As sports teams and organizations across the world are gearing up to start play without fans, these same organizations are also determining what that fan experience is going to be when fans start attending again. Many sports organizations are focused on locking in revenue from existing fans – keeping those season ticket payments coming in on schedule – or more operationally looking at how the facilities and the fans can be kept safe and healthy.
But there’s a middle ground between today (when teams are trying to lock in revenue) and that time when the first fans walk back into the arenas. That gap between the financial rush now and the facility rush weeks or months from now is a huge gap in time. That gap needs to be filled with relationship-building efforts. That lapse in onsite engagement is something sports organizations need to view strategically as an opportunity to learn more about their fans, develop relationships with their fans, and provide value to their fans.
“Sports organizations need tailored Touch Point Plans to individual fans and fan types right now“
We’ve provided fan retention consulting and research services to sports organizations since the early 2000s, and we’ve found that too often sports organizations get stuck in the mindset only focused on sales and marketing, exclusively using push communications. But this COVID-19 world requires a longer term mindset. It requires an understanding that relationships need to be built even when that fan is not experiencing the event itself.
Sports organizations need tailored Touch Point Plans to individual fans and fan types right now. Those Touch Points should be minimal on sales and marketing, and instead maximizing focus on providing information of value and asking customers questions so you can learn about them, their mindset, and their situations.
Get to know your individual fans better now, at this moment. Get to know how they’re feeling and how those feelings are trending over time. Understand their anticipated behaviors, and begin addressing those barriers to return…now. Don’t create your operations in a vacuum, and assume that an open facility will be filled with the same fans that were there months ago. Get moving on Fan Relationship Development.