6 “SMART” fan engagement tools for 2017!

2016 has come to an end and it is time to embrace 2017 with the best tools sports marketers can apply. I have gathered the best of the best inventions from the past year that might boost your success this year and I hope you will find some great inspiration for an awesome year of fan engagement!

1. “Smart jersey”

A really cool invention by the Tampa Bay Lightning who embedded an RFID chip into the sleeve of all season ticket holders’ jerseys. By giving out these to their loyal season ticket holders, they transformed the jersey into what I would like to call a “smart jersey”. If fans were wearing it to the game they would get 25% off in the club store and on all concession stands. Thanks to this invention the stadium gets more “dressed up” in team colors, which enhances fan experience and more season tickets gets sold.

2. “VR sports museum”

Virtual Reality (VR) has truly become hype and an incredible experience to interact with.The Minnesota Vikings have upgraded the old-fashioned sports museum experience into something more exciting and high tech. 10 000 square feet of a trip through history in VR couldn’t be more fan interacting and interesting!! This technology gives fans an experience that they will never forget and they offer it for free before, during and after games.

3. “Social sport media”

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook have shown their potential of live broadcasting sports like NFL, football (soccer) and a lot more during 2016 and this is just the beginning. We are more and more connected each year and the ease of doing everything on our smartphone is amazing! This year will allow us to watch our favorite sport wherever we are on our phone while we are messaging and tweeting. The ease to share content and now sports is here to stay.

“We’re all about adapting and making it easy for our fans to engage with the team, meeting them where they are. Facebook has proven to be one of our most successful channels for connecting to our fanbase.” – Melissa Proctor, Chief Marketing Officer of the Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena.

“When we’re talking about players and teams, you don’t get a lot of intimacy, especially with players you’re fans of. I think that’s the opportunity—to really create for each fan the sense that they are intimate with these players that they support and this team that they support.”Cody Karutz, Strivr Head of Creative

4. “Sport team app”

No matter how big of a sports brand it is, Real Madrid has engaged and made sure to satisfy every single different football fan that interacts with the club. It doesn’t matter if you are watching a game far away or visiting Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid’s app has something for you. Together with Microsoft the fan experience is something extraordinary. If you are at the stadium you can watch from different angles, or order food without leaving your seat. On non-gamedays you can still get personalized stats, purchase merchandise and a lot more. They have proven that an app can interact on a personal level and satisfy your needs by offering special sponsored deals just for you.

5. “Stadium 2.0”

Take, for example, a look at Phillips innovation and technology with stadiums like PSV Eindhoven’s stadium, FC Bayern Munich’s or Atlético Madrid’s new stadium.


Together with the games, the innovative design has truly taken the game experience one level up, where the game itself doesn’t need to be the core. Phillips has an incredible lighting that enhances the experience both on the pitch, inside the stadium, outside the stadium and also around the stadium and this generates a memory to go back for and also encourages fans to come earlier and stay longer after the game. In addition to this, stadiums can become more sustainable and connect sensors that can interact with visitors and provide individual offers.

6. “Interactive and engaging game break”

Uplause has made the boring game break fun with a new innovative technology. Smartphones take up most of our time during the break in a game but this is a space Uplause made fun for the audience. The potential to take this even further is huge considering the technology that we have today and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more things like this during 2017!

Data + Digital = Heaven

Everything that becomes digital is heaven for a marketer and gathering data is the key to give out the best fan engagement!

John Paul, CEO and founder of VenueNext, says the top use for gameday apps among the teams in its client base is mobile ticketing.

“They want to know who is in the stadium, how many games did you come to and if we should sell you a ticket package,” Paul says. “The problem with a paper ticket is it is an anonymizer. If we get you to use the gameday app (we can learn).”

Look at Southampton and what they did! They tried and learned and succeeded! (Also first in the Premier League on Snapchat)


When integrating technology that gathers data, we can easier conclude what content is more preferred than other and learn from every action both successful ones as failures. These trends are here to stay and when looking on their big impact I can say that the consumer behavior has changed and all it needs is just trying to incorporate some kind of “Smart” technology and measure, measure, measure and then implement what works best.

2017 is all about learning and being SMART!




Jakob Wikenstål

Jakob Wikenstål

Overtime Sports Marketing

If you have any questions about sports marketing, feel free to contact me at jakob.wikenstal@gmail.com

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