NFL Teams Bring More Excitement to Fans With In-Game Social Experiences

By Justin Lafferty Comment

KC Chiefs Videoboard

In cities all over the U.S. this Sunday, football fans will relax on the couch, on the tailgate chair or in their stadium seat to watch their favorite NFL team.

For all of these fans, NFL teams are turning to social media to get them engaged, regardless of how close to the 50-yard line they are. Many teams, such as the Kansas City Chiefs and Dallas Cowboys, use Twitter and Instagram to keep fans engaged during timeouts and halftime, letting them vote for a memorable play or their favorite player. Selfies posted to Instagram could end up on the big screen.

So how are teams planning to engage with fans this year? SocialTimes talked with Postano, which works with several pro and college sports teams on enhancing the in-game experience.

Postano president Justin Garrity talked about how the rise of mobile technology is making gamification possible inside of NFL stadiums:

That mobile phone they have with them is a big part of creating an enhanced experience. They’re trying to capture moments, trying to get involved and trying to interact. These stadiums have big screens all around — above the field, around the stadium, in displays. I think the big focus is how to connect that phone with those displays in a way where you can create an interactive experience. We see that trend across the teams wanting to make that connection. They don’t want fans on their phones getting disconnected from the game.

Postano’s director of business development in sports, Brian Cheek, said that teams use Instagram and Twitter mainly for fan engagement and promote check-ins via Facebook. Postano has also been working with teams to utilize Periscope for live behind-the-scenes video, and many teams are also active on platforms such as Snapchat. All of this makes a fan’s iPhone or Android a window to an enhanced experience.

James Royer, director of digital media for the Kansas City Chiefs, told SocialTimes how vital social media is to the team:

Having the social content visualized on Arrowvision is a central and highly visible part of the game experience and presentation. Because it creates such a high level of fan engagement, it Is a valuable element for a partner. In our case, it is sponsored as the Ford Fan Wall.

But as more teams adopt social gamification for things like voting for your favorite player or showing team pride, there are deeper ways social can be used in-stadium. Cheek talked about teams using a fun “selfie shuffle” game to get the crowd excited during downtime, as well as showing which sections are the most active on social, encouraging participation.

Cheek also told SocialTimes about social media walls inside locker rooms, letting the players see encouragement posted to social by fans. Garrity said he’d love see smart screens in tailgate areas, as well, keeping fans engaged before they even step foot in the stadium.

Readers: Do you use social media when you’re at the game? How?

Image courtesy of the Kansas City Chiefs.