Liverpool FC fans

The digital transformation of sports clubs: fan data as a growth lever

The digital transformation of sports clubs: fan data as a growth lever

Champions League finalists Liverpool FC are as successful on the pitch as they are off it. Its digital transformationled by Drew Crisp, is an example of this success.

Drew Crisp, formerly of IBM, has been appointed Senior Vice-President Digital of LFC in 2019. His role is to reorganise all digital activities, starting with centralising them. Until then, the club's various departments had taken different approaches to their digital strategies. Crisp's initial task was to unify all of this and ensure that all digital work carried out was geared towards the same goal.

Interviewed by sportbusiness.com Crisp says: "The aim is to get to a point where we are really clear about the role of what we call technology and transformationand how we can ensure that they support both commercial operations, the back office as well as the front office, with a fan-centric approach."

The club's main objective was to "focus on growing the audience on our own platforms. The number of fans on a Facebook page or the engagement rate on Instagram or TikTok are often mentioned when trying to measure a club's digital impact. These are important factors, but directing fans to the club's own platforms, including its official website or app, is the main objective, so that Liverpool owns the fan data and can start to use it both as a direct marketing platform and to support the club's sponsor activities."

The social mediaare, of course, the initial point of contact with fans, to bring them onto the club's platforms. "What are the reasons people come to the platforms we own and operate? If we post a short clip on social media, that's the promise of richer, deeper content if you go to our app or website."

Crisp also discusses the problems Barça has had with Barça with Spotify (350 million fans on social mediafor 3.5 million profiles in the database). Less than a year ago, the English club would have been in the same situation. Since then, Liverpool has built up a database of 39 million fan profiles. How did they do this? With the implementation of a single sign-on (SSO) on the club's various digital platforms, a customer data platform and personalised marketing activities. This allows the club to track all interactions with the fan and to make offers accordingly.

Liverpool can now send emails or push notifications, modify self-promotional blocks on its site or deploy banners for its partners via Google Ad Manager. Geographical criteria or interests can also be used, without the site visitor even being logged in: "We are becoming a target marketing powerhouse."

Not all clubs and sports organisations have a vocation to gather 39 million profiles, but all have an interest in knowing their fans, offering them personalised editorial and commercial content and havinga targeted offer for partners.

Disclaimer, Liverpool FC is not yet an Arenametrix customer 🙂

Alexis Riotteau

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