9 Reasons Gamification in Sports Is a Home Run


Sports fans—even casual ones—are the perfect gamification audience. Their love of sports comes from the competition, unpredictability, and tension of seeing who wins. They also love to see their favorite players improve or “level up” (in gamification terms). 

But the best way to add gamification to your sports marketing is by pairing it with sponsorship. By adding gamification to sponsorship in a strategic way, you can actively engage with fans while delivering winning results. 

Keep reading to discover some slam-dunk examples of gamified sports marketing strategies. 

Benefits of Gamification in Sports Sponsorship Activation

The gamification of sports takes the passionate energy sports fans have and uses it to your company’s advantage. Gamification involves incorporating game-like elements, such as scoring systems, leaderboards, and rewards, into non-game contexts to encourage participation and engagement. Sports gamification can: 

  • Amplify social media awareness  and engagement
  • Engage with customers in new and fun ways
  • Unlock new methods to grow CRM 
  • Give fans more reasons to spend time with your brand
  • Capture new customers in different environments
  • Lead to unexplored sponsorship activation and awareness opportunities

9 Ways to Gamify Your Sports Marketing Investments & Sponsorships

Sound too good to be true? We’ve been keeping score, and these examples of gamified sports marketing strategies won’t need an instant replay to prove they’re strategic winners! 

1. Participation Predictors

Allowing fans to predict winners for prizes is an easy way to facilitate a connected social experience while bringing awareness to your brand. Not only does this let players take home a prize, but it also adds an extra layer of tension and unpredictability to the game. 

Successful examples include Bet Snap, which combined sports betting with social media, and the NBA All-Star Who Ya Got? Sweepstakes, which offered a variety of prizes to players who predicted the winning team. 

2. Trivia

What fan doesn’t love the opportunity to prove they know EVERYTHING about their favorite team? This gamification in sports strategy is a simple, fast way to get more website, app, or ad impressions by engaging sports fans through trivia or quizzes. 

In 2021, MKTG, a sports marketing agency, partnered with Marvel Stadium to create a live trivia campaign. The Big Footy Quiz was displayed over the stadium's large screen, resulting in 13,975 impressions and 9,410 unique entries

3. Real-Time Promotions

FOMO (fear of missing out) is real, so fans can be easily encouraged to watch sporting events live that include real-time promotions. 

Successful partners using this sports marketing strategy include Chick-fil-A and Utah Jazz. The team offered free chicken sandwiches or nuggets when the opposing team missed two consecutive free throws. 

A live promotion during the World Series, Taco Bell’s “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” offered free tacos to participating fans when a player stole a base. 

4. Leaderboards

An easy way to amp up the competition is to make fans compete against each other with leaderboards. A gamification strategy from Twitch and the NFL is a perfect example of this strategy’s success. 

The partners created a fan-run football experiment called the Fan-Controlled Football League (FCF). Participants could watch the game through a Twitch live stream and vote on team names, plays, and more. Meanwhile, a quarterback on the field shared what popular plays to carry out. During the experience, fans earned points that took them to the top of the leaderboard, thereby gaining even more influence over voting. 

5. Fan Access & Exclusive Prizes/Rewards

Create sponsor-focused gamification in sports campaigns by offering exclusive prizes fans can’t find anywhere else. Scarcity amps up brand awareness while inspiring participants to obtain these rare items. 

A fun example is when Miller Lite partnered with the NFL to create the “Buy Beer. Get Gear” campaign. The successful campaign ran for five years with a simple premise: The more beer each consumer bought, the more opportunity to unlock rewards. The rewards varied depending on the region—for example, Minnesota Vikings took home got hoodies and hats

6. Experiential Promotions

Ramp things up by combining digital and real-life gamification experiences. Dr Pepper did this for their NCAA Football Tuition Giveaway in 2022. Using TikTok, the company had participants enter the contest by providing videos, illustrating why they deserve the tuition money using the #DrPepperTuitionContest hashtag.

The contest's finalists went onto an actual football field during the NCAA championship games to compete with one another. The winner was decided by how many footballs were thrown into a giant Dr Pepper can in 30 seconds. 

This mix of online and real-life gamification of sports adds a new, exciting element for participants and spectators alike.

7. Gamification Attracts Gen Z

Gamification makes sports more accessible and attractive to younger generations who thrive on instant gratification and fast-paced entertainment. By incorporating sports into computer games and introducing game-like elements to sports activities, younger participants are more likely to engage and recognize familiar features within sports.

8. Gamification Helps Improve Performance Levels

Wearable gadgets and fitness trackers can track athletes’ performance in real-time, providing an incentive to continue practicing and improving. Social components such as leaderboards with friends offer additional motivation to keep practicing and building social communities within the sport.

9. Gamification Globalizes Sports

Gamification and digital technology break down geographical barriers, enabling global sports competitions. Athletes can compete with others worldwide using digital sports platforms, enhancing global connectivity and engagement.

Let CataBoom Activate Your Sports Sponsorships!

Partner with CataBoom to use the shared elements of gamification and sports—competition, unpredictability, and fun—to your advantage. And CataBoom is the only company that allows brands to string together multiple games into a single experience. Plus, CataBoom has existing sports-themed game mechanics that are simple to brand with your company’s logo and graphics. We also capture vital back-end consumer data, allowing you to create future campaigns that move your metrics. 

Contact CataBoom today to create engaging gamification in sports marketing strategies!

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