Thilo Kunkel, Ph.D.

Gamified fan engagement to increase loyalty

The School of Tourism and Hospitality Management at Temple has formed a strategic partnership with Swiss software developer Appventures to conduct data analysis of their ARENOO soccer fan engagement app. Initial data analysis has led to a paper to be presented at the Sport Marketing Association conference in October, held in Philadelphia. The following is the abstract of the paper: Digital media has created ample opportunities to grow sport brands, generate revenue, extend the fan experience beyond the game, introduce loyalty programs, and allow for the gamification of these programs.  Gamification represents customers’ playful interaction with brands aimed at increasing their engagement with the brand and subsequently their loyalty toward the brand. The current research is based on data from the ARENOO football fan engagement app.  The app allows users to engage with their favorite sport and collect points based on their interaction with their favorite football team.  Results of Person Correlation analyses indicate that users’ activities within the app were strongly positively correlated with team related outcome variables, such as stadium attendance.  This research supports and extends theoretical knowledge related to gamified customer engagement.  Furthermore, we present a fan engagement tool that is of relevance to sport practitioners who are looking for new routes to engage customers in a digital, mobile environment.  In particular, the app allows sport managers to deepen the relationship with existing sport brand customers and generate new customers by building on their relationship with the sport and then funneling them into customers of the brand. For information how sport organizations can benefit from the ARENOO app, see this link: ARENOO – Gamified fan engagement to increase loyalty 3 page flyer  

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EASM New Researcher Award

The European Association for Sport Management (EASM) holds a “New Researcher Award” (NRA) competition every year.  The NRA is for “the best original theoretical or conceptual advance and significant unpublished contribution in sport management.”  In 2008, the inaugural year of the NRA, my ‘Diplomarbeit’ (engl. Honours) supervisor, Dr. Joerg Koenigstorfer won the award based on an article that we wrote together based on my ‘Diplomarbeit’ research.  The article was later published in the European Sport Management Quarterly. The competition was a valuable experience.  The need for a thorough preparation and the need to ‘defend’ my research was also higher than at a ‘normal’ conference. Five years later, I applied to the NRA with research findings of my Ph.D. thesis.  A three stage process is used to determine the recipient of the NRA.  In the first round, a five page abstract of the research is evaluated.  Out of 30 applicants, ten make it to the second round.  In the second round, a full article (max. 40 pages) is evaluated.  Out of the ten applicants, three are invited to present their research at the EASM conference.  The winner is then chosen by a panel of six members. The conference was held in Istanbul, Turkey, which is an amazing city to visit (even during the day).  I was able to connect with old friends and colleagues, and met new people with who I will definitely stay in contact.  I guess these are the main reasons why we attend conferences anyway. While I always strive to be the best, coming second is a good result. Congratulations to the winner Christos Anagnostopoulos.

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