How sports teams can better engage with fans before, during and after the big game by using RCS

Topic:

RCS is lauded as the next big evolution in the way that businesses can engage with customers. Taking the benefits of highly engaging text-based platforms like SMS, RCS adds visual tools like buttons, rich-cards and carousels, delivering much more functionality and creating stickier customers.

But can the same benefits be offered to sports teams, where fans are already some of the most fiercely loyal “customers” around? Well – the answer has to be a resounding yes!

Here are just some of the ways RCS can help improve your team’s interactions with fans, and in turn improve conversions on match-day.

Before the game

Booking tickets

From a fan’s perspective, buying tickets at the ticket office or over a phone line is slow and labour-intensive, while from a sports team’s perspective, selling tickets through web portals and apps is expensive and time-consuming. RCS makes getting tickets to fans easier by:

  • Providing an automated yet conversational experience by using bots to purchase/make enquiries about tickets
  • Payments can be made directly within the conversation itself, by using tools like Google Pay
  • The ticket itself can be supplied to the fan within the conversation, meaning there’s no more need to print out tickets
  • Special requirements (E.g. disabled access) can be more easily catered for, and accessed from a single message source rather than being lost in email inboxes
  • Match days can be added to the fan’s calendar with a single click, meaning they’ll never miss a game.

Shirt/Merchandise sales

Promotional emails from sports teams can often get lost in inboxes, and plain SMS lacks the visual tools needed to more effectively publicise merchandise like new shirts. RCS helps with this by providing the visual tools needed to:

  • Display merchandise options in a visual carousel format, allowing fans to quickly select products with the aid of pictures
  • Provide QR codes and barcodes for events and offers more easily within the message thread
  • Collect payment without having to navigate to third party portals.

Provide travel links

Away days are great fun for fans, but can often be ruined by travel chaos. SMS can help with this by sending updates, but the basic text nature of texts can be quite limiting. RCS opens up new opportunities by:

  • Providing the ability to send visuals and call to action buttons (which can link to maps), which can appear in the same thread as ticket bookings
  • Supplying infographics of stadia and public transport routes for fan reference
  • Facilitating travel with links to make bookings with local taxi companies.

Supply subscription content

Getting access to exclusive match coverage and player interviews is terrific for fans, but getting access to that content while on the move can be difficult, while maintaining the hosting platforms is expensive for teams. RCS helps to deliver this content more effectively:

  • Rich content like video and images can all be delivered directly to fans’ mobile devices while they’re on the way to the game
  • Bots can automate the process of asking fans if they want to view content as it’s released.

During the game

Man/Woman of the match voting

Currently, interactive man/woman of the match voting requires a high strength app, which can often be asked to deal with 40,000 fans at an event plus countless more watching and listening at home. RCS can make fans feel more special by asking for their vote in a rich graphical format, delivered straight to their mobile devices. Teams also have the added benefit of being able to fall back on the high resilience of mobile networks during high traffic periods.

Half-time food/drink promotions

RCS is a great way to boost awareness of half-time treats being sold in concourses. Visual carousels make it easy for fans to scroll through available promotions and make a selection (presented via QR and barcodes), which can then be redeemed with the server.

After the final whistle

Match reports

Interviews, reports, replays can all be supplied to fans on their way home. Great talking points for the big post-game debate!

Promote the next game

Are your fans riding high after a big win? That’s the perfect time to send a personalised bot driven RCS invitation to the next game, with links to reserve the seat they just sat in, or go ahead and process payment for their ticket.

Post-match analysis

SMS still has a big part to play in effective fan interactions, and it can still appear within the same message thread as rich communications like RCS – but sports teams who want richer interactions need to understand it’s limitations as a text only based format.

RCS offers the solution in providing what teams now need.  For instance, a well-designed bot driven interaction which includes response buttons, carousels, and video/image content can make fans feel like they’re having an actual conversation with their team, without the need for an agent. Also – important information like stadium accessibility and travel details can also be provided in the same message string as digital tickets and merchandise sales, making it a one-stop shop for all interactions a club would need with fans.

If you’re interested to know more about how RCS can be used to improve your fan interactions please get in contact with our team today on 0345 356 5758 or email us at sales@esendex.com.

 

Author Avatar
Thomas Davis

Hi, I’m Tom, Product Owner for Core Messaging Applications at Esendex. I have a background in product design and ownership. I am passionate about understanding our customers problems and goals, putting them at the forefront of our engineering effort.