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4 Ways to Engage Sports Fans with Competitions

Updated: Oct 7

By definition, a sport fan is someone is someone who is enthusiastic about sports. However, there's a lot more to it than just enthusiasm. They exhibit strong admiration and a devotion like no other, whether it be to a certain sport, a team or a specific player.


We all know that a team is only as strong as its fans, so as marketers, how do we craft a strategy that will grow a loyal fanbase and drive excitement amongst fans?


Sports fans want more than just to view the event; they want to feel a sense of involvement and an opportunity to express their passion and support. Think about that feeling when you're sat in the stadium amongst thousands of fans watching a sports game, and that epic feeling of comradery and involvement. How do we bring that feeling to fans through a screen who are watching from home? The answer: competitions. Shape your competition mechanic and strategy to speak to the natural behaviour of sports fans, and offer a prize that gives them that feeling of excitement and reward.


Here's 4 ways you can power up your competitions for sports fans:


  1. Vote to enter

Think 'Man of the Match', 'Best Moment Vote', 'Predict the Game'. A vote to enter competition gives fans a space to show their support, celebrate their favourite players/teams/moments, plus is a great way to gauge people's opinions on a topic - it is also much more engaging than simply filling out a standard entry form.


Seven Networks KFC Bucket Moments (case study here) vote to enter competition running throughout the Big Bash League gave Cricket fans the chance to vote for their favourite 'moment' during the game in return for a competition entry. This immersed at home viewers into the action of the game, and rewarded them with the chance to win a huge cash prize and tonnes of other prizes to the hardcore cricket fans of Australia!


The Hisense “Go Bigger Moment” campaign is a another great example of a competition that truly celebrates a sport and its biggest fans. By having competition participants vote for their favourite "Go Bigger Moment" like Brooks' Game Winner, or Taulagi’s mind-bending assist, they feel more invested in the game.



2. On-pack Promotions

On-pack promotions are extremely popular among sports marketers and are a great way to generate attention and interaction for your brand through an associated product. Think about it, the opportunity to be noticed is much greater because the communication is going home with the product. Cub Pty Ltd’s “Footy Finals Match to Win” Promotion is a great example of an on-pack promotion that adds a level of excitement through integrating a ‘game’ element having to match 3 icons located in bottle caps. It also strongly benefits Carlton and VB by driving subsequent sales by those wanting to purchase more bottles to try to find more matching icons on their bottle caps. Think about how the mechanic of your trade promotion could have an added element of thrill and excitement by asking participants to 'collect' multiple things to enter.

Whether it be codewords, physical products, or digital assets, this creates some excitement as well as having individuals engage with your brand multiple times. The “Match to Win” campaign is also a great example of tailoring prizing to the brand audience. A large portion of beer fans in Australia are also big footy fans, so having footy based prizes such as merch allowed the brands to give away low-cost prizes, that were high value to the individuals. Ensure to have a deep understanding of your audience and prizes of value to them, to help craft a trade promotion with prizes that incentivise entries.


3. Trivia/Quiz/Prediction Campaign

One thing sports fans love to do is show their knowledge of a sport or club. So integrating this into a competition mechanic is a great way to attract entries and drive engagement. Cub Pty Ltd has also given a fantastic example of utilising trivia for a competition with their Carlton Dry Promotion that tested the Aussie publics general knowledge to give away ten Carlton Dry 30L coolers and for one lucky winner, a year's supply of Carlton Dry Beer. What makes this competition unique is the method in which to be eligible for the Major Prize; the participant MUST have completed all 10 weekly quizzes which were based on a variety of topics such as sporting, movies, Aussies towns, etc.


Ansible's campaign with Seven Network “Vodafone You Rule Predictions” campaign is another great example of the length’s fans will go to prove their knowledge of the game. To participate in the competition fans were asked to submit their predictions of what they believe would happen during each Seven Test Cricket game. Those to successfully submit the most original, creative, and talkable entries were deemed the winners, discussed by the commentators on air and won themselves a prize pack filled with goodies.


4. Game of Skill - Why are you the biggest fan?


Finally, game of skill competitions. Whether it's a 25 words or less, photo upload or video upload; love them or hate them, they are a great way to engage sports fans who love to show their support and love for the sport as it provides them an outlet to express this. In September, the 7NEWS AFL Grand Final Ticket Giveaway asked their audience to tell them which AFL team they go for, and what makes them their biggest fan to be in with the chance to be at the game and amongst all the action with an epic prize of tickets to the game, return flights to Melbourne and a hotel experience. This simple question brought responses of true passion and shows us that emotional connection created between a team and their fans.


Want to engage your own sports fans? Reach out to organize a strategy session with an Ansible competition expert at promotions@thisisansible.com.

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