As WNBA Fandom Grows, Chat Enters the Conversation

As record-setting numbers around fan engagement, attendance and viewership continue to be set in the WNBA, two of the league’s top franchises are turning to GameOn Technology’s intelligent chat platform to help engage with fan demand. GameOn’s first foray into women’s professional sports will initially provide chat experiences for both the defending WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces and the Indiana Fever, with more partnerships on the horizon.

Fan interest in women’s sports continues to grow around the world. In 2022 alone, Barcelona and Real Madrid played in front of 91,000 fans in the most attended women’s soccer game ever, while the NCAA Women’s College World Series and US Open Tennis Final both had larger TV viewerships than their men’s counterparts. The NCAA recently expanded the women’s tournament to 68 teams and promptly saw attendance records shattered, with the title game recording its highest viewership since 2004. As interest in women’s sports continues to grow, technology has an increasingly prominent role to play in supporting the development of this fandom.  

The Evolving Women’s Basketball Landscape 

The WNBA has been a pioneer in the growth of women’s sports for over two decades, and the 2022 season saw the league experience its own unprecedented levels of fan engagement. TV viewership reached a 15-year high last season, while the league and its franchises saw a record 186 million video views on social media and a 99% year-over-year increase in web traffic. As interest grows, more is asked of the franchise front offices too. Staff members are fielding more inbound calls, messages and questions than ever before, including inquiries about everything from ticketing to game-day logistics and roster information.

With this bandwidth challenge, the two WNBA teams are able to employ GameOn’s solution to better address inquiries and save precious staff time. In the process of freeing up their staff, the franchises are now also able to gain powerful insights about their fans – insights that are used to better connect with them through more personalized content, ticketing outreach, and merchandising offers. The impact of these chat solutions is a credit to GameOn’s ability to build chat experiences that reflect the individual needs of these two unique partners.

Getting the Conversation Started

The Indiana Fever have the first overall pick in April’s WNBA Draft, and their fans have a lot to be excited about. The team already boasts a talented young roster hungry for a return to the playoffs, and the addition of another elite talent means 2023 is shaping up to be a big year for one of the league’s most storied franchises. The Fever’s new chat solution engages with fans through the team’s app and Facebook Messenger, with a focus on addressing inbound questions and serving as a valuable resource for fans on gameday. The addition of this new chat solution  bringing the Fever and their fans closer together than ever before ahead of what is shaping up to be a thrilling season at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.

The Las Vegas Aces are the envy of the WNBA at the moment. They enter the 2023 season as the reigning league champions – and the first Vegas sports franchise to win a championship – while retaining a loaded roster that includes league MVP A’Ja Wilson. They also lead the league in season ticket sales – a testament to the passion of their growing fanbase in Las Vegas. The team’s new chat experience lives on their website and Facebook Messenger, and is capable of handling a host of frequently asked questions ranging from ticket sales to arena info, player stats, team merchandise, and much more. With conversational chat, the team’s front office has an indispensable tool for engaging their growing fanbase as they begin their title defense this Spring.  

To showcase the power and functionality of chat, we’re breaking down three of our favorite features from these two new conversational experiences:

1. Chat Brings the Teams to Life

Branding is ever-present in the chat experience and gives fans a deeper sense of connection to the teams and brands they love

The first thing fans notice when engaging with the Aces and Fever via chat is the way team branding is at the core of the experience. The teams’ beloved mascots – Freddie for the Fever and Bucket$ for the Aces – serve as the voice of the chat experience and guide users through every interaction. Team imagery, language, and branding is ever-present in the chat platform and serves as a constant reminder to fans that they are talking to the team they love. 

It’s this level of personalization that keeps fans coming back to chat, creating unparalleled stickiness and further opportunities for revenue generation. For one GameOn league partner, each user sent an average of 34 inbound messages during a recent league season – that’s a level of engagement that only comes from a deeply personal chat experience.  A fan may first use chat to inquire about accessing their tickets, before returning a few days later to ask about the arena’s bag policy and how to buy a jersey. The authenticity of these conversations keeps fans engaged in ways no other platform can. 

2. Comprehensive Ticketing Support

Users are just a few clicks away from purchasing tickets or entering their information into ticketing interest forms on site

Front office staff from the Aces and Fever, like so many professional teams, are often inundated by ticketing questions and inquiries. This new chat experience is not only built to handle most of these inbound requests and free up valuable staff time, but it also serves as a powerful lead generation tool as well. Fans who ask about tickets or are intent on buying are supported with essential resources throughout the conversation – all with the goal of creating the easiest ticketing experience possible. 

Fans who ask about tickets in the chat are funneled towards a lead generating “ticket interest form” on the Aces website. This process enables the team to collect valuable information about their fanbase while giving them essential support in their ticket buying journey. In as little as two clicks within the chat experience, a new fan is able to share their contact info with the team and begin to purchase tickets. With fan interest on the rise for both teams, integrating ticketing into the chat experience is now a necessity for intimately supporting new fans. 

3. A-to-Z, and Everything In Between

GameOn's conversational chat experience creates a more informed fanbase by answering a host of logistical questions in real time

Fan inquiries spike on game days, and GameOn’s conversational chat offers these two teams an opportunity to give fans access to the information they need in real time. Whether it’s a last minute question about the arena’s bag policy, an inquiry about parking, or a thoughtful fan wondering about the dress code, it’s all covered by chat. Both teams directly share access to resources like seating maps, A-Z guides, and health and safety guidelines through chat as well – ensuring that no fan question goes unanswered. 

With a new conversational experience at their fingertips, fans of both the Aces and Fever are more informed and better prepared for games. Gone are the days of emailing fan support and waiting hours, if not days, for a response from an overworked staff member. Chat eliminates the need to wait for a manual response to questions asked outside of traditional working hours, and as a result fans are less likely to feel frustrated or unheard when questions arise. 

As the evolution of women’s sports fandom continues, expect chat to play an increasingly crucial role. GameOn’s partnerships with the Indiana Fever and Las Vegas Aces represent an exciting milestone – and offer a glimpse into the near future of the fan experience for women’s sports.

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