Judd Goldstein, Head of Sales for Fan Engagement at Genius Sports recently sat down for a video interview with SportBusiness to outline how sports leagues and clubs are harnessing free-to-play (F2P) games to power more direct and personalised fan experiences.
Watch the best bits here alongside our key takeaways:
1. The drive for one-to-one fan engagement is being accelerated by F2P
The sports engagement landscape is undergoing a massive shift. Where once, sports were happy to rely on major broadcast partnerships and a regular social media presence to engage and update their fans, they now realise this simply isn’t enough.
To compete in the wider entertainment industry, “leagues, federations and clubs are looking for the ability to build direct one-to-one relationships with fans all around the world.” This engagement model aims to meet the demands of an individual fan, retaining more of their attention and appealing to a wider, highly digital audience.
F2P games are a vital tool in any sport’s armoury. Fantasy, trivia and polling games provide “a fan a reason to give the organisation (sports league or clubs), their data…because they want to see their name in a leader board against their friends, or they want to be notified by email or push notification about the next deadline.”
In order to deliver a direct and personalised experience, leagues and clubs have to be able to genuinely understand each fan. And by encouraging fans to register for a sport’s platforms, F2P is enabling that education.
2. F2P are unique fan engagement tools as they drive a lot of measurable impact
Sports have never had more tools at their disposal to connect with fans. While competition from third party providers is fierce, leagues and clubs can select from a huge suite of data, video, and other content forms to entertain fans.
But prioritising tools that are going to have a clear impact can be challenging, particularly for those leagues or clubs operating on a tight budget.
F2P games are unique in delivering both short and long-term value. As outlined, over time they are pivotal in building up a huge database of fans with rich zero-party data. But they also immediately provide new content that can be monetised with sponsors and partners.
“Many of our clients receive more revenue from integrating a sponsor deeply into a free-to-play game… They’ll receive more revenue from that sponsor, then that will cost them in license fees to run the game with us. So immediately that’s washing its face.”
Any platforms that can provide an instant boost to a sport’s bottom line are highly desirable, especially when combined with the “fan data benefits and the engagement and the loyalty that you drive with the product, it becomes a multiplying effect in terms of value.”
3. Connecting the Genius Sports ecosystem with F2P
Genius Sports’ mission is to power the ecosystem that connects sports betting and media. This means connecting leagues and clubs with broadcasters, brands, sportsbooks and more to enrich sporting experiences.
Just over a year since the acquisition of FanHub and F2P has become an essential part of the Genius value proposition to the entire sports ecosystem. For each of the key sports, betting and media stakeholders, F2P provides a platform for year-round engagement and the ability to test fans’ knowledge on their favourite teams, players and competitions.
With F2P, “we’ve got a capability and a platform that connects the dots between Genius’ sports data rights and partnerships, with sports fans, through meaningful digital experiences.”
Alongside Genius’ tracking, streaming, competition management, integrity and many other tools, F2P has become another valuable asset that can be provided to sports at all levels. And these games are being brought to life by rich data captured from Genius’ LiveStats solutions and live betting odds and offers to maximise our position at the heart of the global sports industry.