Never Forget … You’re in the Memory Business
Make sure to market fun and belonging

Never Forget … You’re in the Memory Business

May 17, 2024

Recently, we came across an AdAge interview with newly-appointed MLS CMO Radhika Duggal. It's an interesting and worthwhile read — Duggal comes from a non-sports background, and her “industry outsider” perspective on marketing live events is refreshing and insightful. One quote in particular resonated with us: 

“I’ve worked in financial services, I’ve worked in health care, I’ve worked in consumer. But this is a place where, unequivocally, the product is about marketing fun and joy, and being part of culture. That’s what’s so interesting to me. It’s very different from marketing checking accounts, or medication, or even packaged goods. This is an unequivocally positive thing that I get to be a part of bringing to North America. And I think that’s what's most exciting.”

This got us thinking: entrenched in the day-to-day concerns of moving tickets and hitting sales goals, it can be easy to lose sight of the Fan Experience Forest for the Operational Trees, so to speak. It is important — imperative, even — to remember what makes sports and live events so appealing. And while an engaging product on the field/pitch/ice/stage is certainly a massive part of that, there’s another factor at play that is of equal importance: the social element.

A recent study from Deloitte found that, more than anything, young fans crave a social sports experience. More than previous generations, Gen Z fans want to experience events with other people they care about. They want community. They want to look at the person beside them and say, “I feel the same way about this as you do, and it is awesome.” They want to create shared memories.

That is the core mission of what we do.

As Duggal points out, what we’re marketing at the end of the day is the togetherness that fandom creates. The bond between fans propels a sense of belonging, which in turn creates a deep — and let’s be honest, super valuable — attachment to an organization. 

Furthermore, this phenomenon is unique to our industry. It is so special and should be respected/valued as such. Because unlike physical products, our product is ephemeral. Our product is a connection that can only be formed by experiencing a fleeting moment that will never be repeated again with your fellow fan. Our product is perhaps more closely tied to emotion than any other.

And that is something that should remain front-of-mind in our decision-making and foregrounded in our marketing and communications to both existing and potential fans. At FEVO we like to say that ten years down the road you won’t remember the score of the game, or probably even the opponent, but you will remember who you were there with and how it made you feel. Winning will not last forever. Star players will not last forever. But the community your fans experience, the memories they create and the bonds they form will. 

Other assorted nuggets of internet wisdom from this week…

Sports Pro Media: The alternative Spanish soccer league, King’s League, raises $60M

Ad Age: Inside Rookie Premier, where emerging NFL stars go to meet big brands 

ESPN: Golden State's WNBA team to be called Valkyries

Clict: Fever to offer souvenir tickets for Caitlin Clark's first WNBA home game

Awful Announcing: ESPN-Fox-WBD streaming service announces itself as Venu Sports

Whistle Sports: The Mariners dropped hot dogs from the sky

Never Forget … You’re in the Memory Business