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Visa ‘Future of Fandom’ report shows how sport fans engage with technology

Visa ‘Future of Fandom’ report shows how sport fans engage with technology
March 30, 2024

Findings released by global payment company Visa show that 51% of fans check live statistics while watching a live event, 47% engage with other live content during an event and 64% of global sports fans are open to engage with their team in the metaverse.

Visa’s 'Future of Fandom' report highlights that “sports experiences are different today”, explaining “the fan experience extends beyond the start and end of a live event, with fans wanting to be tied into a digital universe that is integrated into stadiums and into their experience outside those concrete walls.

“Digitally connected fans want to interact with their favourite teams and a community of other fans how, where, and when they want. While they’re watching a live event, they might be checking other match scores that impact their fantasy team’s performance, or video-chatting with friends.

“As such, fans have brought digital behaviours and technologies into venues in an immersive yet developing way.”

The report goes on to say “technology will continue to drive the evolution of fans’ expectations for how they consume and engage with sports and entertainment. 

“Today’s fans want flexibility, convenience, and control over their experience - and they don’t want to miss out. In stadium, that might mean a preference for frictionless purchasing and flexible options at every point-of-sale - for instance, 53% of fans globally say they would pre-order food and drinks to avoid lines.”

Looking into the challenges, the report advises “sports have been undergoing a reorientation toward using digital experiences to provide both fledgling and established audiences alike with a richer and more dynamic experience.

“The pandemic accelerated this fan need for digital connectivity when live in-person experiences were no longer an option. However, the acceleration was faster than most rightsholders were able to react to and build solutions for. And, concurrently, fans’ expectations and desires for new forms of content continue to evolve - for example, the rapid emergence of NFTs seen in sports. It can be unclear to rightsholders what represents a true, lasting change in fan behaviour, and how to respond in a strategic and sustainable fashion.

“Secondly, the digitisation of fandom, in theory, can allow rightsholders to better track and understand the fan journey through data. The challenge is most rightsholders currently see the fan journey through a disparate collection of contact points, platforms, and vendors, each with a different slice of the full picture.

“Connecting the different viewpoints can be challenging, but not doing so inhibits the ability to have a more complete and robust understanding of the fan and what their needs are and may become.”

Promoting its own services, Visa advises that it “can provide a breadth of modular solutions that help enhance how fans interact with their passions” citing how “from the biggest global events to local stadiums, our innovative solutions can help enhance fan engagement, drive revenue, and create more connected fan journeys built for the future of fandom everywhere.”

Visa recently extended its longstanding partnership with world football governing body FIFA until 2026 that will focus on fan engagement programs involving youth, beach soccer, and FIFA events, culminating in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Click here to view the full 'Future of Fandom' report.

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