NMFC: Designing A Solid Game Plan for Better Fan Engagement

Nothing beats the spirit and emotional high created by a cheering crowd. But is it all there is to measure fan engagement? North Melbourne Football Club knows that there are other factors in play. Witness their journey towards a brand-new perspective on how to keep their fans connected and loyal.


The Challenge

The way fans view sports and game events has evolved over the years. The same goes for how they develop affinity towards a team that they patronise and follow. On the other hand, gone are the days of relying on game attendance and merchandise sales alone. They still are notable metrics but there are other critical indicators of how fans stay interested and enthusiastic towards the team.

And when it comes to being a successful football team, fan engagement is gold. NMFC would like to thank its wonderful fanbase who have kept the entire team motivated and proud through the past seasons. Hence, the Club is determined to take fan engagement to a whole new level by exploring other factors that could influence a more solid fan engagement.

By knowing more about their fans’ passion and engagement drivers, NMFC believes that they could support them better on and off-season. NMFC also plans to increase connectivity across different channels which they see as a way to further strengthen the bond between members, athletes, and other key stakeholders within the Club.

If successful, the NMFC is set to conduct several game-changing activities and programs. But first, they needed a place to start.


The Process

Working closely with NMFC, Naked Ambition created a human-centred design plan to gather data and information on the specific behaviours, needs, and preferences of NMFC fans. Commencing with a survey effectiveness review of Victorian & Tasmanian fan and community engagement strategies for 2015, we were able to analyse and summarise our findings to uncover strengths and limitations, and clearly identify gaps in NMFC’s approach.

Once the survey data had been collated we moved into Phase 2 of our plan, which involved conducting in-depth face-to-face and phone interviews with current members, newer short-term members, and long-term self-confessed “fanatical” members. The goal was to identify unique experiences and common trends that could be enhanced for greater engagement or changed for greater loyalty.

The interview process allowed Naked Ambition to create detailed customer profiles and segmentations (for example families vs. social singles), and obtain valuable insights on their individual needs when it comes to the match-day experience. We were also able to identify the different touchpoints or channels where a fan is ready to interact based on the “segmentation” that they are in. This then led to the creation of behaviour maps for two unique user journeys which outlined, step-by-step, the match-day experience as recalled by members within each segment.


The Outcome

Guided by Naked Ambition and through the data gathered, NMFC staff were led through a creative ideation and prototyping process which resulted in the rapid generation of fresh ideas; addressing real challenges and identifying opportunities to improve the overall fan experience. The Club continues to apply Design Thinking by continuously monitoring key opportunities and memorable points along each member journey.


“Various business departments come together far more frequently now to plan for milestone or marquee games where design thinking has been applied to inspire passion and participation. After each home game we survey our fans to understand what works and doesn’t. This has given us great insights to allow us to adjust our work, literally week by week. This had never been done prior to your involvement”.

– Cameron McLeod, General Manager, Community Engagement