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InCrowd & The RFL celebrate a momentous first year for Our League

  • 84,000 members, 32 live match streams and over 13,000 prizes won to date.
  • Successful integration of ticketing, rewards, live streaming, predictor games and polls.
  • Live broadcast integration with Sky Sports for Man Of The Match voting.
  • Community‐​wide match centre and player stats dashboards.
  • Big prize winners of signed merchandise, finals tickets and trips to Australia.

Just over a year ago, The Rugby Football League (RFL) launched their membership platform Our League in partnership with InCrowd. The RFL had approached InCrowd to realise their ambitions to build a world leading membership platform for spectators, viewers and participants of rugby league.

Plans for a membership website and mobile app included exclusive content, member benefits, participation features, a ticketing integration, gamification and polls to help improve the fan experience and drive return on investment for The RFL. All parties were full of expectation, but no one could have imagined the success delivered by Our League. In a single year, some of Our League’s achievements include:

  • 32 live match streams.
  • An all‐​inclusive live match centre covering Betfred Super League to community leagues as well as a community player dashboard, sponsored by Dacia, showing statistics for the majority of rugby league players.
  • The introduction of a seamlessly linked ticketing and rewards scheme, along with in‐​stadia discounts.
  • Live broadcast integration with Sky Sports for Man of the Match voting via Our League platforms.
  • The launch of a round‐​by‐​round predictor game with a £20,000 grand prize.
  • Simultaneous launches of video polls that include the “Try or No Try” poll sponsored by Patient Claim Line and the “Flair Play of The Month”.

The success of these fan experience initiatives by InCrowd and The RFL has been driven by the eager participation of an enviably diverse rugby league fan base, devoted to a sport that delivers competitiveness, entertainment, passion and pride with down to earth, approachable players and coaching staff. In its first year, the Our League membership platform has welcomed 84,000 members, 65,000 of which have downloaded the Our League app which has achieved an 80% active app user rate. The regular Man of The Match vote and other polls boast over 300,000 engagements throughout the Betfred Super League season, with the Betfred Man of the Match polls over a 10 minute period averaging 3,500 votes, and other polls returning an average of 2,200 votes.

Active participation is also driven by the exceptional prizes on offer to Our League members playing the round‐​by‐​round predictor. Just this year, we have seen over 13,000 fans win prizes including signed England shirts and rugby balls, hospitality tickets to the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final and Betfred Super League Grand Final and tickets to see the England vs New Zealand internationals. Four predictor players came within four correct predictions of the £20,000 grand prize. Other Our League big prize winners included:

  • 10 winners of “super fan passes” — two tickets to all major rugby league events throughout the season.
  • Two Betfred Super League 2019 season ticket winners for the club of their choice.
  • The 50,000th Our League member and lifelong St Helens fan Derek Hewitt won two VIP tickets to the 2018 Ladbrokes Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium.
  • Predictor player Neil Cunliffe won an all‐​inclusive trip to Brisbane, Australia for two to watch England play in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup Final.

The success of Our League has more than surpassed our expectations. Our active membership numbers are constantly increasing and we are smashing record after record in terms of users and participation. The team at InCrowd have really taken the time to understand our sport and our fans and continue to provide an exceptional service. We are excited about what we will achieve together in the 2019 season, delivering an even better experience for our unique and passionate fans”, Nichola Spencer, Membership Manager at the RFL

Darren Parsons, Marketing Account Manager at InCrowd stated that “it has been a pleasure working with The RFL in this inaugural Our League season, building the foundations of their membership platform for fans to enjoy for years to come. We have immense pride in what we have achieved with The RFL in just one year and we are looking forward to continuing this successful partnership in 2019.”

The roar of the crowd – a powerful fan engagement tool

When we look back at great moments in sporting history, the majority of what we read and hear of those moments is about the team or the individual athlete. However we rarely hear about what that moment meant to the crowd of fans. People don’t talk about the atmosphere in which that moment was created.

The most renowned sport stadiums are those that have an unrivalled atmosphere, where the athletes truly feel the fans’ support. But when recording great sporting moments its rarely part of the conversation. There’s a disconnect in the history books.

Ronaldo’s bicycle kick has gone down as one of football’s ‘greatest sporting moments’; not only did the Real Madrid fans go crazy but the Juventus fans also congratulated Ronaldo and made noise for that moment of utter greatness. Goosebump inducing fan scenes at Juventus Stadium, created by the fans themselves. Let’s think back to some other great moments, like David Beckham’s free kick against Greece to secure a World Cup place.

Johnny Wilkinson’s drop goal for world cup glory. Andy Murray’s first Wimbledon title.

Anthony Joshua’s knockout to become World Heavy Weight Champion. The 2016 Chicago Cubs with their first World Series win since 1908.

These moments are down in the history books. One variable that never changes, no matter the venue or the sport, is the atmosphere present and the ear‐​splitting roar of fans celebrating. Fans that are engaged, immersed and fully present in that moment.

Atmosphere makes an event, there’s no doubt about it. I’m sure we’ve all been to a sporting event where great things have happened, but we don’t remember them because the atmosphere and event itself were lifeless. In such circumstances, we disengage with our surroundings. We watch the game and we go home.

Creating a great atmosphere incites positive changes in fan behaviour, and InCrowd have the tools to help you create the ultimate “in the moment” atmosphere for your fans. Not just for the big, nail biting events, but at every game.

We can supply any stadium with a decibel meter, installed and displayed in the stadium. These meters record and time stamp dB readings so that they can be matched with moments within the game. What if your greatest moments were documented in sporting history as not only a display of epic skill and talent but with a legitimately measured roar of the crowd to back that up? The fans would be excited to be a part of that history. To be remembered alongside their sporting heroes.

I was there. I was in that crowd!”

Find out more about the InCrowd decibel meter and the range of fan engagement and sponsorship activation tools offered by InCrowd.

Email enquiries@incrowdsports.com.

Here are the world record holders for fan noise.

Could your fans be the ones to break the record?!

 

Fan Behaviour Trends

Fan Behaviour — what we can learn from Google Search and Daily Active User trends

At InCrowd, we constantly look into how we can best utilise our data and visible trends to understand fan behaviour; this analysis is beneficial to both us and the rights holders we work with. Most recently, we looked into what we can learn about our fans from Google Search and Daily Active User(DAU) trends.

We did the necessary research to produce viable and informed answers using three of our main clients – Lets call them Club A, Club B and Club C. For each club we compared the DAUs and the number of Indexed Google searches on all days in the season so far, and in doing so, noticed that the standard (and expected) trend was that Google searches spiked on match days as did the DAUs — no surprise there.

However, two things stood out to us:

One
On match days, the magnitude of the Google Search spike was much greater than the DAU spike.

Two
On the days where there was a decrease in users for both platforms, the dips for Google search queries were far more pronounced than the DAUs on the app; we actually noticed that apps maintained a decent number of DAUs on a daily basis, even on non‐​match days.

 

These observations suggest that the Google platform is a choice source of information on match days. However, Google users could be classed as non‐​reciprocal, one‐​off connections that are likely to disengage. Perhaps an away team fan or casual supporter looking for facilities info like travel and parking etc. App usage is clearly fan driven. These fans have an invested and consistent relationship with the app as their lead source of club content, on any day of the year and at any time.

We also asked ourselves what else could affect Google search and DAUs trends:


How about “Big Name” opposition?

Would playing a league leader, or a club from a higher league, have an effect on activity?
For Club A, the largest spikes were for matches against the biggest clubs in the country and those spikes came from Google. DAU numbers did not spike significantly higher than they would have for matches against smaller clubs. We can also speculate that a decent percentage of the Google queries will be coming from the big club supporters.

How about club rivalries?

Would a match against another local club, with storied rivalry, have an effect on usage?
For Club B there were some pronounced Google Search spikes, the largest of which occurred on the days that came up against their biggest rivals. However, once again, DAUs fluctuated only a little. This lends weight to the theory that Google Search numbers were again affected by outside sources. Oppositions fans, media picking up on the storied rivalry for their articles and other interested parties from outside either club.

Both of these mini case studies suggest the same thing – big club opposition and rivalries have little impact on DAUs.

Your fans care about the club, the team and the game, no matter who they are coming against.

What does all this mean?

Simple really. Clubs shouldn’t just rely on the internet and their website to give their fans what they need. Don’t make them search for it. Give fans a direct 24/​7 portal to the club and you will see fan engagement and club advocacy improve significantly. To find out how we can help you and your club, contact us now via enquiries@incrowdsports.com or head to www.incrowdsports.com

Leeds United FC focus on fan engagement with their official app built by InCrowd

Leeds United FC are continuing their focus on fan engagement with the ongoing success of their official LUTV mobile app in partnership with InCrowd, available to download on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.

LUFC fans have access to a new two‐​way channel between themselves and and the club. The Official LUTV mobile app enables fans to engage with a host of different features no matter where they are.

Fan features include:

  • Full LUTV including highlights, interviews, features and more. Subscriptions are available to be purchased here.
  • Once logged in, UK subscribers will be able to access live audio commentary, while international users can watch the full match.
  • All the latest news & breaking news supported by the InCrowd push notification system.
  • A full 2017/​18 campaign fixtures & results list.
  • Live league tables.
  • Official player & club Twitter account feeds .
  • Integrates official club social media accounts.
  • Access to ticket purchasing and merchandise.

From a media perspective, providing content to our fans was one of our biggest challenges. However, this has been a smooth process as a result of the perfect cooperation between Leeds United FC and InCrowd.” Emanuele Montoneri, Head of Media at Leeds United FC.

What does this mean for the club?

The LUTV app currently holds a 4.5/5 rating across both the Apple and Google Play app stores. Furthermore, the app has over 170 five‐​star reviews. From the point of view of the club, Leeds United will now be able to:

  • Segment, target and send personalised messages to their fans using the powerful InCrowd push notification system.
  • Collect, grow and utilise rich behavioural and location based fan data.
  • Market new sponsorship inventory to existing and future commercial partners.
  • Showcase official club content on a much improved digital platform to fans around the world.

We are extremely proud to be in partnership with one of the most prestigious football clubs in the UK. This new venture with LUFC means InCrowd now work with over 20 rights holders across four sports.’ Aidan Cooney, CEO of InCrowd.

Please check InCrowd’s and Leeds United’s Twitter feeds twitter.com/InCrowd_Sports and twitter.com/lufc for news of further updates to the official Leeds United app or get in touch via Enquiries@incrowdsports.com

About InCrowd

InCrowd provide a fan engagement & sponsorship activation platform. Our understanding of the avid and emotional mindset of a fan is combined with in‐​depth data analysis and ground‐​breaking digital technology to offer rights holders and brands a unique opportunity to reach out to sports fans in the moments that really matter. Many of the world‘s top rights holders & brands use InCrowd’s fan marketing platform to collect more fan data, sell more tickets and increase sponsorship revenue. We also help sponsors connect with new customers and convert fan interaction into revenue & advocacy. Find out more — www.incrowdsports.com

 

Club Together

How sports clubs can increase season ticket sales to 80% of sports fans by working together

Like many sports fans, I get my news from the BBC or Sky Sports app. This allows me to check the weekend football scores, flick to see who won the Grand Prix and discover stories about sports I don’t even follow. In the same vein, broadcasters are paying huge rights fees so that their paying subscribers have access to multiple sports.

Looking at research conducted by Mintel (see table below) there is clearly a large group of people in the UK who take an interest in several sports. With 29% of consumers watching five or more sports (by any method) over the last year, it would indicate that there is an opportunity for a package ticket that gives consumers a discount for attending multiple events.

Number of sports watched by any method%
None21
1 Sport16
2 Sports12
3 Sports12
4 Sports10
5 Sports6
6+ Sports23

Many clubs, particularly in the US, have started to focus on what fans wants by offering half season tickets or exploring other methods such as dynamic ticket pricing to increase attendances and revenue. I think this could be taken further and by working with other local sports clubs there would be an opportunity to increase attendances whilst providing better value for the fan.

Leeds Example

Three clubs in Leeds all need to increase the number of fans through the turnstiles (see table). By committing fans to attending two or three games in each sport, clubs would start to benefit from cross marketing to each other’s fans.

Leeds UnitedFootball55% Stadium Utilisation
Leeds RhinosRugby League75% Stadium Utilisation
YorkshireCricket<20% Utilisation

Add in a Yorkshire Jets netball match, an evening at the darts and a day at York races and suddenly the annual program for a sports fan is looking fuller and more enticing.

Model

Perhaps this could be sold to fans as a season ticket across sports with an annual financial commitment similar to season tickets or perhaps a similar model to TasteCard could be used.

TasteCard is a membership that gives customers 50% off at selected restaurants from Monday to Thursday (off peak). It has over 4.5 million members in the UK with over 800,000 active users. With an upfront payment of up to £80 a year, it has similar elements to a season ticket but is essentially a discount voucher that works across a variety of restaurants.

Sports fans could pay £25 for a membership that offers discounts for a selected number of matches each year. Two half price tickets for each sport would fill seats that are otherwise empty without clubs needing to drop their prices. Also, don’t forget about the friends they would bring along – on average tickets are purchased in groups of three.

Loss of business?

A risk of creating a scheme like this would be that current season ticket holders would downgrade. The “share of wallet” that a club has would be reduced and split amongst rival entertainment properties. This might be the case for some fans but season ticket holders are the most fanatic, most loyal supporters in the world. They are unlikely to reduce their number of home games from 20 to 2.

By providing a low priced entry point, this is a scheme that targets fans who attend two or three sports matches a year. The aim would be to encourage them to attend 5 or 6 matches, bringing 2 or 3 friends with them each time. Ultimately this brings more people to sport and all clubs, especially in less mainstream sports, would benefit.

With 33m seats sitting empty across the four main team sports in the UK, it would be fantastic to see clubs looking at initiatives like this.