Recent Research of Interest: What Motivates the Sports Fan

A big challenge confronting nearly every team or sports property is that of expanding the fan base and driving a deeper level of engagement among those who are already doing so at various levels. We’ve recently worked with a number of properties to confront this challenge, particularly in an environment where onsite amenities and the live sports experience must evolve in order to differentiate itself from high definition TV aided, stay at home options. There is no singular silver bullet. Rather, we have found that often a segmented approach can reap bigger dividends in better assessing and understanding the context of the live sports experience for different audiences.

For example, families’ compared to young professionals, versus long time fans, all consider the live sports experience relative to different alternative options for their entertainment dollars. One way that SLRG has sought to uncover these insights in a qualitative framework, is to use a variety of projective techniques where respondents are segmented accordingly and then interviewed with exposure to a variety of archetypal photo cards that are intentionally designed to be somewhat ambiguous to the type of fan that each photo represents. The respondent is then presented with a series of additional stimuli that is representative of a variety of competitive sports and entertainment options. Based upon the fans’ subjective description of who is depicted in each fan photo, and the resulting rationale for why a respondent associates that person with a specific entertainment option, we gain valuable insights. Specifically, we’ve often uncovered deeply embedded emotional connections or disconnections about the perceived venue specific experience and its “appropriateness” and ROI relative to substitutes for different audiences.

From these learnings we can further probe to ascertain what might constitute an ideal experience for each segment and can then often, when available, test the potential impact and efficacy of prototype advertising and communications. This research has also helped us better understand media utilization and other aspects of the marketing mix that will be most appealing and relevant to each fan segment. While much of our recent work has been geared towards specific properties, we have also found it to be impactful for activating sponsors who are looking to optimize their presence on site. Contact us today, to see how we can do this for you.