A framework for fan engagement at the Olympic and Paralympic Games

Posted on: December 4, 2017 by Santiago Manso

Spectators and fans are the lifeblood of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. Every city that hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games has a key objective: to deliver the best Olympic and Paralympic Games in history.

But this can only be judged by the spectators visiting the city, participating in the events, attending the stadia to see the competitions, meeting their favourite athletes, witnessing a thrilling World Record and spending time discovering what the city can offer and the locals’ warm welcome. Many of the spectators are also local citizens who are proud to host the Olympic Games and have a unique opportunity in life to enjoy.

In the past, spectators could only enjoy the Olympic Games for 17 days. Usually, the host city is awarded seven years before, and then starts to rally construction works, expenditure, infrastructure changes and lots of new people coming from elsewhere.

However, digital technologies give us the opportunity to engage spectators around the Olympic and Paralympic Games and enhance their participation years before. Organizing Committees like Tokyo 2020 have already realized this and are waking up to new ways to change fans’ perception of the Olympic Games and increase the return for the host city.

In the 21st century, digital technologies have changed the world and the way in which we interact with each other. And digital solutions are also changing the spectators’ experience to turn them into Olympic fans, connected with the Olympic and Paralympic Games years before the Opening Ceremony and keep the engagement as legacy for the sport in country after the flame is over. But the technology is just a tool and it’s nothing without the right methodology behind. This is the reason why building a fan engagement methodology is critical to link the technology with the business and the experience all in one.

Fan engagement is a data-centric methodology to serve fans with enriched personalized experiences and promote retention and continuous participation. At the Olympic and Paralympic Games, this methodology is going to change the perception not only during the event itself, but also years before, mitigating the bad sentiment of citizens produced by the constructions and other organization tasks suffered. It will change the perception towards the benefits of hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games, so in future the cities will want to organize the Olympic Games again.

Here are four steps to take part in the fan engagement methodology:

Look out for Part 2 of this article, in which I’ll be exploring some of the new digital technologies set to transform fan engagement at the Olympic Games.

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About Santiago Manso

CTO for the Olympics & Major Events, Atos and member of the Scientific Community
Santiago has over 18 years of experience in the sports IT market delivering the technology for the last 8 Olympic Games. In his daily job, Santiago manages the CTO office for the Olympics and Major Events GBU, focus on maintaining the Technology Roadmap up to date, applying innovation into the business unit and delivering the solutions for the major bids in Sports. Santiago is a business oriented person who loves applying the last technologies to resolve business problems of customers. 12-year experience working in 5 different countries (Greece, Italy, China, Russia and Spain) has impacted into his personal live definitively as now traveling and working at multicultural environments is part of his life. Now Santiago is currently based in Barcelona where he lives near the beach, his other passion, with his wife and 2 children.

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