By Omar Figueroa
The passion our soccer fans have for their respected soccer teams is enough for soccer fans to continue to attend matches, even if the clubs only gave away free partner sponsorship t-shirts during halftime or have a halftime show with a luck selected soccer fan try to score a goal from half field. Both fan engagement strategies are time-tested, but our soccer fans are in the current Generation Z and are accustomed during the 15 minutes of halftime to Snapchat a photo to friends or upload video stories to Instagram. We have to meet our soccer fans where they are at and going.
Soccer fans are the nucleus of the soccer business, without our amazing soccer fans we (clubs, players, and marketing companies) are another Sunday league where we meet with our families to watch and play the beautiful game. With my experiences of attending various MLS & LIGA MX matches in the last year, I have noticed soccer clubs could implement several strategies to enhance fan engagement.
- Connect with Fans Using Social Media (Snapchat/Instagram)
Majority of our soccer fans are on social media and clubs at times don’t maximum the opportunity to conduct fan engagement effectively on various social media platforms. For example, before a match a Social Media Coordinator sends a video/photo through Snapchat/Instagram Story with club mascot inviting club fans to the pregame fan-zone and along with the first 10 people respond with the correct answer to a team fact question will be given free tickets to the next home game.
Fan engagement is about meeting our soccer fans at home, phone, and match. Social Media Coordinators should creatively think about ways on how to conduct fan engagement on social media by using meaningful giveaways and invitations to team events before and after matches to make sure club fans know you are connected with them every single step of the way.
(Add brief paragraph maybe about # use, or using # and sending in a photo of you in jersey out in the community.
Clubs can host a $1,000 scholarship contest to local college students where they upload their submitted videos per certain rules/criteria. Target the marketing, video, or communications majors.)
- Meaningful Giveaways
The days of giving away a cotton t-shirt from club sponsorship were actually ten years ago and our fans don’t need more free cheap t-shirts. Soccer fans need an incentive to participate in the match and to be apart of the match day experience.
So what should we giveaway? Materials of value, material which soccer fans are not expecting. What is a material of value fans are not expecting? Dinner with players, an invitation to closed-door team practice for the upcoming week, designated #1 fan of the match with VIP seating, or travel for next away match.
- Theme Match Events
The clubs younger fans love to participate and be a part of themed events. Children love to participate in themed events because it gives children the opportunity to explore possibilities of finding memorable experiences during their lifetime as a soccer fan.
For example, clubs could have a best dress event for the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) Theme, during halftime kids could participate on egg hunt throughout the game field for Easter, or section of the stadium with the best Halloween costumes. There are themes for every day of the week, and who knows; clubs might be able to start a tradition.
- Pre & Post Match Events
Soccer Fans usually get some food or drinks before the game and food tents/trucks to be made available outside the stadium could add additional revenue. For one or two games a season the club should host a BBQ or Lemonade Drink stand before a hot summer afternoon match. After the match, the club should get into the habit of having a post-game event with music, games, and meaningful giveaways for club fans to continue the match party or have a place to share some drinks with fellow club fans. In Mexico, the post-match event could look different because of fan security, but the idea of hosting a BBQ in a secure area outside the stadium is the perfect way to conduct fan engagement after the game.
In conclusion, a club’s goals throughout the week is to conduct fan engagement with the purpose of promoting meaningful giveaways, strategic themed events, and club pre/post-match events. Club’s Social Media Coordinators have the power to conduct fan engagement daily with the leverage of social media and strategic event planning.
About the Author
Omar Figueroa is committed to helping people, from students to professional athletes of all ages and backgrounds. Omar’s areas of expertise are athletic counseling, mental performance, and higher education. For more information on Omar Figueroa please visit www.futbol-marketing.com.
About Futbol Marketing Group
Futbol Marketing Group is a soccer dedicated sports marketing agency working with professional soccer teams and players throughout North and Latin America. Our three main areas of focus are: 1.) providing talent representation, as well as, offering our in-house Sports Science Specialists and Mental Conditioning Coaches 2.) offering sponsorship and hospitality packages for the corporate client and 3.) sourcing exhibition matches and events for teams. For more information, visit www.futbol-marketing.com.