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5 Ways to Attract Fans to Your Games

This post considers different ways to attract fans to your sports games. It's part of our series on sports engagement.

Every year, fans across the country get swept up in Major League Baseball’s Home Run Derby or the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest.

Modern sports marketing seems to be all about “the fan experience.” Though we don't like to acknowledge the truth in it, that expression suggests that the game itself isn’t enough of a draw anymore.

And for many fans, it isn’t.

To draw a broader audience and extend the shelf life of your events – whether it’s a conference tournament, rec league all-star game or even a league championship – you may want to consider creating fan-friendly attractions.

Learn From the Pros

The folks at the NBA and MLB are obviously sports marketing masters. Learn from them!

Those home run, slam-dunk and 3-point contests were entirely manufactured to expand what traditionally was a one- day all-star game into an entire weekend extravaganza.

Major sponsors followed. So did fans.

Put Ideas Into Action

Tap into that approach by expanding a one-off event. Here’s how:

  1. Think family-friendly. Orchestrate and widely promote a basic skills competition — pitching, passing, shooting 3-pointers or foul shots, navigating an obstacle course of “defenders.” Attract the kids and, of course, adults follow.
  2. Teach important sports skills. Fan out the coaching staff to offer kids basic instruction.
  3. Offer it for free. The potential value is event exposure, ticket sales and sponsorships.
  4. Stage a celebrity game like the pro leagues, with softball and basketball games featuring rosters of A-Listers. Do the same with local TV, radio, newspaper, sports and political celebs.
  5. Live stream the events for maximum exposure.

Final Thoughts + Further Reading

But getting people to attend your events doesn't happen on its own: you have to do some work to build an audience. Here are 5 easy steps to promoting your biggest game of the year.