4th September 2015

Rugby World Cup: Enhancing the Fan Experience Using Social Media

With less than two weeks to go before England take on Fiji in the opening game of the Rugby World Cup, excitement is building, not least on social media. The official #RWC2015 hashtag is growing in popularity ahead of what is expected to be the “most connected” rugby tournament ever.

In a digital age where Brits spend more time on technology than they do sleeping, social media offers an amazing opportunity for the Rugby Football Union (RFU) to engage with supporters like never before. From posting behind the scenes footage on YouTube to sharing team news via Twitter, exploiting the potential of various social platforms throughout the competition could support the acquisition of new fans, helping protect the long-term future of the sport.

Rugby-Picture

The digital landscape is a far cry from what it was 12 years ago when Jonny Wilkinson kicked England to World Cup glory. Back then, listening to the game on the radio or watching it on television were the only options for us based outside of Australia to follow the game. Today, however, there are countless ways people can follow the game, one of those being via their mobile smartphones and tablets.

In recent years, there has been a dramatic shift in fan behaviour alongside the surge in smartphone penetration, as fans use a ‘second screen’ to access supplementary content. But it’s not just those at home or in the pub that want to enhance their experience, spectators at the events are also using their devices.

Without getting into a debate over whether posting videos is illegal or not, the fact is it is easy for people to broadcast unofficial video content, and it’s this type of ‘unique’ content that goes viral. So instead of being one step behind, the RFU will hopefully recognise that it has the opportunity to make the fan at home feel like they are actually at the event. New technology has made it easy to create and share rich content, such as videos, in seconds. By providing high-quality content on a regular basis throughout the tournament, English rugby has the chance to step out of football’s shadow and attract new, tech-savvy fans.

Essentially, the World Cup should (and probably will) be all about content.

The challenge for the RFU and every other institution is to understand this audience and satisfy the desire by providing them with fun, credible and, most importantly, sharable content. This is the potential that social media can offer every organisation or business, whatever the industry. It’s never been easier to connect to new audiences and acquire customers (fans in the RFU’s case), so it’d be foolish to ignore it.

It’s all about embracing digital.

Enjoy the tournament.

By Andrew Frost, B2B Account Executive