Have you noticed that a lot of your favorite teams offer a mobile app that looks eerily similar to other teams’ apps in the league? That’s because most leagues provide a templated app that simply populates the information and branding of your favorite team. This leads to a pretty static experience, if you ask me–nothing that makes the trouble of downloading an app through the app store worth it. If all you’re showing me on your team’s app are stats and schedules, then I could access that information much easier (and faster) with a quick Google search. That’s why teams are starting to catch on to the fact that their fans need interactive, experiential mobile apps in order for them to engage, and my alma mater happens to be one that’s catching on to this trend.
The Notre Dame “Fighting Irish” App
This season, Notre Dame decided to take their mobile experience to the next level and integrate some really cool experiences into their app. The new Fighting Irish app includes the classic content like stats, schedules, rosters, news, and video, but a few technical additions really take it to the next level. The Irish Reality feature allows season ticket holders to turn their ticket into an AR-powered screen that plays a video on the ticket. Each ticket has its own story, making for a really unique experience for some of the most loyal fans of the Fighting Irish.
A Fan-First Experience
The digital team at Notre Dame Athletics saw the need to provide a mobile experience that not only shares information, but actually adds to the fan experience leading up to game day. The team said they wanted to make the “essence of the Irish come to life”, and Digital Platform Manager for the Fighting Irish Media, Fred Villarruel, said: “We are always looking at ways to enhance our fan experience. Our goal was to make the Notre Dame Fighting Irish app a one-stop shop for everything an Irish fan would need to engage with the players and teams they love.” It’s about so much more than just meeting the fan with information, it’s about engaging them on the device they already have on hand all season long.
Here’s Why It Works
Beyond the engagement factor, there are a few other reasons the Irish’s investment is paying off:
- This feature is only available to season ticket holders, which is a great way to say “thanks” to the team’s most loyal fans, and show them that the team is working hard to provide a really special experience for them.
- Generates Buzz
- The Irish Reality experience not only caught the attention of a few media outlets, it also caught the attention of fans (many of whom shared their experiences on social media).
It’s great to see teams catching on to the need for a really engaging fan experience on mobile. As more stadiums beef up their Wi-Fi bandwidth, add cool mobile tech like Indoor Positioning, and take the friction out of their fans’ mobile experience by ditching the app store download, it seems like Notre Dame is one of many teams realizing the importance of mobile in the fan experience.