A soon-to-be launched loyalty program is reinventing the way sports brands engage with fans and redefining fan engagement.
Founded by Oracle Founder and CTO Larry Ellison and champion yachtsman Sir Russell Coutts, SailGP is a high tech global racing series, with eight national teams competing on identical foiling catamarans capable of reaching speeds of up to 60 mph.
During a panel at NEARCON in Lisbon this week, Warren Jones, SailGP's Chief Technology Officer, said the global sail racing league is using Oracle’s SaaS-based analytics platform CrowdTwist to build a loyalty program that will bridge the worlds of Web2 and Web3 and reward fans for their engagement and emotional connection.
Ever since its inaugural season in 2019, SailGP has taken advantage of a variety of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) services at cloud regions geographically close to the events. Using cloud-based resources to transfer and analyse data in near-real time allows more of the technology support work to be accomplished remotely, reducing cost and complexity and lowering its carbon footprint, including flying fewer people and equipment to race destinations. The league also uses streaming data to make racing more exciting for fans.
Fan loyalty program to benefit from utilising Web3
Joining Jones for the panel, which was hosted by Chris Ghent from the NEAR Foundation, was Oracle's Amr Elrawi to explain how SailGP’s approach will ensure it is fandom that gets rewarded, rather than focusing on a 'transactional relationship'.
“Oracle acquired CrowdTwist in 2019,” began Elrawi, “as it was felt that was one of the missing parts of the customer experience portfolio for Oracle. CrowdTwist is the loyalty solution that is built with one fundamental element: reward customers and fans based on their engagement.
“What we are trying to build is a loyalty program that is built on engagement and an emotional connection with the brand; we would reward fans the more they learn about SailGP and the more they engage with SailGP.”
Along with the introduction of the loyalty program, the NEAR Foundation is providing the required technical expertise to implement a Web3 twist on a typically Web2 solution.
This throws up challenges of its own, as the SailGP fanbase will range from those with only Web2 experience to the keen early adopters of Web3, but the potential benefits of utilising Web3 makes this an enticing prospect for all three parties involved.
‘Endless possibilities’ for Web2 company moving into Web3 space
“The possibilities are endless,” said Jones on the uniting of the two technologies, which he insisted must be ‘frictionless’ to ensure the best user experience regardless of a customer’s technical knowledge. “But how the fan integrates with SailGP is what we really need to work out. We are working with both NEAR and Oracle on how we can change to be fan-centric, but not just copy what everybody else is doing. This needs to be a Web3 take on it.
“We are a Web2 company moving into the Web3 space, so we are still going to have Web2 customers. So that frictionless approach needs to happen. We are working on how that will work for a Web2 user, and how that will work in a Web3 environment.”
“A lot of sports brands’ biggest challenges is, during events the fan is actively engaged,” said Elrawi. “But what do you do between events, what do you do pre- and post-event, when you don’t have the hero content which is the event happening.
“This is an opportunity to start engaging with those fans, delivering to them exclusive experiences or exclusive content.”
The partnerships between SailGP and NEAR and SailGP and Oracle are facilitating a sharing of knowledge and ideas to build a first-of-its-kind loyalty program that will improve fan engagement whilst also enhancing the experience and emotional connection supporters have with the global sailing league.
This, finishes Elrawi, is a groundbreaking approach to a sports project, and one that could change the industry forever.
“I am privileged to work with many of our sports partners, and one of the things that excites me to work on this project specifically is that we are co-innovating to create things that never happened before in the sports industry that will re-define fan experience.
“We are trying to bring three key partners together to deliver an immersive fan experience.”
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