Engaging Sports Fans Behind The Screen

In the world of sports broadcasting, where every moment counts and every emotion is amplified, a golden opportunity is waiting to be seized. Yet, it largely remains untouched, untapped, or simply unrealized. We're talking about the power of fan engagement beyond the screen.

Let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a sports telecast viewer: a thrilling match unfolds before your eyes, the tension palpable, the excitement contagious. But wait, there's more. Imagine being able to participate actively, to have your voice heard, and to have your opinions counted. That's the promise of leveraging technology that is integrated into the broadcast without friction.

The key here is distinguishing between ‘Engagement’ and ‘Entertainment’. Entertainment is delivering content to an audience for consumption in a one-way street. However, Engagement is a two-way street that adds audience interaction into the experience, making it more immersive and memorable.

By The Numbers

By as early as 2030, millennials will increasingly dominate consumer spending patterns, with Gen Zs right behind them– and it's time to prepare accordingly. Creating more engaging sports broadcasts can boost sports viewerships for both of these generations. For example, a recent survey shows that adding immersive visuals like AR graphics and other visual elements to sports broadcasts boosts viewer engagement by 79% for sports fans and makes them 57% more likely to watch for longer. Among millennials, 65% find virtual sets in sports commentary enhancing. For Gen Z, this rises to 63%. Additionally, 29% say these features make them more likely to tune in to future broadcasts by the same broadcaster.

Setting the obvious aside– curving the imminent drop in viewership and promoting a more active viewing experience, there are a couple of other benefits of engaging with the fans behind the screen. Let’s take a look:

Direct Fan Engagement Promotes Loyalty

Sports is inherently viewer-centric, with fans eager to voice their opinions. Previously, we may have lacked the technology to connect fans in the stands with those watching from their couches, but we have the means to seamlessly integrate them today. For example, engagement campaigns such as voting polls and surveys empower fans to choose their “Player of the Match” in real-time. And UGC campaigns enable fans at home to be a part of the crowd in the stadium. In 2024, most fans instinctively reach for their phones during telecasts. Leveraging this need for a second screen experience enhances their viewing, immersing them in the broadcast like never before.

The Access to Invaluable First-Party Data

Introducing an entry form at the start of these campaigns opens endless possibilities to know exactly who is behind the screen. From learning about your viewers' demographics and spending habits to gaining insights into their preferences, such as their favourite sports, teams, and athletes. Knowing your viewers allows you to super-serve them. This is data you own that can be used to further refine the content you broadcast and the viewership experience. This is data that teams can use to drive ticket and merchandise sales through retargeting. This is data for creating exceptional partnerships with advertisers.

The Endless Sponsorship Opportunities

The sky is the limit regarding what kind of engagement campaigns you can create for your viewers. And so is the opportunity to brand the campaign with your advertiser’s assets. By aligning with the excitement of the game, brands can enhance their visibility and foster meaningful connections with sports fans. This will result in heightened brand awareness and affinity. Moreover, the consent-first data you collect and own is another asset you can offer to the sports teams and partners. 

So How Do You Do It?

QR codes – as easy as that. A simple QR code that pops up on the screen for fans to scan, leading them to a landing page with your campaign. In 2022 Coinbase aired a mysterious floating QR code for their Super Bowl commercial. This resulted in 20 million website visits in just 60 seconds. And you can leverage this same natural curiosity fans possess of scanning QR codes to find out what’s behind them. In case you missed it, we covered how you can use QR codes to drive your fan marketing initiatives in a previous blog

To conclude, let’s hear from our VP of Business Development in Asia, Maurizio Barbieri:


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