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Gamification in Sports Fan Products

Gamification is transforming industries from Health Care to Human Resources. It is successfully used in health applications from Nike+ and Apple Health through to inbuilt goal setting with heart rate monitoring in exercise machines integrating with the Internet of Things. 

It might seem natural then that gamification is applied to Sports betting or Sports fantasy. Many gamification techniques already exist in sports in the form of sweepstakes, tipping competitions or fantasy leagues. Punting clubs combine strong elements of social, competitive and gamified techniques, without breaking into out of their niche. 

So if gamification is already used in sports, why are we writing a post about it? Well, there’s one challenge inherent in all sports products that limit their appeal: 

Sports betting, tipping games or tournaments require sports knowledge. 

Lots and lots of knowledge

Sports fans consume vast amounts of information – player profiles, strike rates, yards gained, ages, heights, weights, speed, phobias and fears. They steep themselves deeply in the lore of the game and can often recite the last 40 years of results. Placing a bet requires further knowledge, and often quite complex maths, to work out what represents a good bet.

This places the product manager in a difficult position.
Assuming deep knowledge of a game excludes the casual player.
Assuming shallow knowledge limits enjoyment by a sports fanatic.
Assuming willingness to learn esoteric gameplay and rules, excludes everyone.

As such, we believe the opportunity for gamification in sports is to:

  1. Facilitate the appeal to a broad cross-section of knowledge levels (from near none to obsessive)
  2. Allow the translation of knowledge to action
  3. Let product interactions follow the natural crescendo of a sports event

We will explore these areas in subsequent posts, but if you’d like to start your sports gamification journey, please contact us.

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