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Looking at online community in sport

As online community and social media continue to be hot topics in the media, here’s an example for how these tools actually contribute to a real-world organisation’s success. I studied the Yellow Fever online interactions during the Wellington Phoenix inaugural 2007-08 season. I found that the Yellow Fever are an enthusiastic group with a vision for the future of the Wellington Phoenix.

Of course, anyone attending a Wellington home match would not find this news particularly earth shattering. However, the research looked at the online interactions, not the stadium experience. And, I saw many examples where members encouraged ticket purchasing, merchandising, and bring others to pre- and post-game functions. What’s more, they did most of this work using fairly simple tools, like discussion forums and member polls. In essence, these moderators formed a vision for what they wanted to see... which clearly includes the Phoenix achieving sporting success and a stadium atmosphere that rivals some of the livelier football stadiums in Europe. They then set about creating that vision through building a community.

One other thing. The Yellow Fever are an independent group of core fans who volunteer their time, effort and wit simply because they want to see the Phoenix succeed. They are not part of the Wellington Phoenix, nor are they part of some marketing campaign. They are free to do as they wish. Where else do you see the customers generate the brand and sales for your products and services using online tools in New Zealand?

Posted by: Alex Natelli, Management Consultant | 01 April 2009

Tags: Online Communities

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