitive activities and for de-risking key elements of the value chain.
  • Create initiative profiles and balanced roadmaps for digitally transforming fan engagement and preparing for long-term success in a digital economy.

Info-Tech Insight

Sports entertainment organizations need to be strategically holistic and emotionally deeper with fans in order to engage them through personalized experiences.

What is Fan Engagement?

“Fan engagement is when a fan actively performs an intended behavior and moves with purpose among related activities.” (Sports Innovation Lab, 2020).

Engagement is not just behavior, it is a combination of behaviors, emotions, and learning processes as they are experienced, where different fan personas can be identified (leAD Sports, 2021).

Fan Engagement Behaviors

There are four types of fan engagement behaviors within sport: impression management, community support, sport-related behaviors, and relationship building behaviors

Impression-management behaviors
  • Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing)
  • Cutting off reflected failure (CORFing)
Circle with icons for each surrounding behavior category on the map. In the middle are values for the top and bottom halves of the map: on top 'Non-Transactional (intangible consumption/actions/behaviors)', and on bottom 'Transactional (tangible consumption/actions/behaviors)'. Community support behaviors
  • Management cooperation (helping team management)
  • Prosocial behavior (helping other fans)
  • Self policing (helping yourself)
  • Performance tolerance (helping a sport team)
In-role
(shaped by self interest such as attending a game, watching, etc. when following a sport team)
Extra-role
(behaviors that are directed toward a sport team on the basis of a consumer’s moral obligation as a fan)
Sport-related behaviors
  • Attending sporting events
  • Watching games on TV and other channels
  • Purchasing team products
  • Reading sport magazines
Relationship-building behaviors:
  • Loyalty program participation
  • Season ticket purchase
  • Booster membership
(Source: Lund University, 2021 & Journal of Sport Management, 2014)

How do Fan Experience and Fan Engagement Work Together?

  • Fans are those who interact with sports to activate the potential experiences and create engagement.
  • Fan experience within sport is part of the experience economy where services or goods can enhance consumers’ lives. Engagement with sports brands, as part of the experience economy, is multi-dimensional in nature (Karg, 2021).
  • Experience leads to engagement. If the organization has multiple dynamic experiences, it will have higher engagement, which will result in repeat business. The engagement stays but experiences will change over time.

“For most sports, over 60% of their revenues are generated from their most highly engaged fans.” (Harvey, 2020)

Experiences — Ex. fantasy sports, sports betting, interactive digital signage.

Behaviors, Emotions, and Learning — Sport related & relationship building behaviors, excitement, increased knowledge about team.

Repeat, Loyal & Engaged Fans — Results of repeat, loyal, and engaged fans.

Focus on the Pre-, During-, and Post-Game Experience

  • The sports industry is no longer just competing with other content producers within the sports space. It is now in a battle with other forms of entertainment to fight for the fan's attention where live games and televised sports is not enough.
  • Gensler’s 2013 US Brand Engagement Survey revealed that most fans prefer online engagement with their favorite team rather than in-person engagement (likely related to our survey respondents saying lower ticket prices would make them bigger fans).
  • A 2016 study created by a sports business strategist defines four key areas where sports organizations should be looking to engage with their fans both inside and outside the venue during matchdays and non-matchdays:
    • Host fans at your stadium on non-matchdays.
    • Connect fans not at the stadium on non-matchdays.
    • Enhance the live experience for spectators on matchdays.
    • Bring fans closer to the live action when they are not at the stadium. (Accedo, n.d.)
  • More recently, an NFL-focused survey reinforced the importance of engaging with fans outside the stadium walls. Respondents identified increased community involvement as one of the factors that would make them more of a fan.

“Being part of a community where a sense of belonging is present is crucial to the experience and engaging fans.” (Allan Hamilton, Founder of Fanoramas, 2021.)

Cycle of fan engagement begins with '1.Before the Event: Let the fans plan ahead', '2. Inside the Venue: Make fans feel like VIPs', '3. During the Event: Anticipate a shift in standard expectations', '4. After the Event: Provide at-home excitement', '5. Beyond the Venue: Extend your reach'.

1. Before the Event: Let the fans plan ahead

2. Inside the Venue: Make fans feel like VIPs

3. During the Event: Anticipate a shift in standard expectations

4. After the Event: Provide at-home excitement

5. Beyond the Venue: Extend your reach

Discover High-Value Fan Experiences

Reflect on What the Sports Organization Already Has

Despite the damage of COVID-19 pandemic, the sports technology market does not show a slow-down in the long term as the compound annual growth rate is 16.8% from 2021 to 2028. But, COVID-19 has changed what organizations are focusing on. Now they are reflecting on what they already have and focusing on how to make more of that rather than growing the audience. (Source: Stats Perform, The Fan Engagement Report, 2021)

Chart entitled 'What Sports Organizations are Focusing on in Fan Engagement' with the years '2000' and '2021' represented by color-coded polygons that stretch toward the surrounding strategies. Strategies are numbered '1 Monetizing Content', '2 Connecting Experiences Across Platforms', '3 Reaching Fans', '4 Keeping Fans on Platform', '5 Reducing Audience Churn (Increase Retention)', '6 Other'.

The Process of Fan Engagement

With engagement, the notion of fan satisfaction is transformed into an elaborate process model of loyalty. The path passes through satisfaction, commitment, delight, trust, involvement, and emotional attachment from a fan to a specific sports brand.

1. Having no captured data on a fan means they are a new fan even if they have been to the venue before. 1. New fans 2. Repeat fans ‹— 4. Fan recovery 4. If fans are not satisfied with their experience(s), the organization should go through their fan incident management process to re-engage the fans to reduce further loss.
2. Captured data on a fan indicates that they are a repeat fan. 3. Fans satisfaction with the experience(s) 4. Fan incident management
3. Satisfaction is based on the entire consumption of experiences with the sport organization where commitment will be decided on positive satisfaction with repeat fans. 3. Fans decide on commitment to team —› 4. Negative response
5. Fan delight, trust, and involvement are defined by positive results of the satisfaction, commitment, and engagement of the fan. 5. Fan delight, trust & involvement
6. The emotional attachment is the affection fans develop toward the sports team resulting in repeat, loyal, and engaged fans. 6. Emotional attachment
6. Repeat, loyal & engaged fans

(Source: University of Minho, 2021 & NRPA, 2014)

Info-Tech Insight

If the organization already has the capabilities and data in place to do so, pre-determining who the fans are, and their interests may prevent negative responses from occurring during the fan engagement process.

Why Transform the Business?

Covid-19 has irrefutably changed livelihoods, businesses, and the economy. During the pandemic, digital tools have acted as a lifeline helping businesses and economies survive and, in the process, have acted as a catalyst for digital transformation.

As organizations continue to safeguard business continuity and financial recovery, in the long term, recovery won’t be enough.

Although many pandemic/recession recovery periods have occurred before, this next recovery period will present two first-time challenges that no one has faced before. We must find ways to:

  • Recover from the COVID-19 recession
  • Compete in a digital economy

The digital economy accounted for 9.6% ($2.05 T) of US GDP (21.4 T) (Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2021)

“To grow and thrive in this post-pandemic world, organizations must provide meaningful and lasting changes to brace for a future defined by digital technologies.” (Dana Daher, Info-Tech Research Group)

Download Info-Tech’s Digital Economy Report

Digital Is Penetrating All Sectors, Especially Sports Entertainment

US consumers are accelerating adoption of digital channels — a trend seen across global regions.

Digital adoption, by industry, % of digital access

Stacked bar chart of digital adoption by industry with numbers of both 'Regular Users' and 'First-time Users'. The 'Entertainment' bar is highlighted with 40% of regular users and 24% of first-time users. (Source: McKinsey & Company, 2020)

The sports entertainment industry is no stranger to digital adoption as 64% of fans are using digital channels.

The Digital Economy

Digital economy refers to a concept in which all economic activity is facilitated or managed through digital technologies, data, infrastructure, services, and products (OECD, 2020).

The digital economy captures decades of digital trends including the:

  • Declining enterprise computing costs
  • Improvements in computing power and performance, unprecedent analytic capabilities
  • Rapid growth in network speeds, affordability, and geographic reach
  • High adoption rates of PCs, mobile, and other computing devices

These trends, among others, have set the stage to permanently alter how buying and selling will take place within and between local, regional, national, and international economies.

The emerging digital economy concept is so compelling that the world economists, financial experts, and others are currently investigating how they must substantially re-write the rules governing how taxes, trade, tangible and intangible assets and countless other financial issues will be assessed and valued in a Digital Economy.

Signals of Change

  • 89.3% Of industry leaders believe that enhanced digital media fan experience is a top opportunity to increase revenues. (PwC’s Sports Survey, 2020)
  • 82.9% Of industry leaders believe that creation and monetization of digital assets is a top opportunity to increase revenues. (PwC’s Sports Survey, 2020)
  • 61% Of organizations have refocused their efforts when it comes to fan engagement. (Stats Perform, The Fan Engagement Report, 2021)
  • 72% Of organizations expect to invest in new technologies that deliver new experiences this year. (Stats Perform, The Fan Engagement Report, 2021.)

Info-Tech Insight

The entire sports ecosystem is undoubtedly undergoing a period of change where how sports organizations will make their lost money and return to a stable financial position is in the hands of a digital economy.

The Need for Digital in Sports Entertainment

  • Not digitally transforming to follow this trend will hinder the organization’s success with both repeat and new fans as competing entertainment options adapt.
  • 75% of people using digital channels for the first time have indicated that they will continue to use them post COVID-19. Organizations must be prepared to have their digital channels on par with or better than other entertainment sources.
  • (Source: McKinsey & Company, 2020)

“The global sports industry is worth between US $400-$500 billion dollars a year, and in the five years leading up to the pandemic had been growing at an annual rate of 14%.” (Harvest Portfolios Group, 2021)

The Sports Timeline

We are amid the third Industrial Revolution where the emergence of technologies like AI, VR, IoT, are increasingly blurring the boundaries between physical and digital worlds, transforming the way in which we attract, entertain, and engage fans.

Technological evolution
Mass media interests millions of people in attending, consuming, and participating in sports for the first time Live Sporting Events Radio/TV Broadcasting VR, AR, MR AI 5G Digital Ecosystem Smart venues The Digital Economy for the Sports Entertainment Industry
The First Age
(3,000 years ago)
—The Second Age— ———The Third Age———›
(Present)
Sports were only used for recreational and community involvement purposes Culture develops a passion for sports globally Companies start to charge money for access to sports-related products Popularity of amateur and professional sports grows Digital disruption restructures how sports are enjoyed Sports are consumed, discovered, and monetized through different technologies Sports are packaged, distributed, and consumed differently
Socio-economic changes

The Generational Shift in Sports Fandom

  • Studies show that there has been a generational decline in sports engagement due to the lack of motivation.
  • Almost 50% of Generation Z (Age 13-23) say they don’t even consider themselves sports fans – Morning Consult, n.d. (Ghosh, 2021).
  • This is because sports are not used to competing with other forms of entertainment such as streaming, video games, esports, etc. The Maru Group, a leading analytical firm, reports in their Sports’ New TV Formula that the era of the sports fan is changing, with long-term issues for televised sports games (Ghosh, 2021).

Stacked bar chart entitled 'Gen Zers Less Likely to Identify as Sports Fans Compared to Public' with designations 'Avid Fan', 'Casual Fan', and 'Not a Fan' split into demographics 'Gen Z', 'All Adults 18+', 'Gen Z Women', 'All Women 18+', 'Gen Z Men', and 'All Men 18+'.(Source: Ghosh, 2021)

It is important to note that Gen Z as a whole is less likely to be an avid fan.

Gen Z females are 20% less likely to be fans than males.

The Significance of a Digital Fan Engagement Strategy

A digital fan engagement strategy is a way to unify digital possibilities with the fan experience to trigger fan engagement through cross-functional participation from senior management across different areas of the organization. It is a way of embracing technology in a way that challenges existing operational and value assumptions. It serves as an essential mechanism to determine the direction of a business in a digital-first world.

“Fan experience and operations synced together equal better efficiency for creating engagement.” (Zack Klima, Waitime, CEO, 2021.)

A digital fan engagement strategy serves four primary functions:

  1. Continuous innovation: develop new products, services or new business models
  2. New customer frontiers: unify digital possibilities with fan experiences
  3. Resilient operations: automate and digitize ineffective tasks, processes, and procedures
  4. Workforce of the future: recode organizational DNA to thrive in a digital first world

A digital fan engagement strategy is an essential means to support entry into a digital economy.

Info-Tech Insight

Digital is so much more than fan-facing touchpoints. It is about delivering seamless digital experiences that are personalized and relevant to fans, where sports organizations that are digitally mature have transformed their business to do so.

A Digital Fan Engagement Strategy Starts by Transforming How Value Is Delivered Today

Since digital transformation is an effort to transform how value is delivered today, it is important to understand the different value-generating activities that deliver an outcome for and from the fans.

We do this by looking at value streams, which refer to the specific sets of activities an industry player undertakes to create and capture value for and from the end consumer (fan). So, the question to ask is, how does the organization make money?

This approach helps digitally transform those value streams that generate the most value for an organization.

Sports Entertainment Value Stream process begins with 'Scouting & Recruitment', then 'Player Development', 'Team/Venue Operations', and eventually 'Engage Fan'.

Visit Sports Entertainment Reference Architecture

Overarching Business Risks

A digital fan engagement strategy can create high engagement levels with fans, while increasing revenues, but there are still risks and barriers to implementation that an organization must be aware of:

Prioritization:

  • The sports organization must critically think and be selective in what projects to undertake, as COVID-19 has affected the overall business and IT budgets.
  • Gaining the expected return on investment (ROI) from a digital strategy in the sports organization.

The difficulty is investing in research and development as it is a key factor that influences an organizations transformative potential. Moreover, the organization must invest in the right processes that will create increasing value overtime.

Persuasion:

  • The sports organization must work together with other departments (e.g. marketing) of their organization to get a digital strategy started where buy in and/or agreement may be difficult.
  • Executives are reluctant to invest in digital technology and procedures due to unprecedented times.

In the end, the pain is justifying the strategy to gain support. As a CIO, operate IT as a business enabler by building business acumen and using terminology your key stakeholders will understand, which in turn will help you gain trust for future transformation.

“The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the world’s sporting organizations describes losses of $13 US billion dollars in the US sporting leagues, $28.6 US billion dollars in wages and earnings, and nearly 1.5 million jobs lost in the US alone, while revenue losses exceeded 1 billion euros among some of Europe’s biggest football clubs (Drape et al., 2020).” (Taylor and Francis Online, 2021)

Professional sports teams and their competitive leagues drained their cash in the absence of revenues tied to fans due to COVID-19 restrictions where most teams were impacted by billions of dollars. (Taylor and Francis Online, 2021)

Overarching IT Risks

Network, Data Quality, Analytical Capability, IT Innovation, Leadership & Security

Trends and digital adoption are changing how venues must develop or renovate their current IT infrastructures to make way for technology improvement and expectations from fans. Ensure diligence during the integration process.

The implementation of a digital fan engagement strategy will increase the importance of network, data quality, analytical capability, innovation leadership, and security to the business and, depending on IT’s maturity, could positively or negatively affect business stakeholder and fan satisfaction.

Measure and assess the IT risks first before implementing a digital fan engagement strategy. Consider analyzing the organizations network infrastructure, data quality, analytical capabilities, and any other functions that will affect the success of the strategy.

Network analytics show that in 2018, the average number of in-stadium Wi-Fi users at a regular season NFL game is just over
30,000 per game.
Modern stadium design needs to be geared toward keeping users connected. (Source: Paessler, 2021.)

Table ranking IT services by importance and satisfaction percentages. Highlighted are 'Network & Comm. Infrastructure, Rank 1, 77%', 'Data Quality, Rank 5, 73%', 'Analytical Capability, Rank 10, 69%', 'IT Innovation Leadership, Rank 8, 74%', and 'IT Security, Rank 3, 84%'.(Source: Info-Tech’s Sports Entertainment IT Stakeholder Satisfaction Benchmarking Report illustrates the importance and satisfaction metrics for core IT processes.)

Overarching IT Risks Continued

IT Maturity and Architectural Integrity

The viability for a digital fan engagement strategy is highly dependent on the maturity of the IT department and architectural integrity of the venue.

IT maturity must be measured to benchmark your organization’s technological abilities. It is a critical means to understand potential uncertainties and areas of improvement.

Architectural integrity is especially important to assess when dealing with an existing building that must be retrofitted to support the digital fan engagement strategy goals. For example, if a venue wants to implement facial recognition for venue access to VIP fans without changing the network connection, there is a chance of running into latency issues that may result in negative fan experiences and subsequently a low return on investment.

Consider the Sports Entertainment IT Management & Governance Benchmarking Framework, which demonstrates the struggles of the industry that may have a deep impact on the quality, outcome, and viability of a digital fan engagement strategy, specifically highlighting:

  • Enterprise architecture: define the structure and operation of an organization to determine how it can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives.
  • Innovation: generating ideas and solutions that positively impact the business.
  • Data architecture: the structure and interaction of the enterprise’s major types and sources of data resources. Data architecture provides organizations with alignment, planning, road-mapping, design, and change management – functions that guide their information management program.
Management & Governance Framework with processes laid out similar to a periodic table. The processes are ranked by color-coding 'Improve', 'Evaluate', 'Maintain', and Leverage'.
Source: Info-Tech’s Sports Entertainment IT Management & Governance Benchmarking Report illustrates the importance and effectiveness metrics for core IT processes.

Maturing IT Can Shift the Organization From Incremental Improvement to Business Transformation

  • According to the Sport Entertainment 2021 Benchmarking Report, IT innovation leadership, IT policies, client-facing technology, data quality, and analytical capabilities are considered underrated services with low importance and satisfaction metrics.
  • Furthermore, the overall IT satisfaction is 79% and value is 77% within the industry, just touching the edge of the next level on the maturity ladder.
  • By creating a digital fan engagement strategy and placing more attention on strategy and governance, service planning and architecture, and data and BI, the sports organization can demonstrate the value of IT and the satisfaction that can be provided.
  • In the end, the IT department can establish credibility with business stakeholders and expand as a transformational or evolutionary innovator.
  • (Source: Info-Tech’s Sports Entertainment IT Stakeholder Satisfaction Benchmarking Report illustrates the importance and satisfaction metrics for core IT processes.)
The IT maturity ladder diagram with the different levels distinguished by levels of satisfaction. The lowest level is 'Unstable, <60%', then 'Firefighter, 60%', 'Trusted Operator, 70%', 'Business Partner, 80%', and 'Innovator, 90%'. Notes beside the diagram specify that the Innovator and Business Partner levels are aspirational, but Trusted Operator is the actual level of Sports Entertainment.


Innovator – Aspirational

Business Partner – Aspirational

Trusted Operator – Sports Entertainment Actual

Leverage Info-Tech Resources
Determine business stakeholder satisfaction
CIO Business Vision Diagnostic
IT Management & Governance Diagnostic

Insight summary

Overarching insight

Sports entertainment organizations need to be strategically holistic and emotionally deeper with fans in order to engage them through personalized experiences.

Phase 1 insight

A digital fan engagement strategy cannot be formed without a clear vision of the entertainment industry and its evolution.

Phase 2 insight

Systematically scanning the environment will identify avenues or opportunities to skip one or several stages of technological development and stay ahead of disruption.

Phase 3 insight

Capture the end-to-end experience of a fan to identify opportunities to digitize parts of the journey and create initiatives to tackle in the strategy.

Phase 4 insight

Initiative profiles and a roadmap that balances growth opportunities with business resilience will transform the organization for long-term success in the digital economy for sports, taking an IT strategy into consideration.

Digital Fan Engagement Strategy Benefits

As sports entertainment organizations digitally transform, they must remember that the business is about the fan. A digital fan engagement strategy begins with organizational needs but ends with the creation and enhancement of a high-value fan experience through digitally transforming.

Fan Benefits

  • The business will be able to meet and exceed expectations of various fan segments through digitally transforming.
  • Create the high-value, long-term fan journeys that fans are expecting.
  • Create enhanced fan engagement pre-, during-, and post-game resulting in long-term, loyal, and retained fans.

Business Benefits

  • Increased revenue and new revenue streams through high-value fan experiences and engagement.
  • Brand differentiation as the business can generate and leverage the data collected to personalize the fan experience, engagement, and delivery of services.
  • Improved reputation as the business will be known as a digitally transformed organization that treats its fans not just as customers but as individual people.

IT Benefits

  • The business will likely have to invest in new or updated software and hardware for a successful and low-latency digital fan engagement strategy.
  • This strategy ensures that IT is seen as a valuable partner in the success of the business.
  • The purpose of this report is help accelerate sports organizations in a digital fan engagement strategy on an industry-specific level.
  • The business will invest in technology that enables in a holistic fan experience that results in high-value fan engagement.

Measure the Value of This Strategy

What is the value members will get from a digital fan engagement strategy?

Implementing a digital fan engagement strategy can positively impact sports organizations in many ways, such as:

  • Generating new revenue streams or increasing existing revenue streams.
  • Enhancing fan entertainment, engagement, and growth through a high value fan journey.
  • Remaining competitive within the industry as new enablers and disruptors enter the market.
  • Satisfying the needs and expectations of fans today by developing emotional, personalized, and valuable relationships that are beyond transactional.

“In 2020, any competition that is not mature in its digital strategy is losing maybe half of its potential audience — a percentage that will only increase with the arrival of new generations that use digital as their go-to for both personal interactions and entertainment.” (Sportcal, 2020.)

Metrics

A Digital Fan Engagement Strategy can:

  • Create new and/or increased revenue streams
  • Improve emotional relationship with fans resulting in enhanced fan avidity
  • Increase fan engagement rates
  • Increase globalization of the organization and fan base

Consider these metrics before implementing a digital fan engagement strategy and decide if they resonate with the organization's goals.

Outcomes Metrics Impacts Measures
Increase the fans’ avidity by understanding where it currently is and increase it. Fan avidity The organization will build upon its fan base and engagement through the selected strategies to better understand its fans and continue to build loyalty. Measure the intensity of fan engagement, loyalty, and passion for a specific sport, sports organization, and/or athlete compared to previous year through collected data.
Awareness around the success of the social media fan engagement strategies to constantly maintain and build upon them. Fan engagement rate The organization will be assessing their social media fan engagement strategies through the formula to identify success rate. (likes + comments + share/total followers) x100 = fan engagement rate
Increase in current assets and generating an ROI on new and current implementations made. Profitability Increase profits every year by utilizing assets more efficiently and implementing new strategies. Revenues generated from specific assets and initiatives compared to previous year.
Increase globalization of the organization and base. Geographic distribution of fans The organization will build on its international influence every year and determine who exactly is being reached to better understand the consumers. Increase in global audience through various content channels compared to previous years.

Industry- vs. Organization-Specific Analysis

Leverage this report to determine the degree of impact this research will have on a specific organization. Strategic action requires evaluation on what specific technological opportunities can lead to growth for an organization. To customize to a specific organization, we need to further evaluate the opportunities by a set of criteria:

Industry Specific

Impact
The degree of impact the opportunities will have on the industry. An opportunity with high impact will drive new business models, products, and/or services.

Further analyze this depends on:

  • The mutual exclusivity of each opportunity. Does it fall in multiple trend buckets that further the benefits of the industry, making it more available, applicable, and impactful for the venue than originally intended?
  • The specific technology that’s being analyzed. Analysis was done for the opportunities as wholes, but the analysis could vary depending on the specific goals and initiatives that are being considered.

Organization Specific

Relevance
The relevance of the opportunities to the organization. Do they fulfill the vision, mission, goals, etc. of the organization?

The relevance of the opportunity to the organization:

  • Technology’s impact on sports entertainment. What are the fans’ needs and expectations?
  • Conflicts with other implemented technologies. Does this technology provide redundant applications and features, and could the business do without it?
  • Projects and requirements gathering. Will this technology satisfy the needs of the business’ stakeholders?
Timing
What is the estimated time to disruption this opportunity will have on the industry?

The estimated time to disruption this opportunity will have to the organization:

  • Assess whether the opportunity will require significant developments to support its entry into the ecosystem.
  • Assess your venue’s budget to implement the opportunity.

How to use this report

Utilize this map to determine where to use the material.

Visit Info-Tech’s Define Your Digital Business Strategy blueprint for full activity details

This report is intended to act as both a standalone report on the opportunities within sports teams to digitally enable and transform fan engagement while also serving as research-based accelerated input to the Define Your Digital Business Strategy blueprint and associated activities. It uses research-based data for “Sport Team X” to demonstrate digital fan engagement opportunities for use in a digital strategy. Realize all teams are unique and you may feel that some sample information may not be relevant to or represent your organization well due to the different type of sport you are engaged in, geographic area your located in, etc. We recommend that you adjust and customize the template as needed to be organization specific and to create the most valuable digital fan engagement strategy for your organization.

Phase 1
Identify top value chains to be transformed
Phase 2
Identify a digitally enabled growth opportunity
Phase 3
Transform stakeholder journeys
Phase 4
Build a digital transformation roadmap

1.1 Understand the business context

1.2 Understand your business ecosystem

1.3 Value chain analysis

2.1 Scanning the Horizon

2.2 Leapfrog ideation

2.3 Value chain impact

3.1 Identify stakeholder persona and journey scenario

3.2 Stakeholder journey mapping

3.3 Prioritization of opportunities

3.4 Define digital goals

3.5 Breakdown opportunities into initiatives

4.1 Create initiative profiles

4.2 Build your roadmap

4.3 Create a refresh strategy

Digital Strategy Activities

Act. X.X — When you see these symbols in this document, they represent the research based on digital fan engagement opportunities for use in the corresponding (X.X) digital strategy blueprint activity.

AN INDUSTRY DIGITAL STRATEGY OPPORTUNITY REPORT PHASE 1

Transformative Value Chains

  • The business context
  • The business ecosystem
  • Value chains for transformation

Importance of Business Context to Digital Transformation

Understanding the business context is a must for all strategic initiatives. At its core, each strategic IT project requires clear alignment to business needs.

  • As a strategic driver, IT needs to work with the business, yet traditionally it has not. IT does not know what information it needs from the business to execute on its initiatives.
  • A faster time to new investment decisions means that IT needs an efficient process to understand what the business needs.
  • CIOs and IT leaders must execute strategic initiatives to create an IT function that can support the business and all strategic IT initiatives. Most CIOs fail because of low business support.

Impacts & Results

  1. Uncover what IT knows and needs to know about the business context. This is a necessary first step to begin any strategic IT initiative.
  2. Conduct efficient and repeatable business context discovery activities to uncover business context gaps.
  3. Document the business context the organization has uncovered and streamline the process for executing on any strategic IT initiative, especially a digital fan engagement strategy.
  4. IT functions that have repeatedly tried to understand the business and improve, increase their overall satisfaction and value where they are considered a business partner to the organization.

Sports Entertainment Stakeholder Satisfaction Benchmark Results

  • Overall Satisfaction — 79%
  • Overall Value — 77%
  • Satisfaction with IT’s Understanding of Needs — 81%
  • Satisfaction with IT’s Execution with Requests — 78%
  • Satisfaction with IT’s Communications — 78%

By understanding the business context, the business will be able to improve IT’s overall satisfaction and value, and move the organization from a trusted operator to a business partner.

Source: Info-Tech’s Sports Entertainment IT Stakeholder Satisfaction Benchmarking Report illustrates the importance and satisfaction metrics for core IT processes.

The Business Context

A prerequisite to all strategic planning should be eliciting the business context from the business stakeholders. Review the business context documents, which includes business strategy documents, interview notes from executive stakeholders, and other sources for uncovering the business strategy.

Inputs Document(s)/Method Outputs
Key Stakeholders Strategy document
  • Stakeholders that are actively involved in, affected by, or influence outcome of the organization. E.g. employers, customers, vendors.
Vision & mission of the organization Website
Strategy document
  • What the organization wants to achieve and how it strives to accomplish those goals.
Business Drivers CEO interview
  • Inputs and activities that drive the operational and financial results of the organization.
Key targets CEO interview
  • Quantitative benchmarks to support strategic goals. E.g. doubling the enterprise EBITDA or improving top-of-mind brand awareness by 15%.
Strategic investment goals CFO Interview
Digital strategy
  • Financial investments corresponding with strategic objectives of the organization. E.g. Geographic expansion, digital investments.
Top three value-generating lines of business Financial document
  • Identification of your top three value-generating products and services or lines of business.
Goals of the organization over the next 12 months Strategy document
Corporate retreat notes
  • Strategic goals to support the vision. =E.g. hire 100 new sales reps, improve product management & marketing.
Top business initiatives over the next 12 months Strategy document
CEO interview
  • Internal campaigns to support strategic goals. E.g. invest in sales team development, expand the product innovation team.
Business model Strategy document
  • Products or services that the organization plans to sell. E.g. the identified market and customer segments, price points, channels, and anticipated expenses.
Competitive landscape Internal research analysis
  • Who your typical or atypical competitors are.

For Guidance visit the Business Context Interview Guide

Business Context: Stakeholders, Mission & Vision — Act. 1.1

Key Stakeholders

  • Fans
  • CEO
  • CIO/IT Director
  • CSO
  • COO
  • CFO/CRO
  • Director of Fan Engagement
  • Head of Communications, Content and Digital
  • Director of Marketing

Vision

“To bring fans and communities from all walks of life together to celebrate a game that is constantly evolving, balancing the authenticity of tradition with the power of innovation.” (NFL, 2019).

Mission

“We unite people and inspire communities in the joy of the game by delivering the world’s most exciting sports and entertainment experience.” (NFL, 2019).

Digital Fan Engagement Strategy Vision

To provide world-class fan experiences by engaging fans with the technology and experiences to deliver in a digital era.

Business Context: Drivers and Targets — Act. 1.1

Value Drivers

  • Business Growth
  • Operational Excellence
  • Business Capabilities
  • Brand Impact
  • Fan Value
  • Risk & Resilience

Key Targets

Stock image of a target with four arrows sticking out.

Increase the global audience by 10% by year end

Increase fan engagement rate by 25% by year end

Increase fan avidity by 25% by year end

Increase profits by 20% by year end

(Source: Fsbizsite, 2017, MBASkool, MLB Major League Baseball SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020, MBASkool, Major League Soccer SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020 & EMBA Pro, 2018.)

Business Context: Strategic Investment Goals — Act. 1.1

Strategic Investment Goals
Stack of coins. Stack of coins. Stack of coins. Stack of coins.
Develop key digital fan engagement activities and make them unique to our club and fans Increase fan service, entertainment, and engagement through increased content on digital channels Generate revenues through utilizing and sharing collected data Invest in technologies that will improve the relationship with fans
(Source: Fsbizsite, 2017, MBASkool, MLB Major League Baseball SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020, MBASkool, Major League Soccer SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020 & EMBA Pro, 2018.)

Business Context: Organizational Goals — Act. 1.1

First base. Third base.
Second base. Fourth base.
Attract & Retain Fans
Increase fan attraction and retention to lead to loyalty
Create meaningful relationships with fans that are personalized and not just transactional
Increase fan satisfaction, meet expectations, retention, and fan engagement rates
Improve Globalization
Rise in global fans and reach
Build a sustainable future of sports
Reduce carbon emissions and energy consumptions and promote sustainable behaviors
(Source: Fsbizsite, 2017, MBASkool, MLB Major League Baseball SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020, MBASkool, Major League Soccer SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020 & EMBA Pro, 2018.)

Business Context: Value Generation & Initiatives — Act. 1.1

Top Value-Generating Lines of Business

  1. Sponsorships and endorsements
  2. TV broadcasting rights
  3. Merchandise

Top Business Initiatives

  1. Generate indirect and direct revenues through monetization of data and analytics
  2. Invest in technologies to improve fan entertainment and engagement
  3. Invest in fan engagement roles/customer services/technologies
(Source: Fsbizsite, 2017, MBASkool, MLB Major League Baseball SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020, MBASkool, Major League Soccer SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020 & EMBA Pro, 2018.)

Business Context: Strengths & Weaknesses — Act. 1.1

Strengths

  1. Part of one of the major professional sports leagues in North America
  2. Excellent broadcasting in North America
  3. Excellent merchandising and marketing
  4. Financially healthy team/club
  5. Strong brand awareness

Weaknesses

  1. High operating costs to maintain facility and staff
  2. Long seasons that make engagement hard to maintain
  3. Not the most followed sport in North America, losing to other sports and entertainment
  4. No association with any broadcasters in other parts of the world such as Asia where the sports market is growing
(Source: Fsbizsite, 2017, MBASkool, MLB Major League Baseball SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020, MBASkool, Major League Soccer SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020 & EMBA Pro, 2018.)

Business Context: Areas of Improvement or Opportunity — Act. 1.1

Areas of Improvement or Opportunity

  • Innovations to keep the interest of fans going and connect with younger fans.
  • Provide a safe and secure venue that fans feel safe visiting post pandemic.
  • Changing technology landscape to use AI, machine learning to improve efficiencies, lowering costs, and transforming processes.
  • Social media-oriented business model to reduce the cost of entering new markets while growing an online presence.
(Source: Fsbizsite, 2017, MBASkool, MLB Major League Baseball SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020, MBASkool, Major League Soccer SWOT Analysis, Competitors & USP, 2020 & EMBA Pro, 2018.)

A Goals Cascade Will Strengthen IT’s Alignment With the Business Goals

The cascade reveals business goals, streamlines the definition of IT priorities and processes necessary to achieve business goals, and identifies pain points that impede IT effectiveness. Keep in mind that goals and their respective importance will change over time.

Align business goals to capabilities by identifying the value streams they relate to.

Value streams connect business goals to the organization’s value realization activities in the marketplace. Those activities are dependent on the specific industry segment in which an organization operates.

Flow chart outlining the path from goals to capabilities for both Business and IT. For each, 'Goals' are achieved through 'Initiatives' which create or improve 'Capabilities', and Business and IT capabilities support each other.

Business Context: Goals Cascade

Sports team X elicited business context to identify organizational goals and initiatives to customize its capability map.

Organization Goals ————›
Achieved Through
Organization Initiatives ————›
Create or Improve
Organization Capabilities
Attract & retain fans Invest in technologies to improve fan entertainment, engagement, and global reach Fan Scoring
  • Define fan risks
  • Check fan value
Improve globalization Invest in fan engagement roles/customer services/technologies Fan Success Management
  • Increase fan lifetime value
  • Avoid fan churn
  • Define & manage upsells
  • Fan retention
  • Loyalty management
Create meaningful relationships with fans that are personalized and not just transactional
Build a sustainable future of sports Generate indirect and direct revenues through monetization of data and analytics Fan Engagement Management
  • Identify and manage fans
  • Manage fan and profiles
  • Identify new channels

IT Departments That Understand Their Industry Ecosystem Provide More Value

Understand the nature of the competition within the sports entertainment industry

To survive, grow, or transform in today's digital era, organizations must first have a strong pulse on the business ecosystem. Learning what the competitors are doing to grow their bottom line is key to identifying how to grow your own. Start by understanding who the key incumbents and disruptors in the industry are to identify where the industry is heading.

  • Incumbents: These are established leaders in the industry that possess the largest market share. Incumbents often focus their attention on their most demanding or profitable customers and neglect the needs of those down market.
  • Disruptors: Disruptors are primarily new entrants (start-ups) that possess the ability to displace the existing market, industry, or technology. Disruptors are often focused on smaller markets that the incumbents aren’t focused on.
Bubble chart titled 'Industry' with two large purple bubbles representing 'Incumbents', a medium-sized grey bubble labelled 'Organization', and multiple smaller blue bubbles labelled 'Disruptors'. "Teams compete for those consumers who could choose to attend other entertainment options available. Thus, rather than competing within a narrow, sport-specific market, league franchises now compete in a broader entertainment market.” (Research Gate, 2014.)

Info-Tech Insight

Understanding the target market and audience and transitioning to a model of engagement that can reach fans digitally is crucial for success in 2022 and beyond.

Sports Entertainment Industry Ecosystem Analysis — Act. 1.2

Business Target Market & Customer Product/Service & Key Features Key Differentiators Market Positioning
Organization Sports Team X
  • Fans
  • Television and other media
  • Communities that construct facilities and support sports
  • Corporations that interact with the leagues and teams
  • Live sports games (in person or broadcast)
  • Sports merchandise
  • Star power
  • Strong community impact
  • Invests in research and development
  • Unique experiences that bring fans and communities from all over the world together to celebrate a game and team that is devoted to innovation and success.
Incumbents College Sport Team Seahawks
  • Students, Alumni & family members
  • Television and other media
  • Communities that construct facilities and support college sports
  • Corporations that interact with college sports
  • Live college sports (in person or broadcast)
  • College merchandise
  • Player development and drafting for professional leagues
  • Part of the NCAA
  • Players are not paid but rather compensated with education and living arrangements
  • Majority of fans are those who are part of the college’s community
  • Strong college community impact
  • College Sport Team that provides opportunities to earn an education and participate in athletics, promoting positive well being, community, and fairness in sports to prepare students for professional sports.
Sport Team A
  • Fans
  • Television and other media
  • Communities that construct facilities and support sports
  • Corporations that interact with the leagues and teams
  • Live sports games (in person or broadcast)
  • Sports merchandise
  • Focused currently on their domestic market – but doing great at it
  • Strong brand awareness and community impact
  • First mover advantage (usually the first to experiment in unique solutions and products)
  • Providing high quality services and new products to their domestic fans, which empowers unique experiences and brand loyalty to develop a strong sense of brand awareness and community impact.
(Source: Sports Business Institute Barcelona, n.d., Journal of Issues in Intercollegiate Athletics, 2011 & NCAA, 2022.)

Sports Entertainment Industry Ecosystem Analysis — Act. 1.2

BusinessTarget Market & CustomerProduct/Service & Key FeaturesKey DifferentiatorsMarket Positioning
OrganizationSports Team X
  • Fans
  • Television and other media
  • Communities that construct facilities and support sports
  • Corporations that interact with the leagues and teams
  • Live sports games (in person or broadcast)
  • Sports merchandise
  • Star power
  • Strong community impact
  • Unique experiences that bring fans and communities from all over the world together to celebrate a game and team that is devoted to innovation and success.
DisruptorsCasinos (with sports betting)
  • Sports fans
  • Gamers
  • Communities that construct casinos
  • Sports betting lounges
  • Sports events
  • Gambling devices
  • Offers sports betting lounge and live broadcast
  • Offers additional entertainment services
  • Casino geared toward providing multiple entertainment services where sports fans can also come together in a community to engage and watch sports.
Concerts/Festivals
  • Young adults
  • Music fans
  • Communities that construct event facilities
  • Live music event
  • Merchandise
  • Invested in and scaling staff to provide high-value experiences
  • Different performers for different experiences
  • Event facility that hosts multiple musical artists and festivals providing various experiences to various fan segments within the entertainment industry.
Esports
  • Millennials and Generation Zers with an interest in sports and/or gaming
  • Communities that construct/ facilitate esports competitions
  • Gaming as a service
  • Esports events
  • Bringing two different markets together of gamers and sports fans
  • Platform that provides an online experience that is hard to disrupt from environmental factors
  • Esports delivers a highly engaging product through elite-level competitions that bring various different communities together across the globe making it a unique platform.
Fantasy Sports
  • Millennials and generation Zers with a high interest in sports.
  • Gaming as a service
  • Allows fans to take real-life statistics and covert them into fantasy points
  • Provides a different angle of sports that allows fans to be further immersed into the game, team, and engagement overall without environmental disruption
  • Fantasy sports allows for a way to bring gaming and real life into one allowing for fans to feel apart of the sports team on a different level resulting in a different type of engagement that is not normally met through traditional sports.

(Source: Sports Business Institute Barcelona, n.d. & Activision Blizzard Media, 2021.)

The Sports Entertainment Value Steam — Act. 1.3

Value Streams

  1. Scouting & Recruitment
    To properly scout and recruit talent within sports the organization must have a recruitment research and database, access to player statistics and analytics, and participate in recruitment visits and events.
  2. Player Development
    The performance and development of the players on each team plays a critical role in the success of a sports team and its overall worth. Providing proper training plans, performance tracking, player assignments, injury and treatment tracking, and strength and conditioning plans are crucial to the success and health of the players and the overall team.
  3. Team/Venue Operations
    For a team/venue to operate efficiently and effectively they must have the proper scheduling, equipment, security, coaching, food and beverage, and ticket management in place to be competitive and generate a ROI.
  4. Fan Engagement
    With six different fan type segments across 800+ sports categories, engaging the fan is a critical part of the value stream and has the potential to include a wide variety of engagement initiatives requiring unique capabilities beyond traditional sporting events that engage the fan before-, during-, and post-game while drawing in new revenue streams and enhancing current ones resulting in a high-value fan experience.

Value stream defined…

Value streams connect business goals to the organization’s value realization activities in the marketplace. Those activities are dependent on the specific industry segment in which an organization operates.

There are two types of value streams: core value streams and support value streams.

  • Core value streams are mostly externally facing. They deliver value to either an external or internal customer and they tie to the customer perspective of the strategy map.
  • Support value streams are internally facing and provide the foundational support for an organization to operate.

An effective method for ensuring all value streams have been considered is to understand that there can be different end-value receivers.

The Sports Entertainment Capability Maps to Define Value Chains — Act. 1.3

Business Capability Map Defined

A business capability map defines what a business does to enable value creation, rather than how. Business capabilities:

  • Represent stable business functions.
  • Are unique and independent of each other.
  • Typically, will have a defined business outcome.

A capability map is a great starting point to identify value chains within an organization as it is a strong indicator of the processes involved in delivering on the value streams.

Sample of the Sports Entertainment Reference Architecture with column headers 'Scouting & Recruiting', 'Player Development', 'Team/Venue Operations', and 'Fan Engagement' and row headers 'Defining Capabilities', 'Shared Capabilities', and 'Enabling Capabilities'. Capabilities are grouped into management sub-categories.

Visit the Sports Entertainment Reference Architecture

Info-Tech Insight

Leverage the sports entertainment reference architecture to define value streams and value chains.

Organizational Value — Act. 1.3

Identified areas for innovation

Value streams and value chains connect business goals to the organization’s value realization activities. They enable an organization to create and capture value in the marketplace by engaging in a set of interconnected activities. Those activities are dependent on the specific industry segment an organization operates in.

Different types of value an organization creates
Value Stream Scouting & Recruitment Player Development Team/Venue Operations Fan Engagement
The way that an organization creates value The Fan Engagement section of the 'Defining Capabilities' row in the Sports Entertainment Reference Architecture. The 'Fan Engagement Management' section is highlighted.
Fan Engagement Management
Value Chain Identify and Manage Fans Manage Fan Hierarchy Manage Community Manage Fan Profiles Identify New Channels
Fan

Value Chains

A value chain is a ”string” of processes within a company that interrelate and work together to meet market demand. Examining the value chain of a company will reveal how it achieves competitive advantage.

Supported or Enhanced Value Streams — Act. 1.3

Using an evaluation criteria, consider both the human and business value generators that the stream provides.

“Engage fan” represents business and human value since the fan is the sports entertainment’s main customer.

Value Stream Evaluation of a Value Stream Value Stream
Scouting & Recruitment Business Value
  • Profit
  • Enterprise Value
  • Brand value
Scouting & Recruitment
Player Development Player Development
Team/Venue Operations Human Value
  • Staff satisfaction
  • Fan satisfaction
  • Community impact
Team/Venue Operations
Engage Fan Engage Fan

Without the fans there is no brand or enterprise value, resulting in low profits.

Fan satisfaction creates engaged fans providing human value.

Sports tourism and development is a high impactor to the community that is only possible with engaged fans.

Business Value

Assess the value generators to the business e.g., revenue dollars, enterprise value, cost or differentiation (competitiveness), etc.

Human Value

Assess the value generators to people e.g., fan, management, front-line employee satisfaction, well-being, social cohesion, etc.

Info-Tech Insight

To produce maximum impact, focus on value streams that provide 2/3rds of your enterprise value.

Identified Value Chains for Transformation — Act. 1.3

Value chains, pioneered by the academic Michael Porter, refers to the ”string” of processes within a company that interrelate and work together to meet market demand. An organization’s value chain is connected to the larger part of the value stream. This perspective of how value is generated encourages leaders to see each activity as a part of a series of steps required to deliver value within the value stream and opens avenues to identify new opportunities for value generation.

Each value chain has a stakeholder associated with it. This is the primary stakeholder that seeks to gain value from that value chain

Value Stream

Scouting & Recruitment

Player Development

Team/Venue Operations

Engage Fan

Value Chain Fan Scoring
Define Fan Risks Manage Fan Risks Check Fan Value
Fan
Value Chain Fan Success Management
Manage Fan Onboarding Increase Fan Lifetime Value Avoid Fan Churn Define & Manage Upsells Fan Retention Loyalty Management Fan Incident Management Fan Services Management
Fan
Value Chain Fan Engagement Management
Identify and Manage Fan Manage Fan Hierarchy Manage Community Manage Fan & Profiles Identify New Channels
Fan

Prioritized Value Chains for Transformation — Act. 1.3

Once the key value chains have been identified within each value stream element, evaluate the individual processes within the value chain to identify opportunities for transformation. Evaluate the value chain processes based on the level of pain experienced by a stakeholder to accomplish that task, and the financial impact that level of the process has toward the organization. The individual processes that are prioritized for transformation should be considered as an opportunity for transformation.

Same Value Chain layout as the previous slide, but with certain capabilities highlighted as having a financial impact, having a high degree of pain/risk, or both which makes it prioritized for transformation. 'Increase Fan Lifetime Value' has a financial impact; 'Define Fan Risks', 'Avoid Fan Churn', 'Define & Manage Upsells', 'Loyalty Management', and 'Identify and Manage Fan' have a high degree of pain/risk; and numbered one to four, 'Check Fan Value', 'Fan Retention', 'Manage Fan & Profiles', and 'Identify New Channels' are prioritized for transformation.

Opportunities for transformation results:

  • Check fan value
  • Fan retention
  • Manage fan and profiles
  • Identify new channels

Balloon with the number 1, relating to the identified opportunities for transformation. Opportunity for Transformation: Check Fan Value — Act. 1.3

Determining the different levels of fan value comes from distinguishing the number of risks and opportunities that a fan may offer. Identifying those risks and opportunities can be challenging yet rewarding as determining which fans provide the most opportunities to the organization can result in satisfied, loyal fans and higher revenues.

“Fans are responsible for about 80% of all brand advocacy, and so if 20% of your new customers come to you from personal recommendation, then fans bring in 16% of your new customer revenue – and that’s on top of what they spend with you. Moreover, research shows that new customers coming to you via fan recommendation are more valuable to you (16% more valuable) than those obtained via marketing.” (Digital Well Being, 2011.)

Revenue Opportunity

“Highly engaged fans are considered to contribute significantly to value co-creation for sport organizations, by spreading positive word-of-mouth, displaying sport fandom, developing fan communities, sharing and consuming content, as well as ultimately becoming loyal long-term customers – Popp, Germelmann, & Jung, as quoted in Sport Business Chain, 2019.

Fan Engagement Behavior(s)

  • Impression management behaviors: The fans that show a higher level of value to the organization typically are known to embrace all winnings and look over any losses the team has.
  • Community support behaviors: Higher valued fans are known to cooperate with team management, help other fans, and ensure they are behaving in a way their team would accept and be proud of too.
  • Sport-related behaviors: Higher valued fans are known to attend and watch more games, purchase more merchandise, etc.
  • Relationship-building behaviors: Higher-valued fans have a higher chance in participating in loyalty programs, season tickets, etc.

Case Study

UrbanBound Relocation Management Software Company Logo for UrbanBound.
INDUSTRY: Relocation Management Solutions
SOURCE: Upland Software, n.d.

Challenge

UrbanBound Relocation wasn’t seeing the value of their broad, scattered content efforts. So, they decided to develop a content-rich, customer-focused campaign instead.

Solution

To find out what topics to focus on, UrbanBound tapped information from sales to learn about customer pain points and frequently asked questions. The top customer concern? Creating a streamlined process and benefits package for relocating employees. They had their topic. So, they set out to create a variety of different content surrounding it, including multiple blog posts, an eBook, a webinar (with slides posted to SlideShare), infographics, and social messages.

Results

Through the different varieties of content, the following areas received positive results:
  • 37% increase in blog traffic
  • 35% increase in leads
  • 102% increase in marketing-qualified leads
  • 66% increase in interactions (when someone reconverts and submits multiple forms)

Balloon with the number 2, relating to the identified opportunities for transformation. Opportunity for Transformation: Fan Retention — Act. 1.3

Fan retention has a high level of pain and financial impact to sports organizations due to the value repeat and loyal fans bring to the organization.

“When you buy one game ticket, you’re just committing to the one game. But when you buy the whole season, it’s 44 or 45 games you’re committing to. And like every other business, we know that the cost of retaining a customer is less than the cost of bringing in a new customer.” (Neda Tabatabaie, Vice President of Business Analytics and Technology, San Jose Sharks. (CIO, 2021))

Revenue Opportunity

Retaining fans can also contribute to additional revenue that comes from several additional sources, such as concessions stands, merchandise, concerts, etc. and upsell categories such as upgraded seat locations, number of games attended, add-on seats, etc. (Stellar Algo, 2020).

Fan Engagement Behavior(s)

  • Impression management behaviors: Retained fans are more likely to bask in reflected glory and cut-off reflected failure of the team.
  • Sport-related behaviors: Retained fans are likely to attend more sport events, watch the games on different channels, purchase merchandise, and spend more.
  • Relationship-building behaviors: Retained fans have better odds in being up-sold into other categories than new fans, such as participating in loyalty programs and season ticket purchases.

Case Study

Toronto FC’s Fan Retention InitiativeLogo for MLSE.Logo for Toronto FC.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Design Thinker & Experience Strategist, Nicole Dixon Whyte, 2016.

Challenge

In 2016, MLSE assembled a working group of over 20 people at various levels to capture the end-to-end customer experience of purchasing tickets and attending a Toronto FC game for two key fan segments. The objective of this work was to identify ways to improve season seat-holder retention rates, to inform Toronto FC's mobile and digital strategy, and to help align departmental strategies.

Solution

This was the first major journey mapping initiative undertaken at MLSE, and it was important to convince business leaders of the benefits of the approach. They looked at internal consulting, project leading, writing and presenting the project proposal to executive leadership, and they held preliminary needs meetings with stakeholders. They worked with design analysts to develop, plan, and facilitate five different workshops, and developed working schedules around the availability of various key participants. Collaboration with various members of the Business Intelligence team was critical in order to gather customer and market research and develop personas.

Results

The Toronto FC journey mapping project has helped to inform longer-term digital strategies for both BMO Field and Toronto FC. Providing more digital information and email about stadium features and food items with the addition of food features to game-related emails has resulted in significant sales lifts for featured items. Besides highlighting opportunities to improve MLSE’s own services and amenities, the sessions underscored the severity of post-game crowding in the GO train tunnel. By raising awareness of the impact of tunnel congestion on fan experience, customer retention, and fan safety, the project incited senior leaders to be more active in lobbying for change.

Balloon with the number 3, relating to the identified opportunities for transformation. Opportunity for Transformation: Manage Fan and Profile — Act. 1.3

Managing fans and profiles has a high level of pain and financial impact to sports organizations due to the pains of using data analytics properly to truly understand fans in order to provide innovative and personalized experiences for them where the results are crucial to high engagement and revenues.

“Sports organizations need to use data analytics to create fan profiles in order to understand what fans expect and need to stay loyal to a sports brand and digitally engage fans.” (Costa Kladianos, Canlan Sports, 2021)

Revenue Opportunity

Effectively building detailed reports such as fan profiles to help teams identify important attributes about their fan base, such as average age, gender, household income, and more, helps teams better manage and target marketing collateral and messaging in order to drive more revenue. (Sporting News, 2014).

Fan Engagement Behavior(s)

  • Community support behaviors: Fan profiles allow for the organization to better understand which fans are there for pure entertainment versus being part of a larger community.
  • Sport-related behaviors: When fan profiles are developed the organization can better indicate what events certain fans go to, what channels they are using to watch games, what kind of merchandise they are interested in, and other content.
  • Relationship-building behaviors: Fan profiles allow for sports organizations to create better programs and memberships for fans that best align with what they are interested in.

Case Study

Toronto Maple Leafs Nation Fan Preference Centre (Fan Database Initiative)Logo for MLSE.Logo for Toronto Maple Leafs.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Design Thinker & Experience Strategist, Nicole Dixon Whyte, n.d.

Challenge

In order to deliver relevant content and offers to fans, you need to know more than simply names and emails. The Leaf's Nation Fan Preference Centre project was launched to support the CRM and marketing teams in collecting more detailed information about Leafs fans and customers and integrating this data with existing systems.

Solution

The resulting product was a responsive web membership centre that allowed users to create personal profiles that made them eligible for giveaways, contests, and exclusive content.

Results

Rolled out in Fall 2016 with an updated look and new brand extensions for the Toronto Raptors and Toronto FC. Since launching, the MLSE Preference Centre has been successful in significantly growing MLSE's fan database and providing the business intelligence team with more information about MLSE's team fans. Feature enhancements are planned for future releases. The preference centre can be found at: Leafsnation.club.

Info-Tech Insight

Data-driven decision making is as vital as anything else when it comes to understanding fans and creating a fan engagement strategy.

Balloon with the number 4, relating to the identified opportunities for transformation. Opportunity for Transformation: Identify New Channels — Act. 1.3

Identifying new channels is crucial to the financial impact of today’s target market, although not easy to identify what channels to implement. Figuring out which channels are best for creating the greatest experience for all fans is important for sports organizations to determine.

“We also serve messages on fans’ preferred channels. For example, if I know one group in our fanbase is more likely to engage over email, while another is more responsive to social ads, I can use a ‘decision split’ to deliver the right content to each group on the platform they prefer. (Kyle Teague, Manager of Marketing Cloud at Pacers Sports and Entertainment” (Salesforce, 2021).)

Revenue Opportunity

“According to a consumer survey in 2018 by IRi, 74% of customers chose a brand based on its strong loyalty or discount program. Additionally, 71% of brands that use omnichannel loyalty programs said transaction volume spurred by these programs increased by more than 50% over the previous years.” (Mage Store, 2021)

Fan Engagement Behavior(s)

  • Sport-related behaviors: Identifying the right channels that fans like to interact with allows the organization to provide a seamless experience when watching live or streamed games, purchasing merchandise, etc.
  • Relationship-building behaviors: Identifying the right channels allows for the organization to provide tailored and personal marketing initiatives to fans when they are looking to participate in a certain membership, program, or purchase merchandise.

Case Study

Southampton FC’s Email CampaignLogo for dotdigital.Logo for Southhampton FC.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Dot Digital, n.d.

Challenge

During the pandemic and with fans banned from attending matches, the Club recognized the importance of engaging audiences in new and exciting ways. With questions still in the air about when the public would be able to attend live games again, it couldn’t rely on football before and after its end-of-season matches to drive sales. It was time to get creative. The Club’s 135th anniversary was also approaching, making it even more important to keep fans connected with the team and its long, rich, history.

Solution

Southampton launched its new kit campaign. The campaign featured a playable retro arcade game where elements of the new kit were unlocked at the end of each level, with fans able to win prizes if they were one of the top scorers. Using email as its main communication channel, the Club built a campaign to consist of a few stages:
  • The game launch: Using a link or QR code to drive mobile visits, the first email focused on driving fans to play the game.
  • Reminder email: This email was triggered when a fan engaged with content focused on the new kit launch but had yet to place an order, encouraging them to make a purchase.
  • Thank you email: Triggered to be delivered a couple of days after a fan visited the game, the email would highlight the fan’s highest score.

Results

In total, Southampton’s campaign generated nearly £16,000 in kit sales. This was a significant increase on the email-generated sales from the previous season. The triggered “reminder email” enjoyed a remarkably high open rate of 67%. Similarly, the Club’s “thank you for playing” email achieved an open rate of 45%. Overall, from 728k email sends, this impressively creative campaign generated 106k unique opens (15%).

AN INDUSTRY DIGITAL STRATEGY OPPORTUNITY REPORT PHASE 2

Digitally Enabled Growth Opportunities

  • Fan interests
  • Horizon scan
  • Identified leapfrog ideas
  • Value chain impact analysis

Digitally Enabled Growth Opportunities Start With the Fan Engagement Behaviors

There are four types of fan engagement behaviors within sport: impression management, community support, sport-related behaviors, and relationship building behaviors

Impression-management behaviors
  • Basking in reflected glory (BIRGing)
  • Cutting off reflected failure (CORFing)
Circle with icons for each surrounding behavior category on the map. In the middle are values for the top and bottom halves of the map: on top 'Non-Transactional (intangible consumption/actions/behaviors)', and on bottom 'Transactional (tangible consumption/actions/behaviors)'. Community support behaviors
  • Management cooperation (helping team management)
  • Prosocial behavior (helping other fans)
  • Self policing (helping yourself)
  • Performance tolerance (helping a sport team)
In-role
(shaped by self interest such as attending a game, watching, etc. when following a sport team)
Extra-role
(behaviors that are directed toward a sport team on the basis of a consumer’s moral obligation as a fan)
Sport-related behaviors
  • Attending sporting events
  • Watching games on TV and other channels
  • Purchasing team products
  • Reading sport magazines
Relationship-building behaviors:
  • Loyalty program participation
  • Season ticket purchase
  • Booster membership

(Source: Lund University, 2021 & Journal of Sport Management, 2014)

Fan Engagement Behaviors Can Create Monetization

Fan engagement can be monetized through direct or indirect ways. Direct monetization comes from the transactional fan engagement behaviors, where indirect monetization comes from indirect fan engagement behaviors.

“Understanding your profit drivers and planning for innovative fan engagements is the key to unlocking new revenue streams both in and out of the stadium. That’s why finance teams in sports need to make planning more collaborative across departments.” (Vena Solutions, 2021.)

Direct Commercial Opportunities

“Derived with the club obtaining knowledge of the fans and offering them tailored promotions to their individual interests.” (Lund University, 2021).

Examples:

  • Promotional emails on merchandise and products
  • Personalized gifts
  • Push notifications to drive revenue

Indirect Commercial Opportunities

“Are a result of having engaged fans within the club’s activities either during match days or virtually through the website, social media, or app.” (Lund University, 2021).

Examples:

  • Opens potential for potential sponsors who want to benefit from the engagement levels shown in the area by advertising their brand.
  • Teams can also collect data on their fans and pass this information on to sponsors for a profit so sponsors can reach their target audience.

Info-Tech Insight

Data and measurability can provide wins for sports teams, sponsors, and fans.

Case Study

Manchester United Football Club and MUTVLogo for Manchester United.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Lund University, 2021 & Fanisko, n.d.

Challenge

Due to the digitally transforming world and the entertainment industry, Manchester United Football Club needed to stay competitive and continue to deliver what their fans were expecting from them to remain satisfied. Considering how sports teams are competing for the attention and engagement of fans with other entertainment divisions, the football club wanted to develop a way it could stay competitive while generating revenues.

Solution

Manchester United Football Club created “MUTV” a premium online streaming service where fans can watch exclusive behind the scenes content of the day-to-day running of the club. This also creates new sponsorship and advertisement spaces for them to sell to partners, creating direct and indirect monetization through fan engagement.

Results

Manchester United only converted 1% of its 659 million fans to the MUTV subscription at an average of just 1pound per month. The club now generates nearly 80 million pounds ($120 million USD) per year in additional revenues apart from their primary revenue through broadcasting rights, endorsements, and sponsorships.

Case Study

Formula E All-Electric Motorsport Series and FanBoostLogo for Formula E.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Accedo, n.d.

Challenge

Research that Copa90 conducted shows that 79% of under 25s in the UK use a second screen while watching TV. In a world where attention spans are decreasing, and fans are needing more ways to say engaged and interested in something, sports organizations need to create new interactive viewing experiences to support live broadcast.

Solution

Formula E created a concept called the “FanBoost” that invites the fans of all electric motorsport series to vote for their favorite driver on social media up to 15 minutes before a race. The three most popular drivers will receive a boost in power totaling to 100 kJ worth of energy in the second half of the ePrix.

Results

This allows fans to feel like they are either directing or participating in the action that they are watching through broadcast. Social feeds on OTT platforms that mimic the way users can comment on videos and live polls during games will also give fans more ways to interact with what they are watching and have their say in it. This higher engagement with the sport allows the sport organization to collect more and higher quality data that they can then sell off to their sponsors and increase their broadcasting viewers, which ultimately results in higher revenues.

Fan Engagement Behaviors Based on Fan Importance & Interests

“Digital fan engagement needs to be based on a proper strategy where the fundamental building block is why we do it.” (Kevin Rye, Think Fan Engagement, Owner, 2021)

  • Fan importance is what fans believe to be of great value to them, where interests are the feelings that cause special attention to something, such as being provided with accurate and timely statistics on players.

Info-Tech Insight

Understanding fans and their consumer behaviors is a key aspect that allows sports organizations to target and personalize offerings to maximize the potential of monetizing their assets.

“Fans need to be targeted differently based on their level of commitment and interest to the respective team.” (Thomas, 2018 (Lund University, 2021))

Fan Importance & Interests

Based on interviews, discussions, and research with a variety of sports teams throughout the world, the following fan importance and interests have been selected based on frequency and pervasiveness.

Importance Rankings Interests Benefits Fan Engagement Behaviors

1

The team provides timely, relevant, in-event highlights and statistics that are available through my mobile device based on my interests. By providing timely and relevant statistics to fans based on their interests through personalization on a mobile app you are building a relationship that is more than just transactional with the fan and are able to charge a membership/loyalty program fee for this service. Relationship-building behaviors – transactional

2

Having an enhanced experience where interaction with the team, sponsors, and other fans are increased through my mobile device. Creating an interactional community where fans can communicate with the team, sponsors, and other fans easily through their mobile devices allows for an increase of social interactions within the sports fandom resulting in higher engagement and data collection on the fans. Community support behaviors – non-transactional
(Source: Deloitte, 2018.)

Fan Importance & Interests (continued)

Importance Rankings Interests Benefits Fan Engagement Behaviors

3

I have experiences that are unique to the venue. Providing experiences that are unique to the stadium such as sports betting lounges, tech lounges, live game contests through digital signage, etc. allows fans to directly interact with the team in a way that they wouldn’t be able to at home where their interactions with these experiences result in immediate revenue generation as a cost would be associated with each experience at the stadium. Sport-related behaviors – transactional

4

I can personally identify with the team I am watching. Allowing fans to bask in the reflected glory of the team through bragging rights online and in person, allowing them to feel as if they have also won when the team does. This can result in purchasing merchandise, positive word of mouth, and long-term loyalty. Impression-management behaviors – non-transactional
(Source: Deloitte, 2018.)

Fan Importance & Interests

Based on interviews, discussions, and research with a variety of sports teams throughout the world, the following fan importance and interests have been selected based on frequency and pervasiveness.

Importance Rankings Interests Benefits Fan Engagement Behaviors

5

I can visit my teams home stadium while feeling safe, secure, and proud. By providing a safe and secure venue for fans to come to allows them to feel confident and proud to attend live games. The management cooperation and prosocial behavior of the fans will determine the success of a return-to-venue initiative where all fans feel safe, secure, and proud of the team's community. Providing the venue that the fans are looking for can also result in higher ticket sales. Community support behaviors – non-transactional

6

I can visit my team’s home stadium knowing that I am not highly contributing to climate change and my team cares about the environment like I do. By implementing sustainable practices throughout the venue, fans who identify themselves as part of the team and also sustainable can feel proud and not guilty to visit the venue. Additionally, implementing these measures can reduce costs and efficiencies while being greener. Community support behaviors – non-transactional

(Source: Deloitte, 2018.)

Consider an Omnichannel Approach

Get ahead of the competition by doing omnichannel right.

Devise a digital strategy that allows the organization to create and maintain a consistent, seamless fan experience by optimizing operations within an omnichannel framework.

Fans want to interact with the team on their own terms, and it falls to IT to ensure that applications are in place to support and manage a wide range of interactional channels.

Omnichannel means fulfilling fans’ needs at every touchpoint and providing the same functionality and experience across channels, no matter how a buyer chooses to interact. Omnichannel is about meeting fans wherever they are and providing excellent service at every touchpoint.

“Different generations consume things differently. Omnichannel creates a further reach.” (Bob Lawson, Kumulos Fan Engagement Platform, Founder and Director)

Omnichannel Touchpoints

  1. Brick and mortar stores
  2. Over the phone
  3. Branded websites
  4. Online marketplaces
  5. Mobile apps
  6. Mobile messages, chats, and push notifications
  7. Social media
  8. Email

(Source: Oracle Net Suite, 2021.)

Info-Tech Insight

Sports organizations now face the challenge of communicating consistent omnichannel brand messages that every fan can access while staying within the organization’s budget.

Visit Info-Tech’s Omnichannel Commerce blueprint

Case Study

MLB on Using Omnichannel to Engage FansLogo for Ballpark.Logo for At Bat.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Customer Contact Week Digital, 2019.

Challenge

With the world changing, attendance at sports games has fallen. Sports teams are trying to figure out ways to bring fans back in by offering them value-added digital experiences. Trying to get fans to chose to attend in person over watching a game from the comfort of their own home is not easy.

Solution

MLB took an approach to encourage fans to use their cell phones during games. They ramped up their Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity within venues, and invested billions of dollars into a mobile app. The app allows fans to order food and beverage, merchandise, and access social feeds without leaving the app. This is part of the MLB’s effort to provide an omnichannel experience where fans can engage with their teams all year round and maintain that engagement when they get to the venue.

Results

The investment into mobile apps has allowed the MLB to create two apps for every team in the league called Ballpark and At Bat. Ballpark focuses on the individual venues, special offers, maps, and tickets. At Bat focused on news stories, statistics, scoring, and postseason details. The MLB has 30 member clubs within North America, with over 2,500 games per season. Every venue has its own unique design to the app where every team can have its own branding and values. The teams want to monetize both apps by subscription once they’ve reached a critical mass of user engagement from delivering premium customer support.

Data and Integration Play an Important Role in Digital Enablement

  • Ensuring that the data the organization collects is accurate, maintained, useable, and not siloed separately but rather integrated together will help eliminate duplicate data and make it easier for the organization to make decisions, understand the fans better, and enable a digital fan engagement strategy.
  • Having a proper data and integration strategy is vital to the success of a digital fan engagement strategy, otherwise the strategy may not meet fan expectations and result in ineffective initiatives.

Visit Info-Tech’s Data Strategy Management blueprint

Graphic of a sample 'Fan Profile' and data collecting tools like 'Ticketing', 'POS', and 'Mobile App' that contribute to the profile.

Horizon Scanning

The sports entertainment industry is evolving

Horizon scanning is a systematic analysis of detecting early signs of future changes or threats

Horizon scanning involves scanning, analyzing, and communicating changes in an organization’s environment to prepare for potential threats and opportunities. Much of what is known about the future is based around the interactions and trajectory of trends, drivers, and macro-trends. These form the foundations for future intelligence.

  • Trends
    A trend captures a business use case of a macro trend. Consider trends in relation to competitors in the Industry.
  • Drivers
    A driver is an underlying force that is causing the trend to occur. There can be multiple causal forces, or drivers, that influence a trend, and multiple trends can be influenced by the same causal force.
  • Macro Trends
    A macro trend captures a large-scale transformative trend that could impact your addressable market.

Become aware of the trends of change in the present and their potential future impacts.

The Impact of the Sports Entertainment Drivers

The sports entertainment drivers are the forces and reason a trend is a macro trend within the industry. Keep these drivers in mind when assessing current approaches and prioritizing new ones as they are also important when discovering the impact the trends have on an organization and a digital fan engagement strategy.

Info-Tech evaluates digital approaches and opportunities through a set of drivers:

  • BUSINESS GROWTH
  • RISK & RESILIENCE
  • OPERATIONAL EXCELLENCE
  • FAN VALUE
  • BRAND IMPACT

Once an organization has identified a trend that warrants exploration, it is valuable to understand the underlying forces that are driving the trend in order to effectively assess its potential impact. Drivers are a fundamental component to building plausible scenarios that could arise from the adoption of a given macro trend. These value drivers are used to understand what is or is not driving a particular macro trend. This is achieved by identifying the value drivers for each macro trend as superior, strong, medium, or weak:

Rankings for Value Drivers depicted as quarters of a circle. 'Weak' is 1 quarter, 'Medium' is two quarters, 'Strong' is three quarters, and 'Superior' is four quarters.

Value Drivers Explained

Business Growth
  • Drives sustainable growth
  • Diversifies methods of generating revenue
  • Increases the business-market reach
  • Improves the profitability
Risk & Resilience
  • Mitigates and withstands rapid changes across the IT landscape
  • Secures guest information while protecting brand assets
  • Easily integrates with current technologies, projects, and strategies
  • Readily adopted by both fans and employees/associates
Operational Excellence
  • Provides transparency in the flow of value to the fan
  • Empowers associates and promotes teamwork
  • Improves responsiveness in problem solving
Fan Value
  • Surprises and delights associates and fans
  • Connects associates with fans on a personal level
  • Focuses on enhancing the efficiency and convenience
  • Creates high engagement with fans and new and different experiences
Brand Impact
  • Readily available technology
  • Enables first-to-market or unique market positioning
  • Positive reputation, and awareness of the organization

The Sports Market Evolution

The sports market evolution identifies changes in prevailing market conditions that are directly relevant to an organization’s industry, and thus provides some critical input to the strategy design process.

Shifts in these five characteristics directly impact an organization’s:

  • FAN EXPECTATIONS
  • TALENT AVAILABILITY
  • REGULATORY SYSTEM
  • SUPPLY CHAIN CONTINUITY
  • TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE

It is important that current engagement approaches and new trends that the organization is considering for implementation directly impact the organization through one of the five characteristics.

Visual of the five characteristics listed above impacting the organization.

The two characteristics that will be impacted more than the others in a digital fan engagement strategy are fan expectations and technological landscape due to the main purpose of the strategy.

Current Digital Engagement Approaches

  • Leverage fan-experience-related touchpoints to acknowledge current digital engagement approaches.
  • Approaches are assessed to determine a full understanding of what the organization is already offering to the fans and how these offerings directly impact the organization. This helps minimize duplicate efforts.
  • The sports market evolution characteristics are analyzed to understand how each current approach is being impacted and how powerfully impacted each driver is through the analysis.
Stock photo of a person receiving likes and heart reacts on social media.

Current Digital-Engagement Assessment

Based on interviews, discussions, and research with a variety of sports teams throughout the world, the following digital-engagement approaches have been selected based on frequency and pervasiveness.

Current Digital-Engagement Approaches Market Evolution Characteristic(s) Drivers Impact (Weak – Superior)
Business Growth Risk & Resilience Operational Excellence Fan Value Brand Impact
Contactless POS System
  • Talent availability
  • Fan expectations
  • Technological landscape
Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 1 quarter. Rating: 'Weak' Circle with 4 quarters. Rating: 'Superior' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium'
5G Throughout Venue
  • Fan expectations
  • Technological landscape
Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium' Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium' Circle with 4 quarters. Rating: 'Superior' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium'
Mobile Ticket Platform
  • Talent availability
  • Fan expectations
  • Technological landscape
Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 1 quarter. Rating: 'Weak' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong'
Legend: Legend identifying the circles with various quarters as their ranking.

Refer to the Fan Experience Strategic Foresight Trends Report to Identify Trends and Signals

Leverage industry roundtables and trends reports to understand what’s possible

Uncover important business and industry trends that can inform technology innovation. Fan experience technologies are what enables fan engagement behaviors to occur. Go to the Fan Experience Strategic Foresight Trends Report to discover what trends and signals exist for your digital fan engagement strategy. Through this report you will understand what drives these trends to be weak, medium, strong, or superior within the sports entertainment industry.

Explore trends in areas such as:

  • Advanced wireless
  • Digital ecosystem
  • Digital sustainability
  • Vision recognition
  • Immersive and gamified sports

Market research is critical in identifying factors external to your organization and identifying technology innovation that will provide a competitive edge. It’s important to evaluate the impact each trend or signal will have in your organization and market.

Sample of the blueprint 'Discover High-Value Fan Experiences'.Sample of the blueprint '2021 Tech Trends'.

Visit the Fan Experience Strategic Foresight Trends Report

Visit Info-Tech’s Trends & Priorities Research Center

Digital Opportunity Horizon Scan — Act. 2.1

Macro Trends (from Fan Experience Report) Trends Market Evolution Characteristic(s) Drivers Impact (Weak – Superior)
Business Growth Risk & Resilience Operational Excellence Fan Value Brand Impact
Digital Ecosystem
  • Stadium/team app
  • Public engagement through digital and social media
  • Digital signage
  • Fan expectations
  • Technological landscape
  • Regulatory system
Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium' Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium' Circle with 4 quarters. Rating: 'Superior' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong'
Digital Sustainability
  • Rainwater collection for water preservation
  • Fan expectations
  • Regulatory system
Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium' Circle with 1 quarter. Rating: 'Weak' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium'
Immersive & Gamified Sports
  • OTT media
  • VR, AR, MR
  • Real-time live sports betting
  • Fan expectations
  • Technological landscape
  • Regulatory system
Circle with 4 quarters. Rating: 'Superior' Circle with 1 quarter. Rating: 'Weak' Circle with 1 quarter. Rating: 'Weak' Circle with 4 quarters. Rating: 'Superior' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong'
Vision Recognition
  • Touchless access using facial recognition
  • Facial recognition for COVID-19 screening
  • Fan expectations
  • Technological landscape
  • Regulatory system
Circle with 1 quarter. Rating: 'Weak' Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium' Circle with 2 quarters. Rating: 'Medium' Circle with 3 quarters. Rating: 'Strong' Circle with 1 quarter. Rating: 'Weak'
Legend: Legend identifying the circles with various quarters as their ranking.

Prioritized Trends

A cross-industry holistic view of trends

Visualize what’s emerging and prioritize action

Moving from horizon scanning to action requires an evaluation process to determine which trends can lead to growth opportunities. First, shortlist the trends to analyze. For the digital fan engagement strategy, deprioritize technology that has a timing, regulatory, and budget conflict. Next, evaluate the shortlisted opportunities by a second set of criteria: relevance to the organization and impact on the sports entertainment industry.

  • Timing
    The estimated time to disruption this trend will have to the industry.
    • Assess whether the trend will require significant developments to support its entry into the ecosystem.
    • Assess the venue’s budget to implement the solution.
  • Relevance
    The relevance of the trend to the organization.
    • Does the trend fulfil the vision or the goals of the organization and satisfy business stakeholders?
    • Technology’s impact on sports entertainment. What are the fans’ interests, needs, and expectations?
    • Comparatively, does this technology conflict with other implemented technologies? Does it provide redundant applications and features, and could the organization do without it?
  • Impact
    The degree of impact the trend will have on the industry.
    • A trend with high impact will drive new business models, products, or services.
    • Does each technology fall in multiple macro-trend buckets that further benefit the industry, making it more available, applicable, and impactful for the venue than originally intended?
    • Analysis was done for macro trends as a whole within the fan experience strategic foresight trends report, but these scores could vary depending on the specific technology that’s being analyzed.

Info-Tech Insight

Social media and digital connection are significant in fans’ lives where sports organizations should interact on social media and stay informed on the newest trends in order to effectively engage fans.

Use the MoSCoW Analysis for Prioritization — Act. 2.1

Assessments based on time, relevancy, and impact will inform the overall effect on the industry and specific organizations. This information, when contrasted with the concept of a MoSCoW-based relevance to impact analysis, forms an enhanced decision-making framework that can be used to determine initiative sequencing on a strategic roadmap.

A prioritization map identifying four quadrants split by 'Impact' and 'Relevance'. Counter clockwise from the top left: 'LR/HI, Could Address (Trend that could be considered)', 'LR/LI, Won't Address', 'HR/LI, Should Address (Trend that should be considered)', and 'HR/HI, Must Address (Trend that must be prioritized above others)'. Rank trends based on needs:
  1. Signal MUST ADDRESS
  2. Signal SHOULD ADDRESS
  3. Signal SHOULD ADDRESS
  4. Signal COULD ADDRESS

Look to implement these trends into a digital fan-engagement strategy.

Vetting of Trend Opportunities — Act. 2.1

To determine which opportunity to act on, use a prioritization framework that enables decision makers to see the timing, relevance, and impact the opportunities pose.

We have defined this criteria already, now leverage it to prioritize the trend(s) to pursue.

Trend Timing
(Y/N)
Impact
(1-4)
Relevance
( 1-4)
MoSCow chart from the last slide with Trends 1, 2, and 5 from the adjacent table mapped onto it.
1. Stadium/team app N 4 4
2. Public engagement through digital and social media N 2 3
3. Digital signage Y - Timing 2 2
4. Water preservation Y - Budget 1 2
5. OTT media N 3 3
6. VR, AR , MR Y - Budget 2 3
7. Real-time live sports betting Y - Budget & Regulatory 3 4
8. Touchless access using facial recognition Y - Budget 1 2
9. Facial recognition for COVID-19 screening Y - Budget 1 2
Deprioritize technology that have a timing, regulatory, and budget conflict

Leapfrog into the Future

Turning trends into growth opportunities

To thrive in the digital age, organizations must innovate big, leverage internal creativity, and prepare for flexibility

In this digital era, sports entertainment organizations are often playing catch up to a rapidly evolving technological landscape and following a strict linear approach to innovation. However, this linear catch-up approach does not help companies get ahead of competitors. Instead, organizations must identify avenues to skip one or several stages of technological development to leapfrog ahead of their competitors.

An image of a frog with an idea leaping ahead.

Leapfrogging takes place when an organization introduces disruptive innovation into the market and sidesteps competitors who are unable to mobilize to respond to the opportunities.

Case Study

Leapfrog Ideation: The NBA in EuropeLogo for NBA Europe Live.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Mailman Group, n.d.

Challenge

The NBA EMEA team are tasked with driving growth of the sport outside of the US and developing long-term fan engagement strategies. They are to see how social media could grow fan engagement and promote consumption of the sport, originally in five key markets: France, the UK, Spain, Turkey, and Italy. A third-party consultancy company was initially challenged to audit the NBA’s social media accounts in Europe. Their report outlined some recommendations that would take the NBA European accounts from good to great.

Solution

The third-party consultancy company took over the management of five Facebook and Twitter accounts in France, Italy, Spain, the UK, and Turkey and increased to seven by 2019. They built a team of local in-market social media managers, video editors, graphic designs, content planners and analysts. They began to create locally relevant, language-appropriate content, all delivered against at least one of five content objectives. They made over 1,000 mobile & social-friendly videos in the first year, all locally relevant to that market, and have upscaled the production since. The team uses weekly data analyses to optimize content production, aid paid media planning, and provide reports for all levels of the business. They’ve helped the NBA achieve business goals, drive TV viewership, get supporting partners, obtain data collection and merchandise sales, organize League Pass promotions, and have provided assets that can be sold to sponsors.

Results

The European NBA social channels now have over 4.5 million followers and provide a powerful resource to help the NBA achieve its business goals. It has:
  • Delivered in excess of 200 million video views per season (an 80% increase from the first year)
  • Encouraged significant increases in traffic to the NBA Store, League Pass, and key campaigns on NBA.com
  • Enabled the number of engaged users to increase (a 45% increase on the first year)
  • Fully localized content in five markets promoting NBA primetime games on TV, which reaches millions of fans every week
  • Incrementally increased revenue as a result of sponsored social media content formats
  • Increased data collection that can be provided to sponsors overall

Case Study

Leapfrog Ideation: Barclays Center and Robust Fan ExperienceLogo for Disney Institute.Logo for Barclays Center.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Disney Institute, n.d.

Challenge

The National Basketball Association's Brooklyn Nets were moving to a newly built, state-of-the-art arena where concerts, conventions and other sporting events would be held. In what would mark the return of professional sports to Brooklyn, the Nets sought to make a positive impact on the neighborhood. It was perfect timing to up their game in the area of customer service. Leadership wanted to differentiate their new home in Brooklyn by retraining their staff in order to provide an enhanced fan experience. Yet, in a city defined by its uniqueness, they didn't want to change their employees (who were mostly Brooklyn natives) into something they weren't. Also, they would have multiple service providers involved in the arena's operations and needed alignment. Furthermore, leadership wanted to extinguish any negative stereotypes about Brooklyn.

Solution

Senior leadership from the Brooklyn Nets, AEG, and Levy Restaurants began work with Disney Institute to develop a methodology for delivering top-notch service to Barclays Center guests by uniting the different business units around a common service framework called Brooklyn's Best. The Brooklyn's Best strategy united expectations, language, symbols, stories, and values for all employees, which in turn created a seamless, well-organized experience for Barclays Center guests. Fostered by the Brooklyn's Best model, the mostly Brooklyn-native workforce was empowered to embrace their identity, which encouraged staffers to share their Brooklyn pride with visiting guests. Disney Institute also collaborated in creating collateral materials that supported the Brooklyn's Best service guidelines, including:
  • Customer service cards
  • A hiring video for all potential job candidates
  • An orientation video for new employees
  • A recognition system to reward employees for a well-done job

Results

Barclays and Nets leadership established a foundation of quality service that left a positive impression for fans from day one, encouraging all to return again and again, resulting in engaging and retaining those fans for reoccurring profits. As one visitor noted about the staff, "It is unlike anything we've experienced. Helpful isn't the word. Gracious is. So is proud. We had one staffer walk us the entire length of the arena to help us get where we were going.” The Barclays Center not only improved work life, but also the fan experience and satisfaction levels. The Barclays center opened seamlessly in 2012. Brooklyn native Jay Z christened the facility with eight sold-out concerts. The Brooklyn Nets' new home was a source of community pride, and the National Hockey League's New York Islanders started to call Barclays Center home in 2015, leaving this venue with new sponsorship deals following their great service too.

Funneling Trends Into Leapfrog Ideas

Go from trend insights into ideas

Brainstorm ways of generating leapfrog ideas from trend insights

Dealing with trends is one of the most important tasks for innovation. It provides the basis of developing the future orientation of the organization. However, being aware of a trend is one thing – to develop strategies for response is another.

To identify the impact the trend has on the organization, consider the four areas of growth strategies for the organization:

  1. New Fans: Leverage the trend to target new fans for existing products or services
  2. New Markets: Enter or create new markets by applying existing products or services to different problems
  3. New Business Models: Adjust the business model to capture a change in how the organization delivers value
  4. New Product or Service Offerings: Introduce new products or services to the existing market

The three trends highlighted a few slides back, '1 Stadium/team app', '2 Public engagement through digital or social media', and '5 OTT media', being funneled into 'Opportunities'.

Digital Fan Engagement Leapfrog Ideas — Act. 2.2

Trend New Customer New Market New Business Model New Product or Service
What trends pose a high or immediate impact to the organization? Target new customers for existing products or services Enter or create new markets by applying existing products or services to different problems Adjust the business model to capture a change in how the organization delivers value Introduce new products or services to the existing market
1) Stadium/team app Online mobile app for content Introduce new stadium/team app
2) Public engagement through social media Social media as a business Introduce active social media pages that interact with fans
5) OTT media Media: streaming services Stream the game whenever and wherever the fan wants Introduce streaming platform for on-demand content anywhere

Value Chain Analysis

Identified implications of strategic growth opportunities to the value chains

Assessing the impact to the value chain will allow for identification and prioritization of the opportunities available. Does the opportunity directly impact an existing value chain? Or does it open to the creation of a new value chain?

Example of the trend adoption adding to the value stream and subsequently to the value chain.

The value chain perspective allows the organization to identify how to best minimize or enhance impacts and generate value.

As we move from opportunity to impact, it is important to break down opportunities into its relevant pieces, so a holistic view of the sources of differentiation can be seen.

Digital Opportunity Value Chain Analysis — Act. 2.3

Adoption of Trend 1, 'Stadium/team app' adds to the 'Engage Fan' part of the Value Stream via the 'Fan Success Management' Value Chain.

Greatest Risks
  • Security breaches can expose fan information that has been uploaded to the mobile app
  • Competition between other leagues and overall sport apps vs. one team-specific app
Complexity
  • Integrating the needed features in one app such as F&B, tickets, and interaction features
  • Implementing the app with current technology and projects at the venue
  • Cost
Key Benefits
  • Allows fans to have a personalized experience no matter where they are
  • Creates efficient operations through modernizing processes and procedures
Dependencies
  • Fan interest in stadium/team app
  • Strong network connection
  • Software creation
Financial Revenue Highly Impacted
  • Save costs on some processes and procedures
  • Ticketing
  • F&B
  • Merchandise
  • Sponsorships and endorsements

Digital Opportunity Value Chain Analysis — Act. 2.3

Adoption of Trend 2, 'Public engagement through digital and social media' adds to the 'Engage Fan' part of the Value Stream via the 'Fan Engagement Management' Value Chain.

Greatest Risks
  • Competitive exposure
  • No proper policies and procedures in place for social media management
  • Ineffective use of social media
  • Legal complaints
Complexity
  • Defining the social media goals
  • Finding the right platforms
  • Understanding the fans
  • Getting organic reach and followers
  • Cost
Key Benefits
  • Creating organic, personalized, and interactional relationships with fans
  • Increased brand awareness
  • Improve search engine rates
  • Higher online engagement
Dependencies
  • Fan interest in creating an online community
  • Brand authorization
  • Planning and developing process of social media account and strategy
Financial Revenue Highly Impacted
  • Sponsorships and endorsements
  • Social media monetization

Digital Opportunity Value Chain Analysis — Act. 2.3

Adoption of Trend 1, 'OTT media' adds to the 'Engage Fan' part of the Value Stream via the 'Fan Engagement Management' Value Chain.

Greatest Risks
  • High competition within market
  • Low engagement rates
  • Negative response toward content
Complexity
  • Security and privacy regulations
Key Benefits
  • New revenue stream
  • Unique experience for fans at home
  • Enter new market in streaming service
Dependencies
  • Fan interest in OTT service
  • Media partner
  • Filming
  • Editing
  • Interesting content that intrigues the fans
Financial Revenue Highly Impacted
  • Media streaming
  • Video operations

AN INDUSTRY DIGITAL STRATEGY OPPORTUNITY REPORT PHASE 3

Transformed Fan Journeys

  • Identified fan personas & scenarios
  • Journey maps
  • Identified opportunities, initiatives, and goals

Fan Personas

Who is the organization transforming for?

To define a fan scenario, you need to understand who the map is for. In each value chain, a fan is identified as one who gains value from that chain. Now, we develop fan personas – that is a representation of the fan – to gain a strong understanding of who the fan is, what they need, and their pains and gains.

One of the best ways to flesh out fan personas is to engage with the fans directly or to gather the input of those who may engage with them within the organization.

For example, to define a journey map for a fanatic fan, gather the input of fanatic fans or employees who work in the home venue that have had firsthand encounters with different fanatic fans and are able to define a common fanatic fan type.

Stock illustration of six different sports fan personas.

Info-Tech Insight

Run a survey to understand fans and develop a stronger picture of who they are and what they are seeking to gain from the organization.

The Different Types of Fan Segments

Six different fan segments that can help create fan personas:

Fanatics
  • Slightly younger than average – 37% are under 35 and most are male – 69%
  • Follow the sport in its entirety with strong emotional engagement – the sport provides them a sense of community, which is key to their enjoyment
  • Follow a range of sports but highly engaged with one. Prefer to go to a stadium to really experience the feeling of togetherness
  • Attached to their club but engaged widely beyond this, including the lower leagues
Club Loyalists
  • Older segment where 70% are 35 or older and mainly male – 66%
  • Highly engaged, long term, specific sport fans
  • Find the sport interesting/entertaining and follow the club closely
  • Emotionally invested in their club; helps provide their identity
  • Watch the sport regularly and keep fully up to date with news
(Source: European Club Association, 2020 & Tradable Bits, 2021.)

“93% of people go for the atmosphere and community that comes with sports, created by the fans.” (Stuart Dykes, SD Europe, Support Liaison Consultant, 2021)

The Different Types of Fan Segments Cont.

Six different fan segments that can help create fan personas:

Icon Imitators
  • Youngest segment where 53% are 13-34 years old and 57% are male
  • Moderate to strong sport interest, which is increasing
  • Interest in the sport because they play regularly – generally prefer playing to watching
  • Follow specific players and find them relatable
  • Not as competition focused, but enjoy big games featuring the worlds biggest and best athletes
Fear of Missing Out Followers (FOMO)
  • Relatively young where 52% are under 35 and predominately male segment at 54%
  • Moderate fans – claim to follow the sports closely but don’t identify as huge fans
  • Follow sport for social currency – something to talk about
  • Frequently engage with the sport (news, illegal streaming, sharing stories/memes) but less emotionally engaged
  • Prefer to follow the big teams, and prefer national sports over domestic for perceived high quality of entertainment that if offers

(Source: European Club Association, 2020 & Tradable Bits, 2021.)

“50-60% of ‘fans’ are not real fans, they are people who want to have an experience.” (Stuart Dykes, SD Europe, Support Liaison Consultant, 2021)

The Different Types of Fan Segments Cont.

Six different fan segments that can help create fan personas:

Main Eventers
  • Typically, older where 64% are over 35 years old and slightly more females at 52%
  • Moderate fans – keep up to date with news and watch on TV
  • Low engagement frequency which increases around big matches /tournaments
  • Less bothered about the result and more interested in the event
Tag Alongs
  • Typically older segment where 65% are over 35 years old and predominately female at 59%
  • Lightest sports fans, with low emotional and intellectual engagement
  • Prompted by friends/family or national team performance
  • Despite lower interest in the sport, most have heard of the big tournaments and are more engaged around them

(Source: European Club Association, 2020 & Tradable Bits, 2021.)

Info-Tech Insight

Sports fans range from area to area. Do not forget to determine if your fan is a domestic or national fan, otherwise you may lose out on potential engagement monetization. Domestic fans are those within your geographical area that come to or watch most games. National fans are those who are not within your geographical area but attend games when their team is visiting their geographical area.

Fan Persona & Journey Scenario

From value chain to journey scenario

Fan personas and scenarios help build empathy toward the fans. They help put the organization into the shoes of a fan and relate to their experience in order to solve problems or understand how they experience the steps or processes required to accomplish a goal. A fan persona is a valuable basis for fan journey mapping.

Visualization of a journey scenario. Someone sitting at a laptop is taking steps in the shoes of a fan.

A fan persona is a fictitious profile to represent a fan or a user segment. Creating this persona helps us understand who the fans really are and why they are using the service or product.

A fan scenario describes the situation that the journey map addresses. Scenarios can be real (for existing products and services) or anticipated.

Learn more about applying design thinking methodologies

Fan Persona: Fanatic Fan — Act. 3.1

Cartoon depiction of a Fanatic Fan. Fan demographics

Name: Harry

Age: 19

Occupation: Marketing student

Location: New York City, New York

Pains
What are their frustrations, fears, and anxieties?
  • Not being able to experience an in-person game
  • Sense of community is broken or lost from the sport
What do they need to do?
What do they want to get done? How will they know they are successful?
  • Follow the sport in its entirety with strong emotional engagement
  • A sense of community
  • Attached to their team but also engaged in other lower leagues
Gains
What are their wants, needs, hopes, and dreams?
  • Interactive content while at home or at a live game
  • A sense of community no matter where they are
  • Have full coverage on the sport and not just the specific team
(Source: European Club Association, 2020 & Tradable Bits, 2021.)

Fan Persona: Club Loyalist — Act. 3.1

Cartoon depiction of a Club Loyalist.Fan demographics

Name: Jack

Age: 45

Occupation: Car salesman

Location: New York City, New York

Pains
What are their frustrations, fears, and anxieties?
  • Due to being emotionally invested in the club, they do not want to ruin the organization or reputation it has
  • Worried the in-person experience of the game will not be as exciting or engaging
  • Using digital tools
What do they need to do?
What do they want to get done? How will they know they are successful?
  • Need to be connected to the sport as part of their identity
  • Being attracted to game-day traditions
  • Need regular engagement with their team and want to participate
Gains
What are their wants, needs, hopes, and dreams?
  • To be a long-term fan that believes in the live game experience
  • To be part of a community and identify with the team
  • Following the team closely and emotionally
  • Keep fully up-to-date with the news on their team through preferred channels

(Source: European Club Association, 2020 & Tradable Bits, 2021.)

Journey Statements

For a digital strategy, leverage the existing opportunity value chains identified in phases 1 and 2 for journey mapping.

The three trend signals identified earlier.

Their are two existing value chains to be transformed
Up to this point, value chains were identified to be transformed for stakeholder personas.

Highlighted capabilities of the value chain 'Fan Engagement Management' are 'Manage Fan & Profiles' and 'Identify New Channels', and of the chain 'Fan Success Management' is 'Fan Retention'. Each value chain stems from the 'Engage Fan' value stream.

Now that it is understood who the mapping is for, it is time to define a journey statement to capture the fan journey.

Use the following format to create a journey statement:

“As a [fan], I need to [prioritized value chain task] so that I can [desired result or overall goal].”

Cartoon depiction of a Fanatic Fan.Fanatic Fan Journey Statement — Act. 3.1

Prioritized Value Stream Prioritized Value Chain Journey Statement: Fanatic Fan Harry
Fanatic Fan Journey using 'Fan Engagement Management' with 'Identify New Channels' highlighted. As a fan, I need to identify new channels, so that I can have full coverage and stay engaged with Sport Team X.

Cartoon depiction of a Club Loyalist.Club Loyalist Journey Statement — Act. 3.1

Prioritized Value Stream Prioritized Value Chain Journey Statement: Fanatic Fan Harry
Club Loyalist Journey using 'Fan Success Management' with 'Fan Retention' highlighted. As a fan, I want to be retained by Sport Team X in an emotional way, so that I can have a sense of community and identify myself with Sport Team X.

Fan Journey Mapping to Capture Value Chains to Be Transformed

Opportunities for innovation or automation through journey mapping

A journey-based approach helps an organization understand how a fan moves through a process and interacts with the organization in the form of touchpoints, channels, and supporting characters. By identifying pain points in the journey and the activity types, it becomes possible to identify opportunities for innovation and automation along the journey.

A journey map with steps 'Awareness', 'Consideration', 'Acquisition', 'Service', and 'Loyalty', surrounded by pain points mapped to the timeline.

Embrace design-thinking methodologies to elevate the fan journey and to build a competitive advantage for your organization.

Info-Tech Insight

Marketing and IT face the challenge of delivering an exceptional fan experience globally. Fan journeys need to be understood, and that requires a robust engagement strategy to understand what satisfies fans.

Internal vs. External Fan/Stakeholder Perspective

In journey mapping, always start with the fan’s perspective, then transition into what the organization does business-wise to deliver value to each fan. It is important to keep in mind both perspectives while conducting a journey-mapping exercise as there are often different roles, processes, and technologies associated with each of the journey steps.

Fan Journey
(External Perspective)
› AWARENESS › › CONSIDERATION › › SELECTING › › NEGOTIATING › › APPROVING ›
› PREPARATION › › PROSPECTING › › PRESENTATION › › CLOSING › › FOLLOW-UP ›
Business Processes
(Internal Perspective)

Info-Tech Insight

Take the perspective of a fan, who interacts with the products and services, as it is different from the view of those inside the organization, who implement and provide those services.

Being Mindful of the Fan Engagement Process When Developing Fan Journeys

The fan engagement process is an important structure to any fan journey that leads to engagement. With engagement, the notion of fan satisfaction is transformed into an elaborate process model of loyalty. The path passes through satisfaction, commitment, delight, trust, involvement, and emotional attachment from a fan to a specific sports brand.

1. Having no captured data on a fan means they are a new fan even if they have been to the venue before. 1. New fans 2. Repeat fans ‹— 4. Fan recovery 4. If fans are not satisfied with their experience(s), the organization should go through their fan incident management process to re-engage the fans to reduce further loss.
2. Captured data on a fan indicates that they are a repeat fan. 3. Fans satisfaction with the experience(s) 4. Fan incident management
3. Satisfaction is based on the entire consumption of experiences with the sport organization where commitment will be decided on positive satisfaction with repeat fans. 3. Fans decide on commitment to team —› 4. Negative response
5. Fan delight, trust, and involvement are defined by positive results of the satisfaction, commitment, and engagement of the fan. 5. Fan delight, trust & involvement
6. The emotional attachment is the affection fans develop toward the sports team resulting in repeat, loyal, and engaged fans. 6. Emotional attachment
6. Repeat, loyal & engaged fans

Keep this in mind when developing fan journeys as this will determine how impactful and valuable the fan journeys are.

Dealing With Negative Responses From Fans and the Recovery Process

  • If fans go through an experience(s) with a sports team that provides a negative response to their commitment toward the team, the organization will have to go through a series of processes to recover that fan.
  • A negative response results in having to conduct fan incident management, which means the process of restoring fan satisfaction as fast as possible before it impacts the organization negatively. This can be done through fan feedback and response, social listening, and other initiatives.
  • When incident management occurs, its goal is to satisfy the fan and present the organization with a second chance. This is the recovery process, where the fan goes through the experience(s) with the team again only this time it hopefully results in delight, trust, and involvement.

Snapshot of The Fan Engagement Process

2. Repeat fans ‹— 4. Fan recovery
3. Fans satisfaction with the experience(s) 4. Fan incident management
3. Fans decide on commitment to team —› 4. Negative response
5. Fan delight, trust & involvement
6. Emotional attachment
6. Repeat, loyal & engaged fans

Learn more about Incident & problem management

Fan Journey Maps

The journey map refers to the steps taken to accomplish a goal.

A list of buttons. Highlighted is the first of six, 'Journey Activity'. The journey map is comprised of the steps or sequence of tasks the fan takes to accomplish their goal. These steps reflect the high-level process fans perform to complete a task or solve a problem.

There are five steps drawn as a line with five circles labelled 'Step 1' to 'Step 5' A stickman is at 'Step 1', and a flag at 'Step 5'.

Fan Journey Map: Touchpoints

Touchpoints are the points of interaction between a fan and the organization.

A list of buttons. Highlighted is the second of six, 'Touchpoints'. A touchpoint refers to any time a fan interacts with the organization or brand. Consider three main points of interaction with the fan in the journey:
  • Before: How did they find out about the organization? How did they first contact the organization to start this journey? What channels or mediums were used?
  • During: How was the sale or service accomplished?
  • After: What happened after the sale or service?

Before

  • Social media
  • Rating & reviews
  • Word of mouth
  • Advertising

During

  • Website
  • Catalog
  • Promotions
  • Point of sale
  • Phone system

After

  • Billing
  • Transactional emails
  • Marketing emails
  • Follow ups
  • Thank you emails

Fan Journey Map: Nature of Activity

Nature of activity refers to the type of task the journey activity captures.

A list of buttons. Highlighted is the third of six, 'Nature of Activity'. Nature of activity refers to the type of task the journey activity captures. Categorize the activity type in order to identify opportunities for automation. There are four main types of tasks, which in combination (as seen in the table below) capture a task or job to be automated.
Routine Non-Routine
Cognitive Routine Cognitive: repeatable tasks that rely on knowledge work. E.g. sales, administration.
Prioritize for automation (2)
Non-Routine Cognitive: infrequent tasks that rely on knowledge work. E.g. driving, fraud detection.
Prioritize for automation (3)
Manual Routine Manual: repeatable tasks that rely on physical work. E.g. manufacturing, production.
Prioritize for automation (1)
Non-Routine Manual: infrequent tasks that rely on physical work. E.g. food preparation.
Not mature for automation

Info-Tech Insight

Where automation makes sense, routine manual activities should be transformed first, followed by routine cognitive activities. Non-routine cognitive activities are the final frontier.

Fan Journey Map: Metrics

Metrics are a quantifiable measurement of a process, activity, or initiative.

A list of buttons. Highlighted is the fourth of six, 'Metrics'. Metrics are crucial to justify expenses and to estimate growth for capacity planning and resourcing. There are multiple benefits to identifying and implementing metrics in a journey map:
  • Metrics provide accurate indicators for accurate IT and business decisions.
  • Metrics help the organization identify fan touchpoint efficiencies and problems and solve issues before they become more serious.
  • Active metrics tracking makes root-cause analysis of issues much easier.

Example of Journey Mapping Metrics: Cost, effort, turn around time, throughput, Net Promoter Score (NPS), satisfaction score

Fan Journey Map: Key Moments & Pain Points

Key moments and pain points refer to the emotional status of a fan at each stake of the fan journey

A list of buttons. Highlighted is the fifth of six, 'Key Moments & Pain Points'.

The key moments are defining pieces or periods in a fan’s experience that create a critical turning point or memory.

The pain points are the critical problems that the fan is facing during the journey or business continuity risks. Prioritize identifying pain points around key moments.

The key moments and pain points that are more critical than others should be considered for prioritization.

Info-Tech Insight

To identify key moments, look for moments that can dramatically influence the quality of the journey or end the journey prematurely. To improve the experience, analyze the hidden needs and how they are or aren’t being met.

Fan Journey Map: Opportunities

An opportunity is an investment into people, process, or technology for the purposes of building or improving a business capability and accomplishing a specific organizational objective.

A list of buttons. Highlighted is the last of six, 'Opportunities'. Opportunity refers to the initiatives or projects that should address a fan pain. Opportunities should also produce a demonstrable financial impact – whether direct (e.g., cost reduction) or indirect (e.g., risk mitigation) – and be evaluated based on how technically difficult it will be to implement.

Fan

Workforce

Operations

Innovation

Create new or different experiences for fans Generate new organizational skills or ways of working Improve responsiveness and resilience of operations Develop different products or services

Cartoon depiction of a Fanatic Fan.Sports Entertainment Fan Journey: Fanatic — Act. 3.2

Stakeholder: Fanatic Fan (Harry)
Journey Statement: As a fan, I need to identify new channels so that I can have full coverage and stay engaged with Sport Team X.

Journey Activity Research interests, needs, expectations as a fan Download/follow the appropriate channels that provide satisfaction Become delighted, involved and trust the chosen channels Become attached to the channels, activating push notifications, etc. Become an engaged, loyal and repeat fan
Touchpoints
  • Research
  • Self discovery
  • Go to app store, website, etc.
  • Download/follow the channel
  • Use the channel/read the content provided
  • Enjoying the channels and turning on push notifications in settings
  • Positive commitment and emotions
  • Updated CRM/fan repository
Nature of Activity Routine cognitive Non-routine cognitive Non-routine cognitive Routine cognitive Non-routine cognitive
Metrics
  • Time to completion
  • Download rate
  • Follow rate
  • Fan satisfaction
  • Fan engagement rate
  • Fan avidity
Key Moments & Pain Points
  • Time consuming
  • Too many channels to chose from
  • Difficult to trust channels that are still unknown
  • Positive emotions and behaviors are shown
  • Having to manually activate notifications, etc.
Positive emotions toward the channels are shown to create engagement
Opportunities
  • Operations – centralized repository/CRM on fan profiles and value
  • Operations – personalized marketing initiatives
  • Customer – survey to identify what emotions and behaviors fans specifically go through to understand needs and expectations better
  • Operations – automatically activating push notifications, etc. for fans based on their fan profiles and what they are already engaging with to personalize and streamline the process of engagement
(Legend: Purple shading in “Key Moments & Pain Points” are critical areas to be considered for opportunities to prioritize.)

Cartoon depiction of a Club Loyalist.Sports Entertainment Fan Journey: Club Loyalist — Act. 3.2

Stakeholder: Club Loyalist (Jack)
Journey Statement: As a fan, I want to be retained by Sport Team X in an emotional way so that I can have a sense of community and identify myself with Sport Team X.

Journey Activity Discovery of sporting event Exploration of sporting event Purchase of sporting event items Retention to sport team Advocacy to sport team
Touchpoints
  • Research
  • Search engine
  • Venue reviews
  • Social media
  • Event dates
  • Media
  • Event tickets
  • OTT, download apps, etc.
  • Merchandise
  • Media channel following, subscribing, and downloads
  • Marketing initiatives
  • Event tracking
  • Sharing content on various channels
  • Word of mouth
  • Social media engagement
Nature of Activity Routine cognitive Routine cognitive Routine cognitive Routine cognitive Routine cognitive
Metrics
  • Search engine rate
  • Click rate
  • Fan engagement rate
  • Search engine rate
  • Click rate
  • Ticket revenues
  • App download
  • OTT purchase(s)
  • Merchandise
  • Fan avidity
  • Fan satisfaction
  • Fan engagement rate
  • Fan avidity
  • Fan satisfaction
  • Fan engagement rate
Key Moments & Pain Points
  • Low search engine rate
  • Time consuming
  • Multiple ways to purchase from the team can be overwhelming and not personal
  • Marketing initiatives are not personalized
  • Many channels to chose from
  • No reward in response to loyalty
Opportunities
  • Operations – personalized marketing initiatives
  • Operations – personalized marketing initiatives
  • Customer – create an omnichannel approach within an app to reduce the noise between different channels
  • Customer – create personalized marketing initiatives to retain fans
  • Customer – create loyalty program
(Legend: Purple shading in “Key Moments & Pain Points” are critical areas to be considered for opportunities to prioritize .)

Prioritization of Opportunities — Act. 3.3

Leverage design-thinking methods to prioritize opportunities

As there may be many opportunities arising from the journey map, prioritize ideas to identify which ones can be tackled first – or at all. Leverage IDEO’s design-thinking “three lenses of innovation” to support prioritization:

  • Feasibility: Does the organization currently have the capabilities to deliver on this opportunity? Does the organization have the right partners, resources or technology?
  • Desirability: Is this a solution the fan needs? Does it solve a known pain point?
  • Viability: Does this initiative have an impact on the financial revenue of the organization? Is it a profitable solution that will support the business model? Will this opportunity require a complex cost structure?
Opportunities Feasibility
(L/M/H)
Desirability
(L/M/H)
Viability
(L/M/H)
Create centralized repository/CRM on fan profiles and value H H H
Personalized marketing initiatives to provide preferred channels and items to the fan H H H
Activating push notifications and other initiatives automatically for fans to increase engagement and sales H M H
Create an omnichannel approach within an app to reduce the noise between different channels H H H
Loyalty program H H H

Digital Goals — Act. 3.4

What digital goals derive from the fan journey?

With the prioritized set of opportunities for each fan journey, take a step back and assess what the sum of these opportunities mean for the journey. What is the overall goal or objective of these opportunities? How do these opportunities change or facilitate the journey experience? From here, a single goal statement for each stakeholder journey is defined.

Info-Tech Insight

It is a challenge to communicate at scale and still have an impact with individual fans.

Stakeholder Journey Statement Prioritized Opportunities
Fanatic Fan As a fan, I need to identify new channels so that I can have full coverage and stay interactive with Sport Team X. Create centralized repository/CRM on fan profiles and value
Personalized marketing initiatives
Club Loyalist As a fan, I wan to be retained by sport team X in an emotional way so that I can become loyal and identify myself with Sport Team X. Create omnichannel approach in app
Create loyalty program

Digital Goal

  1. Provide personalized marketing initiatives to support fans in identifying the correct channels that provide value to them through detailed CRM.
  2. With personalized marketing and a fan-centric experience through an omnichannel app, the fan can feel part of a community they identify with.

Digital Fan Engagement Initiatives & Loyalty Programs

Marketers believe that the more rewards fans receive the more loyal they become in consuming the brand (Research Gate, 2018).

Loyalty programs are for high consumers such as club loyalists who are emotionally dedicated to the team.

The growth for loyalty programs in sports should be strictly based on relationship building rather than incentives as traditional retail stores would create.

Loyalty programs that reinforce a range of fan engagement behaviors, rather than simply providing points in return of purchasing items, tickets, etc. will be more attractive for fans and encourage positive and enduring engagement behaviors (Karg, 2021).

Creating loyalty programs for the highest-consuming fans that reward for things they already do will create high retention rates and positive word of mouth.

For example, creating incentives or rewards for certain activities such as using a certain hashtag, posting pictures on social media, or attending a certain number of live games within a year, will excite and please fans as these are things they already do in return for experiences or items they perceive to be high value. Rewards might be unique experiences in venue, free tickets and merchandise, special status at the venue, etc.

Info-Tech Insight

Loyalty programs do not just reward and retain the highest-value fans, but they also allow for new sponsorship activations on the platform and access to new fan analytics.

“We thought a fan shouldn’t be defined by how much they spend, but how much they engage with the Red Sox.” (Tim Zue, Boston Red Sox Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, n.d. (Sponsorship.com, 2017)).

Case Study

Loyalty Program – Red Sox RewardsLogo for Red Sox Rewards.
INDUSTRY: Sports Entertainment
SOURCE: Sponsorship.com, 2017 & Loyalty & Reward Co, 2021.

Challenge

Following a difficult 2011 season that saw a decline in fan satisfaction and an increase in no-show rates, the Major League Baseball team piloted Red Sox Rewards with 500 season ticket holders. “We still had strong renewal rates, but our fans started to show signs of less interest. We needed to take better care of our season ticket holders and give them more value than just their seats,” said Tim Zue, Boston Red Sox Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who started the loyalty program. The team uses the program to achieve three primary objectives:
  • Provide value
  • Drive engagement
  • Increase renewal rates

Solution

The Red Sox created Red Sox Rewards based on the growing number of companies that have found success with customer loyalty programs. But sports teams have three advantages over traditional retailers in driving customer loyalty: the opportunity to tap into a key passion point, the ability to provide more exclusive rewards (intangible experiences, etc.), and multiple platforms for fan engagement. Red Sox Rewards is designed to reward fans for what they already do and their behaviors, not how much they spend. This includes attending games, purchasing concession items, watching games on TV, and participating in contests and promotions. Members can also earn rewards points by coming to games early, staying after the seventh inning, and various other activities. Members can redeem points through the Red Sox Rewards portal, with prizes ranging from baseball jerseys and autographed photos to the opportunity to throw out the first pitch or have a private dinner with a Red Sox player, and other once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Members can redeem points in three primary ways:
  • The Red Sox Rewards marketplace (team merchandise, etc.)
  • Contests (fan of the month/year)
  • Auctions and raffles (money can’t buy experiences, etc.).

Results

After Rewards was introduced, 66% of season ticket holders modified their behavior to earn points, according to Red Sox research. The Red Sox launched the program with an RFID card but have since added a mobile component via the MLB Ballpark app. Members log points by swiping their phone at scanners in the venue (entering the venue, making purchases, etc.) or entering a special code mentioned during TV and radio broadcasts. Members can also load money on the card or app for on-site purchases. A team can expect to pay anywhere from $250,000 to a low-seven-figures annually for a rewards program, said Zue. That includes technology, prizes, and staffing costs.

Breaking Opportunities Into a Series of Initiatives

Brainstorm initiatives for each high-priority opportunity using the framework below. Describe each initiative as a plan or action to take to solve the problem.

The word 'Opportunity' points to a Venn diagram of 'People', 'Technology', and 'Process' with 'Initiatives' at the center.

People: What initiatives are required to manage people, data, and other organizational factors that are impacted by this opportunity?

Process: What processes must be created, changed, or removed based on the data?

Technology: What systems are required to support this opportunity?

Opportunity-to-Initiative Map — Act. 3.5

Prioritized Opportunities Technology Initiative People Initiative Process Initiative
Create and implement centralized repository/CRM on fan profiles and value Acquire and implement CRM system Train staff in IT and marketing on functionality and how to utilize the system Periodically review and validate the data in CRM
Training on how to create personalized marketing initiatives Utilize CRM system to collect data on fans to enhance personalized marketing Provide training on CRM tools to create the automated personalized marketing Stop all manual marketing initiatives that are not personalized or targeted; validate and review automated personalized marketing to ensure personalization
Implement an omnichannel approach within an app Acquire and implement omnichannel and mobile application technology Train staff in IT and marketing on functionality and how to utilize the system Remove previously used sales approach (ex. multi-channel) and integrate other tech and data points with the omnichannel app technology
Create and implement a loyalty program Acquire and implement a loyalty program software, CRM system data and collection Train IT and marketing on loyalty program software and how the CRM system plays an important role Integrate the CRM system with the loyalty program and omnichannel app technology to create a fan-centric experience

Info-Tech Insight

Ruthlessly evaluate if an initiative should stand alone or if it can be rolled up with another. Fewer initiatives or opportunities will increase focus and alignment, allowing for better communication.

Info-Tech Insight

Using the right tools and analytics to efficiently capture and use fan data is a vital component to any digital fan engagement strategy.

AN INDUSTRY DIGITAL STRATEGY OPPORTUNITY REPORT PHASE 4

Digital Transformation Map

  • Detailed initiatives & Timeline
  • Goals Cascade

Initiative Profiles for Each High-Priority Initiative on the Strategy

Example:

Add the initiative name and its value statement.

Although it will be difficult to get an accurate estimate for time and dollars required for initiatives while building the strategy, a ballpark within + / - 100% of the actual will help to begin to budget and scope the roadmap.

Screenshot of the example initiative profile on following slide.
Brainstorm risks and dependencies for this initiative. These could be external or internal risks or dependencies on other initiatives or resources.

Outline the benefits achieved by completing this initiative. Think about the specific capabilities or strategic goals they will help support.

Add the key initiative category it belongs to.

Brainstorm who would be the main stakeholders involved in the initiative.

1. Acquire and Implement a CRM System — Act. 4.1

Acquire and implement a customer relationship management system that allows for documentation, tracking, reporting, automation, and delivery of personalized marketing through fan profiles and value across the organization’s community.

Incremental Cost:

$0 LABOR

$10,000 SYSTEMS

$0 CONTRACTS

$10,000 TOTAL

Initiative Description:
  • A new or enhanced CRM system will enable personalized marketing initiatives that will activate for other opportunities. Training and development on the CRM tools and their functionality for IT and marketing staff will improve cross-functional collaboration and how we engage fans, which is a key outcome of this initiative.
Project Timeline:

Example project timeline split into quarters, with the marker reading from 'Q1 2022' to halfway through 'Q2 2022'.

CIO comments:

“A CRM system that allows for better data and automated personalized marketing initiatives will allow for us to create better experiences for fans to lead into higher engagement which goes in hand with our fan engagement strategy.”

Primary Business Benefits:

Up Arrow.
Increase collaboration and knowledge between departments

Other Expected Business Benefits:

Up Arrow.
Enhanced data based on fan profiles and value opportunities
Down Arrow.
Automated marketing initiatives lower labor costs and free up staff time for other tasks
Up Arrow.
More opportunities are showcased and developed
Initiative Category:

01 Business Support

Risks:
  • Ongoing maintenance and data quality assurance
Dependencies:
  • CRM vendor
  • Training
  • Development program
Project Team
  • Business Sponsor: Daniel
  • IT Sponsor: Jessica
  • PM: Alex

(Note: the information here is not accurate, where the cost, timeline, etc. do not reflect real life precisely.)

2. Provide Training on CRM Tools About How to Create Personalized Marketing — Act. 4.1

Providing training and development on the CRM system that is chosen will not only set the IT and marketing staff up for success but also show staff how to effectively use data to develop personalized marketing initiatives to create fan-centric experiences that result in high-value engagement.

Incremental Cost:

$10,000 LABOR

$0 SYSTEMS

$0 CONTRACTS

$10,000 TOTAL

Initiative Description:
  • Training and development on the CRM system will create automated personalized marketing initiatives. The training and development on this CRM will allow for world-class, cross-functional collaboration to provide the highest value fan-centric experiences.
Project Timeline:

Example project timeline split into quarters, with the marker reading 'Q2, 2022'.

CIO comments:

“Training and development on the CRM system will be a key driver of the CRM implementation initiative to improve overall marketing, engagement, and other areas that are critical to success.”

Primary Business Benefits:

Up Arrow.
Marketing initiatives become automated and personalized to each fan

Other Expected Business Benefits:



Up Arrow.
Operational efficiencies in marketing are improved
Up Arrow.
Collaboration between departments is improved
Up Arrow.
Increased sales due to personalized marketing
Up Arrow.
Enhanced fan engagement due to fan-centric approach
Initiative Category:

02 Training and Development

Risks:
  • Due to pandemic, training and development may be asynchronous causing educational barriers for some staff.
Dependencies:
  • CRM software
  • Staff will need own devices for training if asynchronous
Project Team
  • Business Sponsor: Daniel
  • IT Sponsor: Jessica
  • PM: Alex
  • Human Resources Sponsor: Leah
  • Training and Development Specialist from Vendor

(Note: the information here is not accurate, where the cost, timeline, etc. do not reflect real life precisely.)

3. Acquire and Implement Omnichannel and Mobile Application Technology — Act. 4.1

Acquire and implement omnichannel and mobile application technology within the organization to create and maintain a consistent, seamless fan experience by optimizing operations within an omnichannel framework.

Incremental Cost:

$0 LABOR

$10,000 SYSTEMS

$0 CONTRACTS

$10,000 TOTAL

Initiative Description:
  • Allows fans to interact with the organization on their own terms from one simple channel that provides a holistic experience. It fulfills the fan’s needs at every touchpoint providing functionality and personalized experiences. Designed to create a fluid, fan-centric experience across multiple touchpoints in one app.
Project Timeline:

Example project timeline split into quarters, with the marker reading from 'Q2 2022' to the end of 'Q3 2022'.

CIO comments:

“This technology was requested from the head of IT and marketing.”

Primary Business Benefits:

Up Arrow.
Increased knowledge about the fan due to one central hub of data coming from multiple touchpoints

Other Expected Business Benefits:



Up Arrow.
Creating a fan-centric experience
Up Arrow.
Increased sales due to shared data across all touchpoints
Up Arrow.
Create more organized and efficient operations
Initiative Category:

01 Business Support

Risks:
  • Ongoing maintenance and data quality assurance
Dependencies:
  • Omnichannel software vendor
  • Training
  • Development program
Project Team
  • Business Sponsor: Daniel
  • IT Sponsor: Jessica
  • PM: Alex

(Note: the information here is not accurate, where the cost, timeline, etc. do not reflect real life precisely.)

4. Acquire and Implement Loyalty Program Software — Act. 4.1

Acquire and implement loyalty program software that engages and rewards high-value fans for what they are already doing through the value dimensions of entertainment, sense of community, and special treatment.

Incremental Cost:

$0 LABOR

$10,000 SYSTEMS

$0 CONTRACTS

$10,000 TOTAL

Initiative Description:
  • A loyalty program will allow high valued fans to be rewarded for behaviors they already do and enhance commitment and engagement with the team. Training and development on this technology will result in the understanding of how a loyalty program integrates into other tech and data pieces the organization must develop an even deeper and holistic fan experience that results in higher fan engagement.
Project Timeline:

Example project timeline split into quarters, with the marker reading from 'Q2 2022' to the end of 'Q3 2022'.

CIO comments:

“This initiative will improve overall engagement, loyalty, and retain more high-value fans, which goes hand in hand with the digital fan engagement strategy vision and key targets for the organization.”

Primary Business Benefits:

Up Arrow.
Increase in fan loyalty, commitment, and engagement through loyalty program initiative

Other Expected Business Benefits:



Up Arrow.
Increase in profits due to loyalty program incentives
Up Arrow.
Increase in fan engagement behaviors due to loyalty program incentives
Up Arrow.
Enhanced and holistic experiences for high value fans
Initiative Category:

01 Business Support

Risks:
  • Ongoing maintenance and data quality assurance
Dependencies:
  • Loyalty program software vendor
  • Loyalty program success
  • Training
  • Development program
Project Team
  • Business Sponsor: Daniel
  • IT Sponsor: Jessica
  • PM: Alex

(Note: the information here is not accurate, where the cost, timeline, etc. do not reflect real life precisely.)

Visualize the Digital Fan Engagement Strategy With a Roadmap — Act. 4.2

Visual representations of data are more compelling than text alone.

Develop a high-level document that travels with the initiative from inception through to executive inquiry, project management, and execution.

An initiative needs to be discrete – you must be able to conceptualize and discuss it as an independent item. Each initiative must have three characteristics:

  • Specific outcome: Describe an explicit change in the people, processes, or types of technology of the enterprise.
  • Target end date: Specification of when the described outcome will be in effect.
  • Owner: Who on the IT team is responsible for executing on the initiative?

Digital Transformation – Goal 1

Provide personalized marketing initiatives to support fans in identifying the correct channels that provide value through a detailed CRM.

2022
Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
Create and implement CRM for fan profiles and value
Train staff in IT and marketing on how to use system Review and validate data in CRM
Acquire and implement CRM system
Training on how to create personalized marketing initiatives
Train staff on CRM tools to create automated personalized marketing Utilize CRM system to collect data on fans
Stop all manual marketing initiatives, validate new automated marketing initiatives

People

Process

Technology

A Digital Fan Engagement Strategy Should Align With the IT Strategy

As a CIO, the role is to enable an IT Strategy that aligns with the digital fan engagement strategy.

  • A Digital Fan Engagement Strategy focuses on improving fan experience and business operations in support of the business objectives.
  • An IT Strategy outlines how technology can be used to meet IT and business goals.

Through a digital fan engagement strategy, an organization can accelerate value generation as well as optimize business operations to build business resilience while simultaneously enhancing fan engagement.

In order to ensure the success of a digital fan engagement strategy, the digital goals and initiatives outlined in that strategy must be supported by, and aligned to, an IT Strategy.

A Digital Fan Engagement Strategy Holistically Impacts the Business

Sport Team X elicited a goals cascade to identify the organizational goals, initiatives, and capabilities, mapped back to IT goals, initiatives, capabilities.

Organization Goals————›
Achieved Through
Organization Initiatives————›
Create or Improve
Organization Capabilities‹———›
Support
IT Capabilities‹————
Create or Improve
IT Initiatives‹————
Achieved Through
IT Goals
Attract & retain fansInvest in technologies to improve fan entertainment, engagement, and global reachFan Scoring
  • Define fan risks
  • Check fan value
  • Data architecture
  • Knowledge management
  • Acquire and implement CRM system
  • Train staff in IT and marketing on how to utilize the CRM
  • Review and validate the data in CRM
  • Collect data on fans to enhance personalized marketing
  • Provide training to create the automated personalized marketing
  • Stop all manual marketing initiatives that are not personalized and validate the automated personalized marketing

1

Provide personalized marketing initiatives to support fans in identifying the channels that provide value to them through detailed CRM.
Improve globalizationInvest in fan engagement roles/customer services/technologiesFan Success Management
  • Increase fan lifetime value
  • Avoid fan churn
  • Define & manage upsells
  • Fan retention
  • Loyalty management
  • Performance measurement and management
  • Risk management
  • Enterprise architecture
  • Stakeholder relations
  • Service management
Create meaningful relationships with fans that are personalized and not just transactional
  • Acquire and implement omnichannel and mobile application technology
  • Train staff in IT and marketing on how to utilize the system
  • Remove previously used sales approach and integrate other tech and data points
  • Acquire and implement loyalty program software, CRM system data, and collection
  • Train IT and marketing on loyalty program software
  • Integrate the CRM system with the loyalty program and omnichannel app technology

2

With personalized marketing and a fan-centric experience through an omnichannel app, the fan can feel part of a community they identify with.
Build a sustainable future of sportsGenerate indirect and direct revenues through monetization of data and analyticsFan Engagement Management
  • Identify and manage fans
  • Manage fan and profiles
  • Identify new channels
  • Business intelligence and reporting
  • Data quality
  • Business value

Report Summary

Sport Team X’s Digital Transformation

Your organization now has an extensive understanding of what would be involved in a digital fan engagement strategy for a sports organization such as Sport Team X. You now recognize the impact a digital fan engagement strategy can have on internal and external environments. Your organization now has background knowledge on what a digital fan engagement strategy can look like based upon Sport Team X and its prioritized value chains, trends, and signals, and the positive impact it imposed on the value chains.

Once Sport Team X identified the value chains and the impact the trends and signals have on it, the organization created fan profiles and journey mapping to familiarize itself with the different fan personas to have a good understanding of who its target audience is. It then prioritized opportunities and defined digital goals and broke them down into a series of initiatives to roadmap its digital fan engagement strategy.

Essentially, Sport Team X can now be strategically holistic around fan engagement in the sports entertainment industry due to this strategy, which will be key to success in the digital economy.

If you would like additional support, have our analysts guide you through other phases as part of an Info-Tech workshop.

Contact your account representative for more information.

workshops@infotech.com 1-888-670-8889

Additional Support

If you would like additional support, have our analysts guide you through other phases as part of an Info-Tech workshop.

Photo of Elizabeth Silva.Photo of Dana Daher.

Contact your account representative for more information.

workshops@infotech.com 1-888-670-8889

To accelerate this project, engage your IT team in an Info-Tech workshop with an Info-Tech analyst team.

Info-Tech analysts will join you and your team at your location or welcome you to Info-Tech’s historic Toronto office to participate in an innovative onsite workshop.

The following are sample activities that will be conducted by Info-Tech analysts with your team:

Sample of the value chain prioritization activity from this blueprint.
Value Chain Prioritization
Conduct a value chain prioritization session to define which processes within the various value chains pose the highest pain/risk and financial impact to your organization.
Sample of the fan persona profiling activity from this blueprint.
Fan Persona Profiling
Discuss the different fan segments and questions with your key decision makers and see how your answers create the different fan personas for your organization and journey mapping.

Utilize This Strategy Context Report as an Input to Different Blueprints

Digital Fan Engagement Strategy Context Report

Reference Architecture Reference Architecture for Sports Entertainment Capability Maps Key Capabilities Prioritize Capability Gaps
IT Strategy Build a Business-Aligned IT Strategy Current State Strategic Initiative Plan Foundational Elements
Design Thinking Adopt Design Thinking in Your Organization Requirements Service Design Design Centricity
Digital Strategy Define Your Digital Business Strategy Innovate the Business Transform Processes Enhance Customer Interactions

As part of a next-steps checklist, identify how you would like to use this strategy context report. It can be used as a standalone report, or an input to digital strategy, IT strategy, design thinking, reference architecture, and/or more.

Research Contributors and Experts

Zack Klima
CEO
WaitTime

Allan Hamilton
Founder
Fanoramas

Bob Lawson
Founder and Director
Kumulos Fan Engagement Platform

Kevin Rye
Professor & Owner of Think Fan Engagement and University Campus of Football Business (UCFB)

Stuart Dykes
Support Liaison Consultant
SD Europe

Adam Karg
Associate Professor & President of the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand
Swinburne University of Technology

Costa Kladianos
VP of Innovation & Technology
Canlan Sports

Anonymous Contributor
Marketing Specialist
Fan Engagement Platform Vendor

Dana Daher
Senior Research Analyst
CIO Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Christoph Sonnen
Co-Founder & CEO
leAD Sports & Health Tech Partners

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Authors

Elizabeth Silva

Dana Daher

Contributors

  • Zack Klima, CEO, Waitime
  • Allan Hamilton, Founder, Fanoramas
  • Bob Lawson, Founder & Director, Kumulos Fan Engagement Platform
  • Kevin Rye, Professor, University Campus of Football Business (UCFB) & Owner, Think Fan Engagement
  • Adam Karg, Associate Professor, Swinburne University of Technology & President of the Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand
  • Costa Kladianos, VP of Innovation & Technology, Canlan Sports
  • Dana Daher, Senior Research Analyst, CIO Practice, Info-Tech Research Group
  • Christoph Sonnen, Co-Founder & CEO, leAD Sports & Health Tech Partners
  • Anonymous Contributor, Marketing Specialist, Fan Engagement Platform Vendor

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