Soccer Cup Finals – Live Event Case Study

Fan Engagement in the context of the Saarland Football Cup Final

The Saarland Soccer Cup Final. Supported by Riddle.com

The Saarland Football Association (SFV) worked with Riddle to explore different marketing ideas, generate revenue, and engage fans more closely during the DFB Cup amateur final day. In addition to a live quiz during the event, quizzes were also used in the pre-event marketing roll-out.

Leading up to the event, SFV wanted to rouse interest in the final game itself, draw fans’ attention to the sponsored competition, and collect addresses for the SFV newsletter. On game day, fans were then asked to vote for player of the match in a live poll during the postgame party, a first in the history of the cup final.

The Saarland Football Association is the umbrella organization of the Saarland football clubs and organises the state cup. The winner of the state cup automatically qualifies for the main round of the DFB Cup. Saarland clubs traditionally do well in the main round of the DFB Cup. In the 2023/2024 cup, 1. FC Saarbrücken not only defeated Eintracht Frankfurt but also Borussia Mönchengladback and FC Bayern Munich. The 2nd Saarland competitor, 1. FC 08 Homburg, also won against Bundesliga club Darmstadt 98 and was only eliminated in the final 16 against FC St. Pauli. This emphasizes how important the Saarland Cup final is, as the income from the DFB Cup main round can cover a large part of the winner’s season budget.

“Riddle is not only very easy to use, offers all the functions we need to carry out the planned campaigns, but is also 100% data protection compliant,” says Christian Hertel, Head of Marketing at SFV.

Sponsored competition before the event

In the run-up to the event, SFV raffled off two tickets with their sponsor Saarbrücken Airport. To enter the raffle for this unique experience of sitting on the Saarbrücken Airport fan bench at the edge of the pitch, fans had to prove their knowledge in the “History of the Saarland Cup” Riddle quiz by the Thursday before Sunday’s final. They had to complete a form at the end of the quiz and sign up for the SFV newsletter. The form was completed by 46.9% of the fans who started the quiz. The completion rate far exceeded the average completion rate of quiz forms, which is 29% across Riddle.

The positive completion rate was most likely influenced by the attractive prize and we generally see better engagement at sports events as participants strongly identify with the event and the participating clubs.

In addition to the raw form data, SFV and the sponsor were also able to collect further information about the fan profiles with the quiz. One quiz question, for example, asked for the favourite seat in the stadium (fan block, seat, VIP lounge, etc.). Based on the answers, the collected addresses could be further classified, meaning the newsletter could be adapted and personalized to each respective group.

Live vote for the “Man of the Match”

Scan a QR code on the jumbotron to play a live quiz with riddle.com

For the first time in the history of the Saarland Cup, spectators on site and fans at home had the chance to vote for the player of the match.

The trophy, sponsored by Saarland Versicherung, was presented to the winner on the pitch after the match.

A Riddle poll was integrated into the SFV website for voting purposes. Riddle.com makes it possible to open a poll for voting for a specific time frame, down to the minute, so that no manual interaction was necessary to conduct the vote. During the game, only substituted players were added to the poll. For this purpose, all player portraits were uploaded to the Riddle.com media gallery in advance, so that adding a new player could be done with three clicks in a few seconds. The winner – Manuel Zeitz, scorer of the winning goal and captain of cup winners 1. FC Saarbrücken – was quickly identified via the Riddle.com statistics dashboard.

A soccer fan scanning a QR code off a jumbotron

Fans in the stadium were invited to vote via a QR code on the scoreboard, which was also announced by the stadium announcer. In addition, the vote was advertized via SFV’s social media channels and the club’s channels. This gave the sponsor both wide reach and visibility, further enhanced by the trophy presentation and the press photos.

The players also enjoyed the campaign. Saarbrücken player and award winner Manuel Zeitz said: “Being voted best player by the fans is always a very special honor that I rate much higher than being voted for by experts. We play for the fans and, as players, we are of course delighted to be recognized in this way.”

Unfortunately, the SFV website could not cope with the high number of votes, so that in the end only 1610 votes were cast. More than 500 fans were already waiting to cast their votes before the voting started. For the next event, SFV will either use Riddle.com’s servers or adapt their existing infrastructure. Nobody expected such a high level of fan participation, as there was no competition or incentive for fans to take part.

A positive experience

Man of the match Manuel Zeitz - 1. FC Saarbrücken

Both the competition quiz before the final and the fan vote were very well received by sponsors, fans, and the organiser alike. “The simple realization of all ideas with the tools from Riddle.com and the good support from the Riddle team did not burden the always scarce internal resources of the association. Through the interactive tools, we have also created new sponsorship opportunities that help to provide funds for Saarland amateur football,” says Hertel.

Tips for implementation at your own events

Choosing the best player is easy with the use of a Riddle Poll. To ensure that profile pictures can also be added quickly and easily during the competition, it is worth creating a media library in advance. This involves creating a subfolder for each team and uploading the players’ profile pictures. This works best if the file name also contains the name of the player.

If there are not enough resources to complete the vote live with the substituted players, the complete squad of both teams can also be uploaded to the vote in advance.

When a competition is between two teams, displaying the poll in two columns is advisable, with each team taking up one column. 

The poll offers an ideal opportunity for sponsoring partners to expand their reach. Not only the poll itself, but also the announcements of the selection offer space for a sponsor logo. It is ideal if the trophy itself is also labelled with the sponsor’s logo to gain additional visibility after the game through additional press photos.

Accompanying quiz competitions

In addition to the fan vote, the Riddle.com tools can also be used to easily create competition quizzes and advertize them in the run-up to the event. Especially in sports, it is easy to build a quiz with existing historical data, which is often available at sports clubs. This quiz also allows you to generate additional sponsorship income and offers both the organizer and the sponsor the opportunity to collect qualified addresses for their own newsletter in compliance with data protection regulations. The completion rates of a form that is part of a quiz exceed the completion rates of simple forms or pop-ups, as the fan completes the quiz on their own initiative, and wants to prove their knowledge. Completing a form at the end of a quiz is a natural process as questions have already been answered, whilst pop-up forms disrupt the flow of an article. Read more in our case study on quizzes and pop-ups.

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