Sporting Kansas City, which already boasts one of the best fan experiences in Major League Soccer, has proven yet again that the organization is all about the fans by partnering with Atlanta-based Experience in order to bring a new level of fan engagement to the club’s “Uphoria” app. Just in time for the launch of the 2014 MLS campaign and the club’s run to defend its title, the new technology from Experience will “empower Sporting Kansas City’s fans with the ability to create memorable events by purchasing seat upgrades and one-of-a-kind experiences at Sporting Park, all from their mobile device,” the club stated in a press release.
Experience’s technology will be integrated into the team’s already existing Sporting Club Uphoria app, which is available today on both iOS and Android. Via the Uphoria app, fans can already listen to in-game audio, watch highlights, and view live stats. Now they will be able to view potential seat upgrades (and purchase them) and sign up for/purchase various fan experiences, like getting to go out on the pitch, among other new features. Importantly for SKC, the addition of the Experience technology will broaden the club’s fan database capabilities, which will allow it to better tailor marketing offers. SKC CEO Robb Heineman said,
Building on our technology strategy which centers around enhancing the fan experience, Sporting Kansas City chose Experience based on their innovation and sole focus on the fan. Experience’s mobile technology, integrated into our Uphoria app, will be fast for fans to use as well as very simple and intuitive. Sporting KC fans will be further empowered to personalize their game day experience, whether it’s having the ability to purchase an on-field experience or simply enabling a seat move to get closer to the action, our fans will be able to use technology to create a memory and make the most of their visit to Sporting Park.
According to Experience’s website, they have the capability to integrate with companies’ customer relationship management systems to be able to better connect with their fan base, even real-time during events. Targeted marketing is becoming the strategy of choice in many industries, including sport. As a consumer, or in this case fan, the more a company makes you feel like “you’re the only one”, the more special it makes you feel, the more inclined you are to interact with and ultimately purchase their products, and the most important of all, the more likely you are to come back for more.
The key to the implementation of a successful targeted marketing strategy is information about your target audience. The truth is, you can never know enough about them. That said, growth in technological capabilities in data collection, mining, and aggregation has made consumer information much more accessible and powerful in the hands of marketers. Unfortunately, the soccer industry is somewhat behind other sectors in this regard and we have yet to see clubs leverage the true potential here, but there have been some exciting developments and advancements in this space recently that show some promise.
Anything clubs can do to get better at consumer understanding when it comes to their fans the more they can leverage targeted marketing practices that will not only benefit the organization, but will lead to a better overall experience for the fans. Experience President Ben Ackerman added,
Sporting Kansas City has built their brand, their stadium, and the Uphoria app, all with an eye towards the future and how technology plays a key role in enhancing the game for fans. Working with teams like Sporting KC, who embrace technology and leverage it to help fans enjoy the game in new and unique ways, is what we are all about at Experience – we exist to ensure fans have fun at live events.
This new partnership with Experience is definitely a step in the right direction for Sporting Kansas City and their fans will be the benefactors, which is the ultimate success in the business of sports.