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How Professional Sports Teams Can Use User-Generated Content And Influencer Marketing


The sports industry took a major hit in 2020. According to Statista, the US sports industry lost $2.2 billion of national TV revenue as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. During this time, sports teams globally were scrambling to figure out ways to recoup losses and maintain overall engagement. Many organizations are getting creative to adjust to new social norms. In sports, it is already expected that teams should have a strong social media presence as fans are looking for more creative ways to engage.

When attempting to elevate your sports brand, it’s easy when the team is winning, but in challenging times, how can you go beyond brand recognition to ensure fans are still engaged? Fans of all kinds – including influencers – respond well to user-generated content (UGC) as a great outlet to get involved. To convert your fans into consistent viewers and shoppers, here are four methods that can expand your team’s engagement to new heights.

Celebrate Fans & Discover your Micro Influencers

One way to drum up engagement in a lull is to give back to the fan community through recognition. Many fans simply enjoy the chance to be acknowledged by their favorite team on social media.  Sports franchises can look into their existing community of engaged fans to see if any micro-influencers are already engaging with them.

Milani Cosmetics’ marketing team found up and coming influencers who were interested in partnering with the brand to grow together. What’s more – this strategy helped both the digital team and the social team partner together to find the top content and influencer talent as they emerge, which resulted in a lift in their average order value by over 17%

With Pixlee, sports franchises can easily discover other micro influencers and cast a wider net for growing their audience.

Use Content to Build Fan Loyalty

Having fans interact with your brand through UGC can not only drive engagement, it will help with brand loyalty – even during struggling times.  Giving fans additional ways to engage digitally can help grow loyalty even during off season or during game hiatuses.

Equipment manufacturer Marucci uses Pixlee to grow engagement with their social media contests during unusual times. When athletes were confined to their homes in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Marucci launched their “Level Up” campaign, which encouraged the brand’s customers to share how they were training at home in early spring. Resonating with the audience, this contest garnered a 22% engagement rate – which also resulted in a wealth of user-generated content for the brand to use across other channels. Keeping your fans engaged  year-round isn’t just necessary, it’s easy with social media contests.

Get More Merchandise Feedback

There’s more to sports merchandising than just jerseys. Fans of all sports love having a variety of options to represent their favorite teams. But how will you know what types of swag your fans want if you don’t ask? Casually get your fans to do more and use their feedback to create better product offerings. 

Get more out of your fanbase’s feedback with TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews product. With the “Do More” feature, you can incorporate their purchase history and ask fans to write additional reviews. These personalized requests can increase product review submissions by 20%-30%. When shoppers purchase products, they can also take advantage of TurnTo’s inbox submission feature that allows them to submit a review directly from the body of an email. With a mobile-first approach, it is highly effective at gathering Customer-Generated Content from those on mobile devices.

Thanks to features like Do More and Inbox Submission, the average number of reviews collected monthly by The Vitamin Shoppe increased by 58% after adopting TurnTo’s Ratings & Reviews product. TurnTo can help sports franchises celebrate their fans even during the off-season, and shoppers can exude their pride by submitting their favorite ways they represent their teams!

Feature Fans Now That Live Games Are Back

Fans expect an experience that meets them where they are: on social media, online and authentically. Now that pro-sports arenas are reopening, there’s a ton of potential to connect digital experiences in person. The Denver Broncos launched their “Come To Life” campaign where fans can take a photo of a code on a cup and be transferred into an interactive world where they can take a tour of the locker room, go out on the field, take a picture with their favorite player and even win prizes.

As malls began opening up, Brookfield Partners Properties began to use Pixlee’s digital displays to show exciting new offers that helped re-attract customers to their centers. With the right technology, you can build the most engaged fan base — online and in-person.

Digital engagement is important beyond the lockdown. Even with in-person events opening up, you need to be aware of the gap between in person and digital spaces. With UGC, influencer marketing, and a stellar fan feedback strategy, sports teams can knock their return to events out of the park.


Special thanks to our friends at Pixlee for their insights on this topic.
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