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Adapting the Fan Experience in the Age of Covid

On March 11, 2020, I went with clients to see the LA Kings play at the Staples Center. During the game, we realized we were present for one of the final games of the 2020 NHL season, and were seeing a preview of what was to follow for essentially every sports franchise across the entire globe.  

The next morning, the league went on pause due to the impacts of Covid-19. Despite significant improvements and massive headway being made with the vaccine, Covid-19 still has a significant impact day-to-day, and has forced us to make lasting changes to how we live and work.

While the pandemic has been disruptive to the sports and entertainment industry, it has also provided a chance to step back and take stock of their business practices. As Salesforce consultants, we at Lev have the opportunity to see what ideas are surfacing and what’s working across a number of different teams and industries. Below are some of the top ways our team is working to help sports teams put their best foot forward in a post-Covid world.

Fans Need and Expect More 

Despite all the progress, we’ve got a long way to go, and even when most people are vaccinated, there are going to be fans who feel nervous about coming back to a stadium for some time. 

It’s important to focus on how to engage fans who can’t (or won’t) come back just yet. Make sure you have an e-commerce solution to get merch to fans wherever they are in the world. Virtual events, get-togethers, giveaways, and more can be a great way to keep fans engaged. 

Leveraging social networking to interact with fans and create a sense of community when they have not been able to experience live events has been a game changer. Sports teams and venues are leveraging social listening to respond to and engage with fans in real time.

Prior to the events of 2020, customer expectations were already changing. We’re all getting more and more used to fast, efficient, accessible, and personal experiences every year, and Covid accelerated that. As you start welcoming more guests back into seats, it’s important that fans have the kind of experience they’ve come to expect from other businesses.

Adding things like live chat or even a web portal to log and track help tickets. Are you collecting the basic demographic details and complex behavioral data to understand your fan base and help shape their experience? Actionable data is key to driving personalized experiences with your fans. 

Make sure lines of communication are open between departments and that you have a system for logging interactions with customers so that every customer can have a consistent, personal experience. Leverage tools like Salesforce Service Cloud to manage customer support, and maybe even Ideas to provide fans with a virtual suggestion box!

Data Pulls it All Together

Underlying everything else, data is the crux, and the more you can marry up data from different sources to get the full picture of your fans, the better. Use Salesforce to create an “engagement layer” between your various back-office systems and your front line team so everything they need is in one place. 

If you’re struggling with keeping a clear line of visibility on the way you engage with a customer beyond ticket purchases, consider implementing a loyalty platform such as Salesforce Loyalty Management to incentivize your fans to do that heavy lifting for you. Understanding the food, merchandise, experiences, and more that each fan is most excited about will help unlock upsell and cross sell opportunities for you and your partners.

Getting your data in order is critical for targeting and personalization, but integration isn’t enough. Upping your Reporting and Dashboarding game is a great place to start, but if you’re ready to take your data analysis to the next level, you’ll want to incorporate BI solutions. Datorama is a great solution for driving marketing insights.

Even in this not normal time, sports teams are rapidly expanding their touchpoints with their fans to keep them engaged 24/7. By creating a truly integrated business, they are monitoring, influencing, and mastering the fan experience like never before. 


Meet The Author

Simha Baker is a Solution Consultant focused on Salesforce core products, including Sales, Service, and Community Clouds. Originally from Ohio, Simha has been living in Los Angeles for the past 10 years. With a background in education, Simha is passionate about teaching others and helping them grow and succeed. In their spare time, Simha loves to knit, visit Disneyland with their husband, or just spend time sipping good tea and reading books or watching the latest nerdy show or movie.