At Sportego we believe in the great power of sport to engage and bring people together in a positive way. As Michael Parkinson once said on a Second Captains podcast, Sport “is not war, or death, or famine – it’s not that at all. It’s the opposite of that. It’s to persuade us of a life outside of that… that’s why sport’s important.” While the loyalty and attention of fans to their club has never been in question, sporting organisations have not always reciprocated that loyalty. Progressive teams are changing that, taking the time to listen to and engage with fans. Social Media offers tremendous possibilities to do that, so long as it is used as an authentic two way communication tool, and not just a broadcast channel.
In this weekly article, we bring you the five best Fan Engagement posts we came across in the past week, all great examples of how sports stars and organisations are engaging with their fans on social media. In other words, “Doing it Right”.
This message from Thomas Bjorn, the European Rider Cup 2018 captain, certainly entertained. We have all harboured dreams of starring for our favourite teams on the world’s biggest sports stages, but alas for most of us that is unrealised! Stephen’s talents will be missed at France’s Le Golf National course this year.
— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) April 23, 2018
Every young fan’s dream is to walk out with their favourite team, to the cheers of the fans. In addition to welcoming young fans from all walks of life, for many clubs, their mascot program provides a great opportunity to give sick fans a day they will never forget. However, some kids are too sick to be able to attend the game themselves and that is where technology has stepped in. Everton this week used technology developed by No Isolation to bring the Goodison experience to sick Jack. Massive congratulations to all at Everton FC, No Isolation and the Well Child charity.
— Everton (@Everton) April 23, 2018
Aston Villa are having a tremendous season, and this week announced a new kit deal. One aspect which makes this deal different from others is their involvement of LUKE 1977, a contemporary men’s fashion label led by a lifelong Aston Villa fan in the design process. Replica jerseys are vital part of fan identity for many supporters, and Villa have made a conscious effort to not just go with the cheapest route available to them, and instead use it as a touch point with their local fans.
— Aston Villa FC (@AVFCOfficial) April 23, 2018
This Dele Alli tweet saying he was playing Fortnite live on Twitch was greeted by some predictable ‘Maybe he should be concentrating on his football’ responses but never the less, fans can expect to see more of their favourite sports stars getting involved in eSports over the coming months. For every follower who mocked Alli for broadcasting himself playing games in the aftermath of an FA Cup defeat, there will be an eSports fan who becomes aware of him and boosts his profile.
Players of Alli’s age are often massive eSports fans, and FIFA is not the game they are exclusively playing. While the crossover for clubs wanting to get involved in eSports is obviously easier when FIFA is the game being played, as we heard at our recent Fan Engagement Conference in Dublin, FIFA isn’t yet regarded as a traditional eSports game due to gameplay limitations. It remains to be seen if that perspective will change with more and more clubs getting involved in the space.
— Dele (@dele_official) April 26, 2018
Liverpool enjoyed a tremendous 5-2 win over AS Roma in the Champions League this week. However it was marred by horrible behaviour from some Roma fans in the buildup, which left an Irish Reds fan in critical condition in hospital. Our best wishes are with him and his family. On the field, Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlaide-Chamberlain suffered an injury which will rule him out for the remainder of the season which could include a Champions League Final, and also England’s World Cup campaign. His comments after the games about the injured fan showed remarkable perspective for a 24 year old who was clearly devastated. That attitude was not lost on the Liverpool fans who responded to his message.
— Alex Ox-Chamberlain (@Alex_OxChambo) April 25, 2018