Thursday, September 10, 2015

Football season is fast approaching, which equals jersey wearing, tailgating, and hoping your favorite team makes it to the playoffs. Today’s game is dramatically enhanced for the fan via mobile use, as it provides a closer connection to the game among other perks. As you get ready to enjoy fall’s favorite sport, check out some of the many ways mobile technology is scoring touchdowns with fans:

A Second Screen

Some 70 percent of football fans use their mobile devices during live games, a fact that prompted the NFL to create fun “highlight” options, such as the NFL Now app. The app provides users with highlights, “Can’t Miss” plays, and original shows such as Hard Knocks and A Football Life. A study by the Mobile Marketing Association and SessionM found 59 percent of Super Bowl XLVII watchers used their smartphones during the game, particularly during commercials. Fans also engaged with brands based on just-watched commercials. Brands are subsequently more likely to send game and time-specific content to mobile devices.

Improved Live-Game Experience

The live-game experience has received an upgrade thanks to mobile. For example, the San Francisco 49er’s tech-savvy Levi Stadium makes it easy for fans to order food and drinks without leaving the comfort of their seats—and therefore not missing a moment of the action. The stadium features beacons that engage with its app, allowing fans to not only place orders, but also to check bathroom lines and obtain directions to their seats. Access to stats and high-speed replays are also possible at this stadium.

Ticketing and Loyalty Programs

More and more stadiums are accepting the mobile versions of their tickets, with the aforementioned Levi Stadium integrating ticketing into their app. Mobile tickets are immediately available for download and managed easily via Ticketmaster and Passbook. They also mean the days of flipping out because you left your tickets on the kitchen counter are over.

Another way mobile is winning with NFL fans is through loyalty programs. The 49ers, as well as the New York Jets, have implemented such programs, and make it easy for fans to earn points when they attend games and otherwise engage with the team. The 49ers reward fans for purchases, while Jets devotees score points for “fan assists,” or turnovers from crowd noise.

Fantasy Football Opportunities

Some fans are really, really into fantasy football, a fact that mobile is encouraging. Mobile apps such as those from ESPN and Yahoo give fantasy football players what they need: real-time research, stats, player updates, expert opinions, and much more.

These are just some of the many ways mobile is gaining popularity with NFL fans, something other professional sports associations will surely take notice of.