Children aged 16 to 24 (generation Z) no longer cheer or do it differently, which is why we hear more and more often about Followers instead of Fans. Today, young people prefer to watch the highlights on their smartphone in search of the best. The Association of European clubs, the ECA, has commissioned a survey (Fan of the future) to understand what lies beyond the wall of the stands emptied by Covid. Tens of thousands of respondents in seven nations of the world (not Italy) declared “they have better things to do” (29%), 40% say they “have no interest in football”. 37% of those who still have a more or less passion for football follow more than one club.
Furthermore, when asked “why do you follow football?”, Only 49% of those interviewed answered “to cheer”. No longer fans but followers, people who follow someone or something and can stop doing it. It is football at the time of the second screen experience, or the second screen always open on smartphones or tablets: while watching a game, posting on social media or peering at more things together.
Fans are now paying customers for which sports clubs must plan ad hoc communication and marketing campaigns. Their involvement is fundamental and, being sport, a passion, it must first of all be an emotional involvement. So let’s talk about relationship marketing strategies. The customer management activity abandons the CRM nomenclature (customer relationship management) in favor of the nascent concept of FRM (fan relationship management). The digital transformation has profoundly changed the perception that man has of the world and above all of what happens around him. The Live experience becomes an event to be shared and of which one must necessarily be a part, one must be an active part. In fact, there are several channels to experience the event and the organizers must necessarily take them into account. Sporting events are among the first to be affected by this revolution. They have now become real shows and, as such, they need to offer their viewers a spectacular experience.
The team, the club, sometimes the individual athlete become the product to be sold and social media are a promotional tool that speaks directly to the fans in a highly performing way. The case of Real Madrid is emblematic, the Spanish club, for example, has been able to make the most of every promotion channel, establishing itself as the club of the 2000s.