Thanks to the combination of fast internet, smartphones and social media, today’s fans are always connected and even, some have argued, “hyper digitalised”, voicing their passion on Twitter, Facebook and every other social network out there. As a result, many of us now watch games while bantering with other fans on our mobile phones – the so-called “second screen – and Facebook reports that of the 1.3 billion-plus people on Facebook, 500 million are “hardcore football fans”.
As a result, social media is a critical connection not only between clubs and fans – but the attraction and retention of new fans – allowing sporting organisations to amplify their messages, discuss and interact with supporters, potentially strengthen team identification and successfully grow their fan base. But how many clubs are truly realising the influence of social media on sport and harnessing its value when it comes to fan loyalty?
Sports clubs have long recognised they can’t rest on their laurels when it comes to engaging with their fans. Gone are the days when your dad and grandad’s favourite club becomes, by default, yours. The younger generation are much harder to reach and win over as loyal fans – they have been granted easy access to a global playing field, with local football teams now competing for fans against the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United.
Not that it’s an easy win. Today’s sports fans are more on the ball than ever when it comes to sponsors; a recent global survey found that while most don't object to sponsorship, more than eight in ten believe that fans are not front of mind when sponsors make deals with players or teams.
In an exciting 2018 so far, award-winning sports rewards company, Rewards4, has continued to grow its reach in terms of the number of programmes and the number of sports in which it operates.
As well as providing a valuable loyalty currency for sports fans, Rewards4’s unique platform continues to provide sports clubs, racecourses and governing bodies with a proven money saving and fan engagement tool.
In a bid to strengthen their fan engagement and benefit programmes, a raft of county cricket clubs and cricketing brands have recently signed up to Rewards4Cricket – the loyalty programme dedicated to cricket fans.
Worcestershire, Warwickshire and world-renowned England supporters’ club, Barmy Army, have joined existing Rewards4Cricket partners – Glamorgan, Durham and Hampshire - to help supporters save money on tickets and memberships at a level never before seen in the sport.