From casual fan to super fan: How gamification is reshaping sports fan engagement

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Sports fan engagement!

When we hear this, we visualize these ‘super fans. The ones who are present at every game or competition. The ones who are so deeply connected to their favorite teams or to a specific athlete that it becomes intertwined with their identity.

But, how do you cultivate these super fans?

It's achieved by fostering a community, being accessible to even the "average" fan, making them feel like they belong to an exclusive group, where their opinions matter.

That's the essence of sports fan engagement, and in this article, we show how marketing gamification has aided numerous sports teams across Europe in enhancing their fan engagement and succeeded in developing fan loyalty.

What is Sports fan engagement exactly?

Sports fan engagement refers to the interaction and involvement of fans with a particular sports brand, team, event, or organization. It involves three key strategies:

  • Acquiring new fans: This involves activating and attracting new fans while delivering positive brand experiences to newcomers.
  • Maintaining engagement with existing fans: This strategy entails using various channels to remain present and connected with the current fan base, thereby building stronger relationships with them over time.
  • Deepening relationships with fans: This involves gaining deeper insights into the fan base and engaging them inclusively to foster a sense of belonging and connection to the larger community. Additionally, it focuses on developing personalized relationships with individual fans to enhance their overall experience.

How to increase sports fan engagement through gamification?

Looking to enhance fan engagement and cultivate deeper, more loyal relationships with your audience both during games and off the playing field?

Here are some examples of how gamification can improve fan engagement:

Attracting new fans:

  • Enhance brand, product, and player awareness more effectively.
  • Obtain new marketing permissions and increase newsletter subscribers.

Retaining existing fans:

  • Provide incentives for fans to visit your website regularly.
  • Re-engage dormant/unengaged fans through interactive experiences.
  • Activate new fans through targeted gamified campaigns to maintain top-of-mind awareness.

Deepening relationships with fans:

  • Collect valuable data points in an authentic and transparent manner.
  • Utilize these data points to personalize your marketing efforts.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of your fans' needs, behaviors, preferences, and more.

Driving sales:

  • Boost ticket sales for sporting events.
  • Increase merchandise sales both online and offline.


When to use gamification to increase fan engagement in sports?

There are no definitive right or wrong answers; sports fan engagement can be effective across all touchpoints both before, during, and after sporting events.

Before a sporting event

Engaging your fans before a match, tournament, or championship is crucial for building excitement and anticipation. Utilizing simple and interactive games can achieve this effortlessly.

For instance, you could implement a "Guess the score" or "Who will win the gold medal" game to ignite anticipation and involvement among fans.


For Mother’s Day 2023, C.D. Leganés used a fun memory game where mothers had the chance to win invitations for their children to attend the upcoming Leganés-Huesca match.


Ahead of their F1 2024 ticket release, Silverstone wanted to make sure they sent the most relevant ticket offers to each of their subscribers - they used a fast 3-question survey to do so!

During a sporting event

You can interact with your fans and strengthen their connection to your brand by challenging and engaging them through fun games, polls, quizzes, and more. There are various methods to accomplish this, such as utilizing an app with push notifications or strategically placing QR codes around the event venue.

For example, at a football match, you could implement a drop game where players act as goalkeepers tasked with preventing footballs from entering the net.


Skanderborg Aarhus Handball uses a “Man of the Match” game during each home game where people at the stadium can use their phones to vote.

After a sporting event

Don’t wait until the next sporting event to stay in touch with your fans. Fans love to share their thoughts on the event, including who they believe should have won, whether a yellow card or penalty was deserved, and more.

For example, provide your fans with the opportunity to share their opinions through engaging polls.

HIFK conducted a fun poll after their match in February 2024 where fans had to decide who was the best player of the match!

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The Netball World Association created a fun game after the 2023 World Cup in Cape Town, where participants could create their Netball dream team by selecting 7 players from the three medalist teams.

Always-on campaigns

In terms of sports fan engagement, always-on campaigns are those that are not tied to any specific sporting events but remain available over an extended period.

For example, you could implement campaigns to enhance player awareness, increase merchandise sales, and much more.


The Football Association of Finland has this fun always-on memory game where players need to associate the right jersey with the right player.

Sports fan engagement & gamification: The way forward!

The Football Association of Finland (FAF) has teamed up with Playable since 2021 to boost fan engagement for their national teams. Among their playable initiatives, the FAF offers various games on their website, helping Finnish fans connect with both the men's and women's national team players.

These interactive games have demonstrably fostered a closer connection between the Finnish population and the national teams, leading to long-term benefits like increased ticket and merchandise sales. Additionally, the FAF employs a range of other engaging and successful campaigns, including gamified birthday emails and abandoned cart initiatives.

Read their full customer story here!