4 ways sports brands leverage mobile apps - and what you can learn from them

Sports clubs recognise the value digital experiences can bring in diversifying revenue sources and promoting fan engagement. 

Delivering experiences that meet and exceed expectations is the catalyst to winning audiences over - especially for a mobile app.

Top division teams invest heavily in their mobile application development, with user experience (UX) and functionality prioritised.

And this is where brands outside of the sporting world should take note. 

Technology has changed modern consumer expectations. Digital tools offer 24/7 access to your brand, and sports teams are growing used to the idea that even when watching or attending a live game, they will be engaged on a second screen

Providing a premium customer experience (CX) that spans physical and virtual worlds is key to unlocking long-term brand affinity between your business and its audience. 

Here are four lessons that businesses can learn from sports brands’ best-in-class mobile apps:

  • Use your app as a content delivery system
  • Deliver real-time and location specific updates
  • Make your app revenue driving
  • Use your app as a data capture tool


Use Your App as a Content Delivery System

A 2021 study identified Manchester United as the world’s leading football club in terms of mobile app usage. The brand - recognising that its app’s utility should extend beyond matchday - frequently releases new, fresh content to keep users engaged. Interactive trivia games and scoreline predictions ensure complete immersion.

Regularly delivering useful or engaging content to your audience is a great way to drive engagement. Consumer polls, ‘how-to’ guides and blogs about your products and services are all excellent vehicles that can sustain engagement amongst new and returning users. 

Deliver Real-time and Location-Specific Updates

Almost 70% of consumers acknowledge that convenient CX will prompt them to stay loyal to a brand. Sports brands use mobile apps to provide time-sensitive notifications - these include teamsheet announcements, pre-match travel guidance and injury reports. 

Investing in accompanying hardware - such as bluetooth-enabled iBeacons - allows notifications to become spatially relevant. We previously collaborated with Newcastle United to revitalise its stadium tour. 

iBeacons helped blend the offline and online experiences, making sure app content was delivered at the optimal moment as users moved around the stadium. 

From holiday resorts and city tours to museums and galleries - location-based technology can facilitate engaging, relevant CX across all sectors.  


Make Your App a Revenue Driver 

Ticket sales remain a vital part of sports brands’ income. Premium mobile apps can deliver additional purchase opportunities - from stadium parking to pre-match meals, to increase revenue. These features also cater to consumers’ desire for convenience. 

Northumbrian Water, recognised the tangible financial benefits of a convenient mobile application. 

Personalised in-app payments and streamlining payment options through a guided workflow encouraged on-time bill payments. Providing a smooth user journey doesn’t just benefit the consumer; it also ensures your business can improve its bottom line.  


Use Your App As a Tool for Data Capture

As we approach a post-cookie world, there’s more value than ever in capturing first-party data. Consumers won’t hand over their personal information without an incentive - they want a fair value exchange. 

Football clubs offer tangible rewards such as exclusive content and promotional codes in return for their audience’s demographic information.

Businesses that leverage the same strategy can continue leaning into consumers’ desire for relevant, personalised experiences. This also lays the foundation for more refined long-term outreach opportunities.  


The Best Digital Channels Enhance Real-life Experiences 

Physical experiences have historically been the primary touchpoint between brands and consumers.

Building and maintaining a best-in-class mobile app that is truly useful can win you the right to be in your customer’s pockets.

The best digital products combine the two, linking physical encounters with personalised digital ones to create a unified experience, with customer needs (and wants) at its heart. 

And this all starts by developing a plan that puts your users - and their needs - at the heart of the strategy. 

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