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How F2P Gaming will drive fan acquisition, engagement and revenue for the Euros

Insights
8 min read
Euros Hero

How F2P Gaming will drive fan acquisition, engagement and revenue for the Euros

The Euros is arguably one of the biggest sporting events on earth in 2024. The football tournament produces a month of non-stop action, with the best nations across Europe battling it out to become the rightful kings of the continent. The viewership for the tournament hits new heights in the latest edition as EURO 2020 brought in a live match cumulative event audience of 5.23billion, while the live average audience for the EURO 2020 Final hit a total of 328million.

With the audience numbers continuing to rise, there is a massive opportunity for brands to activate their strategic play for the upcoming tournament – whether that be stacking the midfield with new customers, attacking directly with new engaging content for their userbase or pressing high on their revenue numbers.

The biggest brands across the continent have traditionally pushed their name into the spotlight by drawing up huge sponsorship packages with UEFA or buying out advert space during the half-time break – which ultimately costs millions.

Euro 2020 Article

The digital frontier has exponentially shifted the advertising spectrum in the recent editions of the competition with a wide range of online options to drive awareness and fan engagement. However, much like the wider macro-advertising network, brands have often pumped obscene amounts of money across congested ad networks, riddled with bots, with little more to show for it than weak measures of reach and number of impressions.

Whilst brand awareness is important, research clearly shows that these types of interactions leave little in the way of lasting retentiveness with the consumer. They are becoming numb to banner ads in general and with the dawn of web3, brands need to reposition their online strategy with digital experience being at the front and centre of this.

These digital experiences can be amplified with Free-To-Play Gaming (F2P) which turbo charges fan engagement with your brand in their quest to top the leaderboard of contests. Or, at the very least, beat their friends and colleagues!

England Fans Euros

What are Free-To-Play games and what value do they bring?

Everything you need to know about F2P games is in the name – fans participate in a no-risk, all reward gaming environment. The no-barrier entry is a straightforward way to entice customers on mass to engage and allows brands to collect first party data within the sign-up process. Identity data such as a customer’s name, email address and date of birth is enriched with their selection of favourite teams, players or anything you want to survey them with. A user profile can also be overlaid with their game behavioural data so you can start to build a richer understanding of your customer and their engagement to your brand.

For sportsbook operators, this behavioural data is particularly useful to personalise messaging to them to upsell specific offers. If a user is backing a particular player or team in the game, then messaging can be used to back that specific player/team within their sportsbook e.g. “Backing Harry Kane to be the Golden Boot winner? Here’s a 10/1 offer with £50 free bets”. For traditional non-bettors, the gameplay offers an intuitive way to prime their selections so they can best understand odds and betting terms.

On a commercial side, brands are also leveraging games to broaden their partnerships with sponsors. We are seeing more games having a “Powered By” line with a clients sponsor name and branding enriched throughout the gameplay experience to synergise the brands.

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What Free-To-Play games work best for your goals?

With F2P games becoming a go-to tool for fan engagement, there are a broad range of different games available to best fit your goals and solve your pain points. For example, the Cincinnati Bengals required an in-depth game that would keep fans using their app throughout the week so opted for a Fantasy-style game. The PGA TOUR, on the other hand, wanted to best meet their partnership needs with Pointsbet and chose a Picks game to best warm those users up to the sportsbook.

To meet your gamification requirements, here is a quick rundown of the games that can be altered and tailored to meet your aims and objectives…

Euros Article

FANTASY

Fantasy sports has risen to prominence over the last decade or so - with over 65 million people playing some form of fantasy NFL product across the planet during the 2023 season. The Premier League’s version of fantasy football has seen over 10.8 million player register so far in the 2023/24 season alone.

The aspect of the fantasy game is simple – a fan picks a squad/roster of players that they think will score the highest number of points as possible in relevance to the scoring, in attempt to rise through the rankings - whether it be in their mini-league or world leaderboard.

Here at Low6, we decided to revolutionise the standard fantasy game by tapping into the rise of trading cards and digital collectibles and combining this with fantasy points scoring.

UltimateFan gives users the chance to build their perfect line-up, utilising pack openings and optimising an in-game currency to create a memorable fantasy experience. With points being earned from the player’s real-life performances, users compete on a global leaderboard to win tickets for prize draws as well as the ability to create and join Invitational Leagues to compete against their friends, family and colleagues.

The game rapidly picked up a cult following amongst football fans and by the start of the 2021/22 Premier League season had become the Number 1 Top Grossing Sports App in the UK and the number two most downloaded UK Sports App. By the end of the season, the game had engaged with over 100,000 users and was recipient of “Innovation of the Year” (EGR Marketing & Innovation iGaming Awards 2021) and “Virtual and Fantasy Sports Operator” (EGR Operator Awards 2021).

One of the many benefits of UltimateFan is the game’s engines and mechanics flexibility with its ability to adapt, not just to different tournaments but different sports as well. In fact, UltimateFan was rolled out for Rivalry Corporation for the 2023/24 NBA season as well as becoming a white label game for countless sports franchises, leagues and organisations across multiple sports. The core UltimateFan product has been tailor made to best engage with their fanbase as well as meet their commercial requirements.

Our partnership with the Cincinnati Bengals is the perfect example of this. We delivered a fully branded gaming experience that implemented the UltimateFan NFL game, with an adjusted algorithm that allowed a users’ starter pack to hold a stronger chance of containing Bengals players.

The Bengals were also able to deliver their partnership with Betfred in the game, with branding embedded throughout as well as optimised CTA’s to place a bet via the operator featuring throughout the gameplay.

Moreover, UlitmateFan is an ideal product for brands to use to engage with fans throughout the Eruros The ability to buy and sell players and change and alter your lineup to best reflect upcoming matches will create and welcome a continually active userbase with a strong retention rate. It truly takes fan acquisition and engagement to a whole new level.

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Pick'Em Games

Arguably the most straightforward of the games on offer, the Pick‘em game offers a great deal of creative freedom for brands.

The game allows users to name their predictions on designated match outcomes to accumulate as many points as possible e.g. How many goals will Kylian Mbappe score? Who will win, Spain or Italy? Will Jordan Pickford keep a clean sheet? The more points a player attains, the increase in likelihood of winning a bigger share of the prize pool.

Each contest can include special prizes, such as tickets for upcoming games, autographed merchandise and gameday experiences. As well as a global leaderboard, fans can create their own private leagues so their selections can compete directly alongside their family, friends, and co-workers.

The Pick’em games can easily be reskinned to suit a certain brand and team, with its simplicity allowing players with any level of sporting knowledge to play. It is a perfect tool for pre-match engagement, building up discussion and hype for the upcoming game as well as enticing more users into signing up due to its simplicity.

To date, Low6 has built games and forged partnerships with some of the biggest sports teams and organisations on the planets after providing them with their own branded Pick ‘Em games.

The likes of the PGA TOUR, LEARFIELD, UFC, ClutchBet and Oddschecker have all joined forces with Low6 with the aim of promoting their own branded Pick‘em game to their respective fan bases.

The games have proven to be a hit among sports fans, with millions of entries being made across our gamification suite to date. The Pick‘em games also hold a high retention rate, with each user averaging around 10 entries across the platform.

Using the gameday structure of the EURO 2024 tournament, players can make their selections to a set round of questions for each matchday.

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Bracket Games

Whereas UltimateFan and Fantasy games rely on active engagement throughout the entirety of a tournament, a Bracket is the perfect pre-tournament game to interact with fans ahead of the big event.

This game is perfect for round-robin tournaments such as the Euros, March Madness and the NBA Playoffs and can even be implemented for contests such as the Grand National.

The aim is fairly easy to grasp – a fan must guess which teams will win their group stage games and throughout the knockout stages of the tournament. The winner is simply the one who correctly predicts the most winning results.

It is the perfect tool for engagement ahead of a big tournament, as it creates discussion and hype for an upcoming event as well as encouraging players to make informed choices and do their research ahead of the competition start.

The bracket game is a tried and tested method on paper across sporting communities and it even goes down well with the likes of friends, families and workplaces.

Its simplicity and retention are the game’s selling points, with players of all abilities able to enter while being given the chance to consistently track their progress throughout the tournament.

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Trivia

Quick fire quizzes can be an ideal accompaniment to one or more of the above predictor games.

Which country shocked the world by winning the 2004 edition of the Euros? How many games did Portugal win in normal time on their way to winning EURO 2016? Who was the last player to score a hat-trick in the Euros knockout stages?

Test your audience on their Euros knowledge between live games to keep fans coming back for more trivia contests.

Fans simply select which answer they think is correct and compete against others in a global leaderboard for trivia supremacy.

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