5 steps to create communication your fans appreciate

Author 12
Patricia Parker Nielsen
Cartoonstyle illustration of celebrating fans on a stadium seating section

Are you creating and delivering communication that your fans appreciate and truly care about? In this ever-changing digital world that we live in today, with multiple channels, forums, and platforms for your fans to interact and consume content on, it can most definitely feel challenging to reach them. Or more importantly, deliver messages that resonate with them and that they actually appreciate. 

In this blog post, we’ll be covering:

  • How digitalization has driven the changes in fan behavior
  • The challenges sports organizations face due to this change in fan behavior
  • 5 steps you can take to create and deliver communication that your fans appreciate 

So without further ado, let’s jump right into the blog post!

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    Women holding a laptop next to a orange robot

    Digitalization has driven changes in fan behavior

    In today’s digital world, it’s no secret that consumer behavior has changed as a result of digitalization. And this is of course no exception for your fans. They want to interact with you:

    • on their terms, 
    • wherever they are in the world, 
    • on their preferred channel

    The new standard is basically the 24/7 fan, who watches and interacts with sports content across different channels and via different device types, with mobile phones dominating this area. So, this means that fans literally have access to the world from the palm of their hands. And thus, sports organizations need to adapt to these changes. Moreover, the changes in fan behavior are extra prevalent among the younger generation, specifically Gen Z and Millennials. 

    To give you a few examples:

    • Gen Z prefers to watch sports on TikTok – in fact, sports media, sports leagues, and sports teams are three out of the eight fastest-growing accounts on TikTok.
    • They are value-driven and care about societal issues – Gen Z, along with their older peers, the Millennials, is value-driven and care about social justice.
    • Gen Z fans have very different media consumption habits – consume content on their phones, computer, iPad, and other gadgets. And they don’t mind switching between multiple screens.
    • Social media and influencers play an important role in their daily lives – specifically, video-based content has become increasingly popular among Zoomers who are eager to play a role in content creation, with TikTok and Twitch seeing the highest usage gains.

    As you can see, there are several changes in fan behavior. And the examples above are just some of them. 

    But what is clear is that your sports organization needs to take these changes in fan behavior into consideration when communicating and interacting with them.

    Because not delivering communication that your fans appreciate can lead to several challenges, including:

    • Missed revenue opportunities
    • Lower attendance at your sporting events
    • Decreased engagement and overall loyalty 
    • Slower growth of your fan contact base (which is crucial to negotiate higher sponsorship deals)

    So you want to make sure that you are up to speed on how you approach and communicate with your fans so you deliver communication your fans appreciate.

    However, in order to deliver communication that your fans appreciate, there is a hurdle that you first need to overcome…

      Sports organizations need a CDP

      The challenge sports organizations face

      So, thus far you know that you need to deliver communication that your fans care about. Now what? Naturally, the next step is to figure out how exactly you can deliver this type of communication. The short answer is, you need enough information about your fans’ specific wants and desires. So, our next question is then, how do you get a hold of these insights? Well, from your fan data of course. But this is where we meet the challenge. And this challenge, t for many sports organizations, is that:

      Your data is spread out across multiple different sources. 

      For instance, you might have your fan data stored in:

      • Point of Sale (POS) system for food and beverage purchases
      • Ticketing system
      • Online POS for your merchandise
      • App
      • OTT streaming service
      • Social media platforms 
      • Members lists
      • Newsletter and mailing lists
      • Event sign up sheets

      As you can imagine, with all these different data sources at your disposal, finding the right data about your fans can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. So what is the solution? The answer is: 

      You need to collect all your data in one place.

      What happens if you don’t have all your data in one place?

      • Your organization wastes time, money, and effort by storing this data in different places because it will be a chore to keep track of it all. And know where to find it when you need it.
      • Having scattered and disjointed data mean that you don’t really understand the data as a whole.
      • This will also lead to blind spots since you don’t really understand the data. And as a result, you risk committing more errors.
      • What’s worse, you will miss discovering new and emergent opportunities since your data doesn’t really reveal the true picture. In other words, you don’t have a single source of truth.

      Why a Sports CDP is your best choice for collecting insights about your fans

      Do you know what a Customer Data Platform (CDP) is? It is a software platform that allows you to collect, analyze, and act on your fan data, allowing you to deliver: 

      • the right message
      • to the right fan 
      • in their preferred channel
      • at the right time

      With a Sports CDP, you are able to collect and centralize all your data. A Sports CDP is built to handle any type and category of data. It can connect all sources of fan data, whether internal or external, structured or unstructured, batch or streaming; you can rest assured knowing that you can collect and store it in your CDP.

      Here are just some of the types of fan data you can collect:

      • Ticket purchases
      • In-stadium purchases
      • Stadium entrance data
      • Personal data
      • Merchandise purchases
      • Demographic data
      • Web behavior
      • Mobile app behavior

      and so much more. And to make it even better, your data is being collected and updated in real-time, allowing you to feel confident that you always have the necessary insights in order to create and deliver communication your fans appreciate.

      Alright, but how would this look in practice? 

      Let’s take a look at 5 steps you can take to create communication your fans appreciate with the help of a Sports CDP.

      5 steps to creating and delivering communication your fans appreciate

      A group of people piecing together a puzzle to show the importance of support to the best CDP vendor

      1. Collect and unite all of your fan data

      The first step to creating and delivering communication your fans appreciate is to collect insights about your fans. Once again, you most likely have multiple sources from which you can collect data about your fans, such as your:

      • Point of Sale (POS) system for food and beverage purchases
      • Ticketing system
      • Online POS for your merchandise
      • App
      • OTT streaming service
      • Social media platforms 
      • Members lists
      • Newsletter and mailing lists
      • Event sign up sheets

      Since you are using a Sports CDP, this process of collecting and unifying your fan data is seamless and automatic, allowing you to gain the necessary fan data efficiently. So once you have this first step in place, we can move on to step 2, which is…

      An image showing a 360-degree approach to sports marketing

      2. Get a full understanding of each fan

      By collecting and unifying your fan data, you can create a holistic view of each fan and gain a deeper understanding of each fan’s specific:

      • Characteristics 
      • Preferences
      • Behaviors

      Since you have now collected and united all fan data from your different sources into one place (in the Sports CDP), you can now obtain a full view of each and every fan, aka a 360-degree view of each fan. To visualize this, check out the image below.

      An illustration of a man standing collecting data, unifyiing it and then acting on it

      In other words, this means that you will obtain a rich and detailed profile of each fan, including information such as:

      • Ag
      • Gender
      • Income 
      • Address
      • Behavior information, such as:
        • Ticket purchase history
        • Merchandise purchases
        • OTT watching history 
        • Social media activity 
              • Profitability-level: 
                • Regular fan – brings up a smaller portion of your revenue
                • Mid-level fan – brings in more money than your regular fan
                • Superfan – stands for a majority of your revenue (top 20% of your fan base)

              …and the list could, of course, be longer. The point we’re trying to demonstrate here is that you now have a richer understanding of your fans’ wants and behaviors, which will enable you to create and deliver communication that your fans appreciate. 

              Which brings us to step 3…

              An image of what it would look like to act on supporter insights derived from supporter data

              3. Segment fans into different groups based on your findings

              Now that you have gained a deeper understanding of your fans, the next step is to segment your fans into different sub-groups based on similar characteristics, preferences, and behaviors. This step is crucial because segmenting your fans allows you to better understand your target audience and then act on this information (which you will see under step 4). 

              You can easily create fan segments in a Sports CDP. 

              Pro tip

              When creating your segments, we recommend that you first set a goal for your communication campaign, such as:

              • Increase ticket sales
              • Increase in-stadium purchases (such as snacks and drinks)
              • Increase your merchandise sales
              • Upgrade a fan segment to a higher spending level
              • Increase fan engagement and loyalty
              • Increase subscription to your OTT platform 
              • Increase signups to your newsletter

              By setting clear goals, it will become much easier to create different fan segments,

              And! When you create a segment in the Sports CDP, it will be updated in real-time. This means that whenever a fan meets the criteria you have set for a certain segment, then that fan will be added there automatically by the Sports CDP. Cool right!

              Now that you have created a fan segment, it’s time for step 4…

                  Man pointing at an image wearing a crown on a computer monitor

                  4. Create tailored communication for each segment based on their wants and desires

                  Once you have created your different fan segments based on your specified criteria, it is time to create tailored communication for each segment. In this step, you can go all the way being creative, as long as the content you are providing your fans is:

                  • Personal
                  • Relevant
                  • Engaging 

                  …to each fan segment.

                  Moreover, make sure to deliver the communication in their preferred channel and format, which could for example be via:

                  • Email
                  • SMS
                  • Social media
                  • In-stadium
                  • On your OTT platform 
                  • Community platform 

                  In the Data Talks Sports CDP, you can create email and SMS content directly in the CDP itself.

                  Pro tip

                  To create communication that your fans appreciate, a tip is to leverage the power of storytelling as much as possible. By relying on the information that you have about your fans and what matters to them, you can create communication and experiences that are captivating and relevant to each fan segment. In fact, according to research conducted by the Sports Innovation Lab, storytelling is one of the preferred formats of communication and content among sports fans. So make sure to leverage this. 

                  By combining the insights you have gathered about your fans with storytelling, you can rest assured that you will deliver a world-class fan experience. 

                  So, what happens after you have created and delivered your campaigns? Well, the final step is of course to…

                  A group of sports executives celebrating being number 1 with a trophy

                  5. Analyze your results and optimize future marketing efforts

                  So, you have created a successful campaign. But being the ambitious and savvy sports marketer that you are, you want to of course do even better in your next campaign. And the best way to do that is by analyzing your campaign results. And one of the most efficient ways to measure your campaign performance is by looking at your:

                  Key performance indicators (KPIs)

                  In other words, look at each goal you had set for your campaign, big as well as small ones, and see whether you have met and even exceeded them. To give you a few examples, check out the goals we mentioned under step 3.

                  Once you have analyzed your results, you can use this information to iterate and improve your strategy for the next campaign, allowing you to create and deliver even better communication your fans appreciate. 


                  In this blog post, we have covered how digitalization has led to changes in fan behavior, including how they consume sports content and interact with sports organizations.

                  In today’s day and age, fans want to access sports organizations and their offerings whenever and wherever they are in the world on their terms. And they expect sports organizations to deliver communication that they can appreciate. To do so, sports organizations need to understand their fans better than ever before. And this is only possible if sports organizations have enough insights about their fans’ specific characteristics, preferences, and behaviors. So, the key here is having fan data and specifically collecting and unifying all of this data in one place (which a Sports CDP enables you to do).

                  By leveraging a Sports CDP, you can rest assured that you will create communication your fans appreciate. But seeing is believing, right? So check out our demo below to see all of this in action.  

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