How to Create a Sports Brand that Drives Loyalty

In this article, we’ll look at brand loyalty in sports, and discuss how sports brands can generate and maintain loyalty among their supporters.

How to Create a Sports Brand that Drives Loyalty

Customer loyalty is a vital asset for any brand, whether it’s a multinational retail business, a B2B software company, or a local hairdresser. However, when it comes to sports brands, driving and maintaining loyalty is a more complex and much more important matter.

When they want to increase loyalty, sports brands need to simultaneously consider their games' entertainment value, fan engagement level, ability and position in the league, and business strategy. Their fans will consider each of these factors, and failing in one could ostracise a significant number of those supporters.

In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of brand loyalty in sports, and provide advice on how to create a sports brand that inspires loyalty in its fans. Read on for our expert guidance and insights.

The Importance of Brand Loyalty in Sports

Brand loyalty is important to sports teams for much of the same reason that it’s important to other businesses: loyalty increases the likelihood of a customer returning (i.e. continuing to buy match tickets and merchandise), which in turn increases profits. Loyal customers also help market a business through positive word of mouth.

One of the less obvious reasons why brand loyalty is so important in sports is that it cuts down on competition: building brand loyalty ensures you’re the only team a particular fan supports. This is a recent issue faced by sports brands, where younger consumers are less fanatical about their teams and often support two or more teams. A study by sports media business COPA90 found that 46% of 16-24-year-old fans in the UK support a second team, and of those, 27% support three teams or more.

But how can a sports brand build drive loyalty among its customers?

How to Create a Sports Brand That Drives Loyalty

Since many factors are involved in sports brand loyalty, thinking up strategies to improve your customer retention rates can seem daunting. However, it’s better to lean into the complexity: since there are so many factors to consider, it means there are many different directions from which to tackle the challenge.

Below, we’ll look at a variety of tactics for driving brand loyalty in sports, including building a sports fan engagement platform, providing a streamlined shopping experience, and offering value to loyal fans.

1. Fan Engagement Platforms

Embracing modern technology is a great first step in your loyalty strategy. By building an online, digital platform wholly dedicated to your brand, you can create a place where you can engage with fans, and where fans can engage and converse with each other. A great example is the PSG fan app designed by Future Platforms.

Having your own tailor-made brand platform is by far the best way to encourage fan engagement. Failing that, having a strong social media presence is also a good choice — a fact recognised by most sports teams. For example, 70% of sports teams in the top 10 US and European football leagues have a TikTok account, with most accounts boasting millions of followers.

2. Show That You’re Listening

Once you have a platform for fan discussion and engagement, it’s crucial that you use the opportunities it provides. The best way of doing this is by taking in what the fans are saying: while it’s probably not a great idea to change your starting lineup based on fan opinions, you might uncover great merchandise ideas or problems with your seating.

Even if implementing the change is simple, it can have a huge impact on loyalty. Your fans will feel listened to, which in turn will make them feel valued by your brand.

3. A Streamlined Shopping Experience

While a streamlined shopping experience might seem like more of a priority for a fashion retail business, it can also create brand loyalty in sports brands. Some sports brands sell millions of jerseys, tops, hats and other branded gear every year, but to keep up with this demand it’s important to provide a smooth shopping experience.

Complicated website design, slow-loading product pages, or low-quality images are all significant problems in ecommerce and can create a poor shopping experience. Even a single poor experience can turn a customer away from a brand, which reduces income: although most fans are likely to still watch games, they may start getting their merchandise from other providers. 

4. Offer Value to Loyal Fans

Personalisation and rewarding customer loyalty are both crucial elements in modern loyalty-building strategies. Sports brands can easily co-opt these tactics, especially if they have their own brand app or an ecommerce platform: special deals can be provided to loyal customers, or specific products could be suggested based on preferences. Implementing this functionality is a great example of a potential use case for AI in sports, as AI-powered personalisation can be highly accurate.

Creating and Maintaining Loyalty With Future Platforms

Looking for more tips on how to create a sports brand that drives loyalty? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Sports Fan Loyalty and discover the best way to keep your supporters coming back for more.

If you’re looking to start building brand loyalty for your sports team, then working with Future Platforms can get you off to the best possible start. Our team of marketing and app development experts can help you design and build an appealing, engaging brand app that will have an enormous positive impact on your fans. For more information, please get in touch today.