Want to unlock a new level of fan engagement and drive continuous revenue growth? Plugging powerful financial features straight into their ecosystem is a winning solution for forward-thinking sports teams.
The collective gasp of millions of people at a close call. The unification of a triumphant win - or a devastating loss. There’s nothing quite like the emotional connection between sports teams and their fans. It’s a love affair deeply entrenched into America’s national culture - and with it comes serious brand power.
The average NBA team has 17.65 million fans on social media, with the LA Lakers boasting a whopping 60.3 million followers. Major League Baseball is just that, with an estimated 171 million fans following every pitch, home fun, and foul ball annually.
While traditionally, sports brands relied on fan attendance to drive their profits, digital transformation has meant that sports is now delivered to and consumed by a much wider audience, both on and off the field (or pitch!). This offers brands the chance to unlock new ways to engage and monetize their fan base.
Sports and finance might be the most obvious pairings, but in the new age of digital fan engagement, it pays off. There’s no need to go it alone though - embedded finance delivered by a fintech partner is fast becoming the go-to solution for teams looking not only to create a next-level experience for their fans but to increase engagement, create new revenue streams, and generate a wealth of actional user data.
“Embedded finance solutions like those offered by Qorbis enhance brand loyalty through promotional power, delivering simple, smart, and secure financial services alongside bespoke reward and loyalty programs."
“This is a game-changer, redefining the relationship between sport and finance, providing major brands with the tools they need to transform cost centers into revenue streams and deepen engagement with their fan bases.”Stephen Williams, CEO of Qorbis, a leader in the integration of embedded finance solutions.
Embedded finance: The flywheel effect
Imagine the insights gained from knowing your fans’ shopping habits, from spend frequency to category. Embedded finance powered by a Banking as a Service (BaaS) model enables just that, with benefits to both brands and end-users.
By engaging a partner with an API-based, cloud-native platform and licensed financial services, brands can build the banking services they want, brand it as their own, and roll it out securely and seamlessly to users both internally and externally. The result is staff and fans using team-branded digital banking and financial products with all the compliance of a traditional bank but with far more convenience and appeal to today’s digitally-savvy users.
The financial products not only generate revenue in and of themselves, but as a result, fans spend more on the brand’s products and services than they had before obtaining the financial product. It’s the ultimate brand flywheel effect, and in a climate where the battle for customer attention has never been more hotly contested, it’s fast becoming a cornerstone of success. Brands know that loyalty counts - and sports brands, with their hoards of committed, win-or-lose fans, are better positioned than most to make this loyalty count in their favor.
“Brand identity is a major facet of sports such as the NBA or MBA because of the trust fans place in teams. Platforms like Qorbis empower the sports industry to extend the brand experience beyond the field or the court into fans' everyday lives,” says WIlliams. “Doing so has significant commercial benefits but also creates a huge wealth of user data that can be leveraged to better inform decision-making and more.”
Brand Loyalty: the ultimate goalscorer
Brands are about 70% more likely to sell to a previous customer than a new one, and existing customers usually spend more. So whether a fan is purchasing game day tickets, an access pass to watch the game online, or a hat emblazoned with their favorite team’s logo, the chances are they’ll also buy something else from their beloved team, too. Including financial products.
More than half of 25-34-year-olds believe using financial products from their favorite brands is more convenient than banking with a traditional retail bank.
52% of 25-34 year olds feel brands offer financial products better tailored to their specific needs when compared to traditional institutions.
In further good news for brands looking to monetize their fan bases, among consumers who already get a financial product from a non-financial brand, a third said the product caused them to spend more money with the brand, three in 10 said they now choose the brand over its competitors more often, and a little more than a quarter feel more loyal to the brand.
It’s clear that fans are open to a financial product delivered to them seamlessly by their favorite baseball team, for example, in much the same way that Uber seamlessly charges their ride to the game. This is good news for fans as well as brands - here’s why.
By integrating financial services directly into a user's preferred platform or application - a team app, for instance, the customer experience is streamlined, with financial services there as and when they’re needed. This eliminates the need for customers to visit multiple platforms or applications to access financial services. Customers want the ease of accessing and managing their finances within their existing ecosystem - essentially: less friction, more loyalty.
Embedded finance solutions leverage customer data and insights from the platform to offer personalized financial products and services. By understanding user behavior, preferences, and financial needs, these solutions can provide tailored recommendations, customized offers, and relevant financial solutions This personalization creates a deeper connection between fans and their preferred teams, increases engagement, and fosters loyalty.
Enhanced Value Proposition
Brands that integrate financial services into their ecosystem provide an expanded value proposition to users, giving fans a 360-degree experience. By integrating financial services, they can offer additional benefits such as competitive FX rates or exclusive deals and discounts. These value-added benefits increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, as customers perceive the platform as a comprehensive solution that meets multiple needs and offers bonus perks.
Boosted Engagement and Interactions
Embedded finance solutions enable brands to engage customers more actively in their financial activities. Through features like real-time notifications, financial management tools, or budgeting assistance, customers are encouraged to be more involved in their financial decisions. The increased engagement and positive interactions create a sense of ownership and loyalty towards the platform.
New Revenue Opportunities
By using a platform provider to embed financial products and services into their brand’s ecosystem - such as charge cards bearing their logo - teams can create branded digital revenue streams by sharing income from fan purchases. This in turn drives the flywheel, creating value for fans via the customer data generated, allowing for a more tailored and personalized experience, and a higher average spend, providing further commercial opportunities for brands.
Actionable Data Insights
For brands, the prize goes beyond winning or retaining customers — BaaS-driven embedded finance brings a mountain of usable data to drive future products and services that build sustained growth and allow for more predictable decision-making.
“Having financial functions integrated with [brand ecosystems] enables new functionality, leveraging the persistent connection to move beyond transactions to relationships. These relationships are data-rich, which leads to smarter cross-sell, pre-qualification, and risk reduction. The monetization opportunities are not only large but actually meaningfully larger than the original opportunity.”Matt Harris of Bain Capital Ventures
Fintech: Enabling a Complete Brand Experience
Embedded finance can bring sports brands to life and unlock a range of commercial opportunities. From cross-selling to new revenue streams, targeted upselling increased brand loyalty, and merchandise sales, your fan base can be effectively monetized to the benefit of both said fans and their team.
Partnering with a platform provider allows brands to choose the right tools in which to best meet their goals - whether that’s frictionless payment methods, innovative loyalty programs, or transactional insights that give visibility of the entire fan journey.