Sports Innovation Lab Proposes a New Industry Mindset, Redefines Fan Engagement in New Research Report

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New market analysis report outlines rules to reach and engage sports fans; winning brands will focus on fan behaviors, driven by technologies.

The Fluid Fan is Here is the latest report from Sports Innovation Lab

In order to build and maintain a thriving business in the sports and entertainment industry, brand stewards must develop an understanding of the Fluid Fan and the behaviors and technologies that matter to the evolving supporter.

Known for its forward thinking research and market intelligence, Sports Innovation Lab today shared its latest report, The Fluid Fan Is Here, defining key trends, leading technologies, and behaviors of the modern sports fan. Fluid Fans -- which were originally introduced in Sports Innovation Lab’s May 2019 report, A New Age of Sports -- are defined as tech-savvy, content-hungry fans that are empowered and open to change allegiances and behaviors; Fluid Fans are now deeply disrupting traditional business models.

“For decades the sports entertainment industry has relied on generations of die-hard fans defined by geography, loyalty, and rivalry. Despite past success, the industry must shift to a new strategy to engage fans across multiple platforms and generations,” said Angela Ruggiero, co-founder and Chief Executive Officer, Sports Innovation Lab. “In order to build and maintain a thriving business in the sports and entertainment industry, brand stewards must develop an understanding of the Fluid Fan and the behaviors and technologies that matter to the evolving supporter. Fluid Fans are here to stay.”

During this period of market disruption and convergence, sports businesses are being challenged and forced to keep up with the latest technologies and behavior trends that are currently redefining the sports and entertainment experience. Sports Innovation Lab conducts daily data analysis which tracks fan behaviors, industry trends and the companies, organizations, teams, leagues and venues throughout the sports industry to provide an unbiased assessment of the behaviors that are impacting the sports and entertainment industry.

This research has led Sports Innovation Lab to create a series of new rules for brands to consider as they interact with Fluid Fans.

  • Redefine “fan engagement,” design for behaviors: stop talking about "engagement" as a catchall and recognize that "fan engagement" is when a fan actively performs an intended behavior and moves with purpose among related activities. Sports Innovation Lab identifies three core behaviors in the sports industry: Go, Watch, and Play. Every business begins with a core behavior, but they need to understand adjacent behaviors like "Bet," "Learn," "Create," and "Share," to effectively engage Fluid Fans.
  • Enable fluid tech: brands should understand technology is the driving force that enables fans to move between modes of engagement; decision-makers should bear the aforementioned core and tangential behaviors in mind when speaking to fans.
  • Organize for agility: the sports industry needs to begin to think about how to support their fans as they move from one behavior to another. Brands that effectively enable and support fans across core and adjacent behaviors -- in the attention economy -- will win.

Sports Innovation Lab has identified five key trends that are most rapidly influencing the industry. These trends are ones that Sports Innovation Lab and the industry at large will continue to closely monitor in the age of the Fluid Fan and include: embracing 5G, working with OTT platforms, engaging in esports, leaning into sports betting, and leveraging social media platforms.

For more information and to read the full report please visit http://www.sportsilab.com.

About Sports Innovation Lab
Sports Innovation Lab is leading a sports research revolution. Sports Innovation Lab exists to educate clients on the technological possibilities for their brand and how to ultimately drive value to the end consumer: the Fluid FansTM. They inspire brands to create bold fan experiences through data-driven technology insights and industry-leading research. Visit http://www.sportsilab.com and follow on LinkedIn.

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Gina Waldhorn
@sportsilab
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