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10 Ways to Celebrate Fan Engagement Around Sports Events

by Jenna Rogers,  15-May-2019 02:12:03

Watching live sport creates an experience unlike anything else. Whether fans are watching via traditional TV, digital stream or attending an event in person, they’re showing that they’re some of the most passionate audiences out there.

With sports continuing to dominate trending conversation on social media, there are great opportunities to reward loyalty and capitalise on the engagement.

Research by Katz highlights that live specials and sporting events have the power to generate an audience far above and beyond regular viewing, bringing people together to watch and comment on the action (and the advertisements) in real-time.


We take a look at some of the ways broadcasters, brands and organisations are employing strategies to make social interactivity a key aspect of their sporting event and how it’s leading to increased viewership, loyalty and revenue.


Stadium Interactivity

There is enormous potential to celebrate the buzz from fans by displaying messages, photos, videos as well as running interactive polls and competitions within the stadium. UEFA used our platform STORY to gather, moderate and display posts from fans, VIPs and celebrities during the Champions League Final.

We encourage clients to bring a brand onboard to sponsor the format, for example by encouraging fans to use a branded hashtag to take part.


Social Commentary

Including messages of support from viewers is a great way to involve them in the broadcast.

Channel 4 used STORY to include Tweets from the audience as well as athletes and people at the stadium in their coverage of the World Para Athletics Championships.

sports tweets on air 

second screen pollSecond Screen Polls and Quizzes

With growing numbers of viewers now using a second screen device while watching TV, networks are looking more and more to facilitate participation via the second screen whether that’s social media or an organisation’s own app. Running interactive elements such as quizzes and polls gives fans at home the opportunity to participate alongside the main event.



Social Q&A

Viewers watching the Tour de France could ask questions using the dedicated ITV hashtag and have them answered on-air by commentators in a live Q&A. Fans were enthusiastic about Tweeting their questions during the broadcast and loved being able to interact with the hosts and cycling professionals. Some viewers even shared photos of their message on air back to their own social networks.



Commercialise Social Engagement

Sponsored segments could include a branded poll or competition, or something completely unique. We worked with Turner Sports on a Sprint-sponsored segment to power a real-time Twitter race, the first of its kind. The 60-second race, billed as “the shortest race in NASCAR history”, ran during the live Wide Open coverage of the last 30 laps of the race. Fans were asked to Tweet their favourite driver’s car number, along with the hashtag #Sprint60 with the volume of Tweets determining the speed of the cars.


In-Studio Participation

We know that people appreciate getting the opportunity to have their voices heard or have their few seconds of fame. We’ve also seen that social engagement can drive viewership – for example, Irish broadcaster RTE asked the audience to help them decide on Ireland’s Greatest Sporting Moment. The format was driven by votes and comments shared live across social platforms and resulted in the show trending on social media and an increase in viewing share.

live sports poll


Put Social Reactions in the Presenter’s Hands’s Prompter tool gives sports presenters the ability to access team and player info, read out comments from viewers and discuss poll results live during a game.

presenter social tool



Social competitions give audiences an added incentive to tune-in or participate. Competitions can be run on-air, on outdoor screens, via digital or on social via Facebook Live. See how Channel 4 ran an interactive competition for PlayStation which led to the hashtag trending across Europe that evening.

Digital and Streaming

The same formats used by traditional broadcasters can now easily be extended to live streaming and digital signage. This is great news for those using streaming services such as Facebook Live, Twitch and YouTube who can now benefit by integrating live engagement from their audience in to their broadcasts.

Hashtag United, a team founded on YouTube who have 7 million fans globally used our HTML5 social graphics for their football match live stream to include reactions from viewers.

social media for digital streaming

At we believe in the importance of celebrating fan engagement and making audiences feel valued. We’re seeing clients use the power of traditional TV, digital, social and events to connect with fans and innovative and exciting ways. Get in touch to learn more.

Related: 8 Reasons to Include Viewer-Generated Social Content in your Broadcasts

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