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Here’s How to Instill Loyalty in Sports Fans

Steve Shoup

A fair-weather fan is literally someone who will come out to the ball park if the weather is nice. But will opt to stay home on a cold or rainy day. For such a fan, loyalty is defined by the weather forecast. But many sports are played in the rain, snow, and sleet, as well as bright sunlight. There has to be a way of predicting ticket sales by means other than the thermometer.

When you think about it, fair-weather fandom makes a lot of sense. After all, no one wants to sit outside for three hours or more in inclement weather rooting for a team that stands an excellent chance of losing. What kind of person does that?

On top of that, the price of the ticket is astronomical. According to Investopedia:

The average cost for a family of four to attend a game, purchase food and drinks, park the car and come away with a baseball cap or two is $207.68 (Subtract $18 if you already have your favorite team’s hat).

Teams that fill their stadiums for every home game regardless of record have figured it out. Here is what every other team needs to know:

Create Loyalty Through Analytics

While analytics does not make anyone loyal, it does help you better direct your marketing efforts. Every fan is a potential customer. And every person who has ever bought a ticket is a customer. Once you get onboard with that, you can apply all the traditional business tools for determining how well you are doing with customer retention and new customer acquisition.

CRM software is one of those business tools well suited for the job. Choosing the right one can make all the difference. It is one thing to say that a particular product is the best. And it is quite another to decide which product is best for you. The most important decision you will make is which CRM product to use. Removing the guesswork helps you make better decisions about which customers to target for loyalty programs, and when.

Create VIP Experiences

Sometimes we forget that VIP means very important person. It is a helpful reminder that every one of your customers is a very important person. And it is incumbent on the business owner to figure out how to convey that message to the customer, before, during, and after the point of sale.

Providing exclusive perks and customized experiences is one way to do that. But mind that you don’t make the perks too exclusive. You have to remember that every person is important. Therefore, everyone has to feel special in some way.

Obviously, not everyone is going to get to join their favorite sports team in the pregame tunnel before kickoff like the Washington Redskins do for some of their long-time fans. But it doesn’t take that much to make a customer feel special. An email the next day thanking fans for attending might be all it takes to turn a disappointing loss into a special memory.

Make the Team a Part of the Community

If the only time a person sees the team is at the ballpark on gamely, it is easy to push it to the back of the mind. As they say, out of sight, out of mind. You have to find creative ways to keep the team in sight, and thus, at top of mind.

Many tackle this by having players do public service TV spots. Some participate in school programs and charitable events. The possibilities are endless. It is up to you to deploy your team in such a way that they are more visible in the community. If a team cares when the city is struggling. The city will care when the team is struggling.

Of course, the best way to achieve loyalty is by feeding the fans a steady diet of victories and championships. But at the end of the day, those are not the best fans to have. No team wins all the time. Losing streaks happen just like winning streaks. And it will not always be sunny. So develop loyalty through better analytics. Make everyone feel like a very important person. And make the team a part of the community.

 

 



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