Professional sports teams, from the 49ers to The Golden State Warriors, are releasing mobile apps for sports fans. Basic apps include player stats, game schedules and promotional offers. But, to build real fan loyalty, the apps need much more. What’s the secret to driving fan loyalty from a mobile app, the so-called second screen?
Fan loyalty means building a community around the team, to make the fans feel like stakeholders. If they’re given a voice, that platform to make a connection, then that’s where their loyalty lays. The formula for fandom in a mobile world is creating a social layer, connecting fan to fan, fan to team, and team to fan. To really drive fan loyalty, mobile apps need to be social.
TIBCO just released the Golden State Warriors app. From a fan loyalty “give to get” perspective, it gives fans the usual news updates, player stats, a calendar of events, tweets and promotional offers. But, we’re adding the social layer as well. For example, fans can access a fan page with interactive polls where they can vote for the best player of the night. In return for “likes” and “dislikes,” the Warriors receive feedback and data from their fans to improve their experience.
But, the innovation doesn’t have to stop there.
What makes a traditional diehard fan continue to support the team, year after year, even after a long losing streak? The psychological principles driving fans to continue to follow a team include deep-rooted community-based rituals, fan bonding with the team and players, group affiliation or bonding with friends over the game, as well as the pure entertainment value.
With these principles in mind, let’s look at where we are now and where we could be in the future.
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