As the largest club stadium of any football team in the UK, Old Trafford can seem pretty huge when it’s filled to its 75,000 capacity. Despite this, it’ll never be enough to accommodate the 80 million fans that Manchester United has on its Facebook and Twitter pages.
With the club’s Twitter followers coming from 210 countries and the majority of these being from Egypt, it’s pretty clear that only a minority of fans will be making it to a game anytime soon. So how can clubs like Manchester United use video effectively to reach remote fans like these that are a world away from the game-day experience?
In the social media era, watching a game on TV just isn’t enough anymore. Fans want access to every part of their favourite sports star’s life. Clubs can use this in their favour with exclusive and behind-the-scenes player videos, whether that be at training or on the team bus.
With more social media fans than any other US sport, the NBA sets an example with its exclusive content. At this month’s Global Games London, the NBA kept to form by bringing in Lorry client DMS, to assist in producing a treasure trove of creative content for fans. From NBA legend John Amaechi interviewing players over afternoon tea, to one of the team’s taking a tour of Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium, they put quality content at the forefront to make those who couldn’t attend the game feel involved in both the Denver Nuggets and Indiana Pacers first UK experience.
Immerse fans in the action with new formats
Not all fans will get the proper pie and a hot Bovril experience of a Premier League game, the emergence of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) graphics can be invaluable tools in engaging with these remote fans. These formats have the ability to breakdown geographical barriers and bring people closer to the action than ever before.
BT Sport conducted a VR trial back in September for a Premier League clash between Chelsea and Arsenal. It allowed fans to get as close to the pitch as they wanted with four different viewpoint options, a truly immersive game experience. 2017 is being predicted as the year for VR, with the shipments of VR devices expected to increase from 2.2m in 2015 to 20m in 2018, and an improvement in the quality of both formats, VR and AR can be the game-changer some clubs need for global fan engagement.
Make it mobile
Sports teams have been turning to apps for some time to supplement the in-stadium experience. But what about content for those who can’t make a match? Take Premier League fans in LA or Singapore, chances are they won’t always choose their team’s game over a weekend lie-in or a Saturday night party. Ensuring an app contains up to the minute content with replay videos, game highlights and player interviews can make it a top choice for these remote fans so they still feel like they’re part of a game whatever their time zone.
Although a trip to Old Trafford will always be an ambition of any United fan, teams like Manchester United can use video content to their advantage, to bridge the fan engagement gap between the lucky season ticket holders and those remote fans that are thousands of miles away from the heart of the action.