SailGP is reinventing the way sports brands are engaging with fans and redefining fan engagement, with a soon-to-be launched loyalty program built with the assistance of global partners Oracle and NEAR.

During a panel at NEARCON in Lisbon, Warren Jones, SailGP's Chief Technology Officer, confirmed the global sail racing league is using Oracle’s CrowdTwist platform to build a loyalty program that will bridge the worlds of Web2 and Web3 and reward fans for their engagement and emotional connection.

Joining Jones for the panel, hosted by Chris Ghent from the NEAR Foundation, was Oracle's Amr Elrawi to explain how SailGP’s approach will make the most of the CrowdTwist platform to ensure it is fandom that gets rewarded, rather than any other factors.

“Oracle acquired CrowdTwist in 2019,” began Elrawi, “as it was felt that was one of the missing parts of the customer experience portfolio for Oracle. CrowdTwist is a loyalty solution focused on rewarding customers and fans based on one thing - engagement."

“The thing fans hate the most is being rewarded based on their spending. This is the paradigm shift of all the loyalty programs we see in the market, from airlines to supermarkets - they are all based on a transactional relationship."

“What we are trying to build is a loyalty program that is built on engagement and an emotional connection with the brand; we would reward fans the more they learn about SailGP and the more they engage with SailGP.”

The introduction of a fan-centric loyalty program which is redefining the spectator experience is not the only goal of the project, however, as the NEAR Foundation is providing the required technical expertise to implement a Web3 twist on a typically Web2 solution.

This throws up challenges of its own, as the SailGP fanbase will range from those with only Web2 experience to the keen early adopters of Web3, but the potential benefits of utilizing Web3 makes this an enticing prospect for all three parties involved.

“The possibilities are endless,” said Jones on the uniting of the two technologies, which he insisted must be ‘frictionless’ to ensure the best user experience regardless of a customer’s technical knowledge. “But how the fan integrates with SailGP is what we really need to work out. We are working with both NEAR and Oracle on how we can change to be fan-centric, but not just copy what everybody else is doing. This needs to be a Web3 take on it."

“We are a Web2 company moving into the Web3 space, so we are still going to have Web2 customers. So that frictionless approach needs to happen. We are working on how that will work for a Web2 user, and how that will work in a Web3 environment.”

NEARCON 2022 | Oracle | NEAR | SailGP | Panel

The introduction of a SailGP loyalty program will provide fans with an always-on experience, ensuring consistent engagement both around events, and also in the gaps between events. Sports brands have typically struggled with retaining supporter interest in the off-period between live events, but CrowdTwist will reward customers for engaging with the league regardless of when they do so - with exclusive content to consume and activities to complete.

“A lot of sports brands’ biggest challenges is, during events the fan is actively engaged,” said Elrawi. “But what do you do between events, what do you do pre- and post-event, when you don’t have the hero content which is the event happening.

“This is an opportunity to start engaging with those fans, delivering to them exclusive experiences or exclusive content.”

The partnerships between SailGP, NEAR and SailGP and Oracle are facilitating a sharing of knowledge and ideas to build a first-of-its-kind loyalty program that will improve fan engagement whilst also enhancing the experience and emotional connection supporters have with the global sailing league.

This, finishes Elrawi, is a groundbreaking approach to a sports project, and one that could change the industry forever.

“I am privileged to work with many of our sports partners, and one of the things that excites me to work on this project specifically is that we are co-innovating to create things that never happened before in the sports industry that will re-define fan experience.

“We are trying to bring three key partners together to deliver an immersive fan experience.”