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Immaculate Grid: A Not So Trivial Form of Fan Engagement? 🟩
While fantasy and prediction games thrive during the season, trivia challenges testing niche sporting knowledge such as Immaculate Grid have emerged as fan favourites this summer
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In an era where fleeting attention spans dominate the online landscape, sports teams and leagues face an ongoing challenge to keep fans engaged.
This pursuit of extended fan interaction has birthed a range of innovative solutions, and among the most popular of them are fantasy sports – as exemplified by the fervour surrounding the start of the Premier League, and by virtu, Fantasy Premier League (FPL) season.
For those unfamiliar, FPL invites fans to create virtual teams, which then accumulate points based on real-world player performances. These points are tallied throughout the season and enable fans to compete against one another in both public and private leagues.
FPL's impact, however, transcends mere entertainment for the league.
Alexandra Willis, Director of Digital Media and Audience Development at the Premier League, revealed in a brilliant interview with SportsPro earlier this summer that FPL serves as a dynamic marketing tool for the league.
Beyond retaining devoted fans, FPL acts as a magnet for newcomers to the sport, fostering an affection for the game and its players.
Willis emphasised the game's role in guiding a fan's journey, from their initial engagement with the league to forging a deeper connection with a specific club.
"Of the 11.4 million people playing Fantasy Premier League, nine million of those have opted in to receive more about a club. We're then able to demonstrate that level of value back to the business," she explained.
The trend of engaging fans through games extends to the realm of live predictions as well.
DAZN, for instance, have recently unveiled Six to Win, a free-to-play prediction game reminiscent of Sky Sports' Super 6.
Centred on top-tier football competitions like LaLiga, Bundesliga, and Serie A, the game is designed to create additional fan interest in their rights and offers fans the chance to win up to €50,000 by accurately predicting match outcomes in the process. See also the recent launch of LiveScore 6.
Yet, what about engaging fans beyond the live action?
While fantasy and prediction games thrive during the season, trivia games testing niche sporting knowledge, such as Immaculate Grid, as well as Puckdoku (Ice Hockey), and Football Grid (“Soccer”), have emerged as hot online properties for sports fans this summer.
With a Wordle-inspired format, Immaculate Grid has had a remarkable 18.5 million visits in the past month, with an average session duration exceeding 8 minutes.
These figures, for context, rival the Premier League's official website, which received 23.6 million visits with an average duration of 6 minutes in the same period - and easily outshine last year's Premier League champions, Manchester City (3.4 million visits and an average duration of 2.26 minutes).
Despite trivia and quizzes often being name-checked as part of gamification solutions, the surge in popularity of such games during the off-season for Premier League football, NFL, and NBA, suggests that this is a fan behaviour that is failing (in some way) to be adequately served by the official digital offerings of rightsholders.
Whether the solution is in copying the format exactly of games like Immaculate Grid, picking up quickly on other online trends as they emerge, or incorporating your own games, quizzes, and trivia into digital offerings, all could provide rightsholders with an additional avenue for fan interaction that doesn’t rely on live matches.
In doing so, as Willis eloquently pointed out in relation to fantasy sports, such games could nurture a more profound and direct connection with the fans, creating a comprehensive ecosystem that keeps them engaged, enables them to display their fandom, and to share first their party data.
While fantasy sports and prediction games will remain essential pillars of the fan engagement playbook, it’s worth asking if quizzes and trivia games could also be better used to captivate and retain the hearts of sports fans in and out of the season.
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A BIT OF FUN…
Feeling inspired, I decided to create my own ‘Football Grid’ to test out the wider knowledge of the two clubs that I hold closest to my heart, Tottenham and Portsmouth (Context: I grew up in Pompey but inherited the Spurs fandom gene from my dad) ⚽️
If you want to give it a go, fire back a reply to this email with the player that you think fits in each of the numbered boxes… Good Luck! 😀
FC Barcelona and Portsmouth Player
Real Madrid and Portsmouth Player
Tottenham and AC Milan Player
Tottenham and Bayern Munich Player
Tottenham and Portsmouth Player
Answers will also be included at the footer of Friday’s email.
Senior Press Office Manager - Formula 1 (London, UK)
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Head of Agency Partnerships - Guild Esports (London, UK)
Player Services Manager - National Women’s Soccer League (New York, US)
Commercial Finance Analyst - New Zealand Rugby (Auckland, NZ)
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