Sports are an essential cornerstone of civilization, and in every nation, you would find passionate audiences known for their overt displays of support for teams, players and formats for one sport or the other.
In Sri Lanka, Cricket is the ‘addiction’ of choice. You would be hard-pressed in finding a single person who has never played a game of cricket. Anyone who has never viewed a cricket match, EVER? The kind doesn’t exist.
With the kind of avid engagement, we see from sports fans, it would be logical to assume that the platform of sports is a critical marketing channel for brands to capitalize on. From the Super Bowl and the astronomical sums advertisers pay for a single television spot to the Indian Premier League where each team is sponsored by a plethora of prominent brands. The key reason why brands won’t hesitate to spend on advertising in such a crowded space, is the level of undivided attention audiences give to their favourite sporting events. But how do sporting events attract such engagement? Well, it’s in how well the organizers and their marketing collaborators create the fandom.
So, how do you create the kind of fandom that has audiences on the edge of their seats, whenever their favourite team / player comes on to the field / court / track?
What Eventistry has done with the ‘DAMBULLA VIIKING’ in our very own Lanka Premier League (LPL) 2020, is the perfect best practice case in understanding the methodology involved.
First of all, it doesn’t happen overnight. Much time and effort is invested towards creating an image for an encounter or event, and the teams / players that will battle it out for the big win are the vital element in this purpose. Even before the tournament began, this is what Eventistry focused on – creating a sensational hype for the team and its players.
As physical events are pretty much out of the equation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Eventistry utilized social media channels that have the highest engagement locally; Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as Twitter and a dedicated website to build a captivating narrative for the ‘Viiking’.
At the onset, audiences were invited to be part of the team’s formation; building anticipation for the naming of the team captain, as well as squad announcements. The sense of intimacy that was created by treating followers as stakeholders of the team, helped build a strong affinity for the ‘Viiking’ even before they entered the field of play.
From that point onwards, it was a process of artfully balancing retention and attraction. Using wide variations of content; from performance stats to player features, fan videos, giveaways, match prep footage, and fan-service interactions, Eventistry kept raising the hype built around the team by sustaining the close fan-player association created at the beginning of the campaign. Of course, it also helped that the team was consistent in their match-winning performances.