There have been companies who have made engagement their number one priority. The NFL is an excellent example. The lifeblood of the NFL was and is always the fans, and they live by that. In the 1940s, when TVs became mainstream, the NFL quickly followed with pro football games.
Televised games were a significant driver of the NFL’s popularity and profitability. Alongside it came fans who demanded a better-televised game experience. The NFL poured money into innovation for broadcast. In the 1960s, “Instant Replay” was first added to make the game more entertaining, add highlights and help explain the game better to the audience.
You can also see the past. The televised games did not have scores, timeouts, line of scrimmage, and other important information at the bottom of the screen. Later, these innovations were added in the 1970s alongside colour TV, better cameras, and graphics which helped draw in new fans and engage current fans to be more involved in the game.
This all happened because they listened to the fans. They wanted them to engage better with what was happening to persuade viewers further to tune into televised football games. Can you imagine watching a game like the one on the left? No, you would demand it to look like it on the right.
The NFL continues to innovate in ways to elevate interaction with its audience. Recently they are experimenting with augmented reality to help kids learn how the game works without having it interfere with the viewing of regular audiences. This is genius, as they cultivate a new generation of viewers and help soften the image of the NFL to be more friendly. You can see a bit of that below.
The NFL is a prime case study of holding up engagement as one of the core pillars of its strategy. Building around that is vital for the growth of their business, especially considering their product is their audience. It’s obvious here, but other businesses can do the same, even if it isn’t as clear-cut as the NFL.
Innovating engagement should never stop. Even if it doesn’t work out! The key is to innovate on a small scale than ramp up when you see positive results. It’s a tricky balance, but it is never a bad strategy.
Quick Guide to NFL TV Graphics | NFL Football Operations. (n.d.). Operations.nfl.com. Retrieved April 30, 2022, from https://operations.nfl.com/learn-the-game/nfl-basics/quick-guide-to-nfl-tv-graphics/
How Television Has Changed the NFL | NFL Football Operations. (n.d.). Operations.nfl.com. https://operations.nfl.com/gameday/technology/impact-of-television/
In your face mask: NFL VR game coming in fall. (2022, April 20). ESPN.com. https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/33771548/nfl-licensed-virtual-reality-game-set-fall-release
NFL Using Digital Tech to Appeal to Younger Fans. (2021, February 2). Designnews.com. https://www.designnews.com/industry/nfl-using-digital-tech-appeal-younger-fans