No dia 27 de maio de 2021, o Fortaleza launched its digital fan subscription program, Onlaion, that offers exclusive benefits to the fans such as exclusive content, power to participate in important club decisions and much more. All for less than R$10 per month. Season ticket holders will have six months free of charge for the new service. The main purpose of the program is to engage fans from all places and all classes, so that these fans have Fortaleza increasingly present in their lives.
Football clubs’ fan bases are made up of millions of fans, spread across several cities around the world. However, the vast majority of these fans are not season ticket holders, nor did they used to go to the stadiums when conditions existed, either for geographical reasons or for the costs involved in both cases.
According to data from Sports Value, there are 160 million football clubs’ fans in Brazil, with only 730 thousand being season ticket holders, a number corresponding to about 0.45% of fans.
Fortaleza, even with its fanatic fans, is inserted within this context. In the 2019 Brasileirão, the club had an average audience of 32,999 fans, the second largest in the competition, a number that corresponds to about 2% of Leão do Pici’s fans. As for the season ticket holders, the club currently has 12,591 members, a small portion of the total number of fans.
Based on that, Sportheca alongside Fortaleza, led by the President, Marcelo Paz, understood that it was necessary to build a product that could engage the thousands of fans who end up being left out of the other plans of the club, either by financial or geographic reasons. That is when, Onlaion, Fortaleza’s Digital Fan Subscription, was created, a new way for Fortaleza to engage with its fans and still monetize this relationship.
It is important to note that there is a strategy behind Onlaion and Digital Fan Subscription programs that may be launched in the future. The concept of Digital Fan Subscription created by Sportheca can be divided into four characteristics.
Firstly, we have the mobile oriented content, which means, shorter and vertical videos, that can be consumed at any time and place. This content brings behind the scenes footage of training, gatherings and trips, with athletes as protagonists and creators. All of this exclusively for subscribers.
A second feature of the subscription is the Second Screen function. Based on the trend that fans use their smartphone to complement the experience of a game, the Digital Fan Subscription offers exclusive features to interact with what happens on the field, such as ways for fans to share their opinion and choose the best players of the match, in addition to receiving special statistics. This feature will be implemented in later versions of the App.
Those who subscribe to the Digital Fan Subscription program will also have the opportunity to make exclusive redemptions of prizes, both for official club products, as well as experiences, which should be reinforced as soon as the stadiums opens again. On top of that, the exclusive digital collectibles and experiences, a product similar to NFTs.
To conclude the four characteristics, we have the Power Pools feature, which allows the Fortaleza fan to be part of the club’s decision making, from being able to choose the shirt that the club will wear for the next game to the name of a sector in the stadium. With that, fans have an increasing sense of belonging, participating in decisions and being increasingly listened to by the club.
All of these features, and many more, bring both transactional and non-transactional opportunities to clubs. With a more affordable monthly value, the ability to reach a larger number of subscribers means that the potential return of a Digital Fan Subscription program is 16 million users, generating R$ 2 billion per year just by paying the monthly fee, as pointed out by Sports Value.
In April, Sportheca welcomed Marcelo Paz, Fortaleza’s President, who highlighted the characteristics of the product: “It (Onlaion) takes the club into the hands of all the people who support the club, and can bring accessible content, cheap and interesting for these people. Exclusively and paying very little.”
To reach the audience of the Digital Fan Subscription, however, there is a journey, which the image of the funnel below helps to explain.
The top of the funnel shows external channels like the club’s website and social networks, press channels and game broadcasts. The first point of contact between the club and the supporter who owns the entity is the SuperApp, which allows a 360º view of the fan. Knowing its fans better, the club is able to anticipate their needs and carry out targeted actions to monetize their products and services, such as activations, e-commerce and ticket sales.
The last step of the funnel is the time to offer subscription services to fans, whether the already traditional season ticket holder, focused on ticket sales and prize draws, an OTT platform with the goal of delivering content or the Digital Fan Subscription like Onlaion, with the benefits listed throughout this article.
To end this post, there is one more comment made by Marcelo Paz, about what Fortaleza can accomplish with Onlaion’s launch: “Fortaleza has approximately 2 million fans. My dream, my utopia is, I want 5 reais from each of them, because 5 reais times 2 million, is 10 million reais just in that. Then I can even think about fighting to go to Libertadores.”