When Regular Customers Become Fans?


Overly simplified model of customer loyalty goes as follows:

Every marketing professional, however, knows that that’s rarely the case and sport teams don’t have it any different.

As Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said it ‘’Sports is not like any other business’’. In sports you cannot always control the wins or losses, but you can control the effort that goes into making it all entertaining. Sports marketers need focus on what customers want, they need to re-gain the fans’ support every day.

When it comes to sport teams, building a fan base ultimately comes down to fan identification. Fan identification refers to the psychological connection that individuals have with sport teams. The key here is to make the customer (the future fan) feel part of the experience – feel part of the team. Researchers believe that the level of identification with an organization depends on such factors as satisfaction with the organization, reputation of the organization, frequency of contact, and the visibility of affiliation.

The visibility of affiliation. Sport teams will offer backstage access to the stadiums or training facilities, autograph signings and open trainings in order to identify more with their fans hoping this action will build more of a loyal following. The aim is to show the loyal customers and fans that the team cares and wants them to be part of the atmosphere.

Sure those tricks still work but they’re also very clichéd tactics and don’t really offer anything remarkably new for fan identification and engagement. When was the last time you offered your spectators something completely new? Something that makes them tick?