“We want, for the first time, to make a sport accessible to the fans, interactive with the fans.”
Formula E CEO, Alejandro Agag
As the saying goes, ‘sport is nothing without fans’; look back to that Barcelona game earlier in the La Liga season where the powers that be decided to play the game behind closed doors – it was abject and like watching a training game.
Fans are the ones that keep the clubs ticking over; the weekly match-day fee, the shirt sales, the overpriced television subscription are all the financial foundations that keep sports team in business. Of course, multiple billions coming in from certain eastern areas is useful, but it’s nice to think that nan’s annual Christmas present of your new club’s shirt helps contribute towards the millions spent on these players.
What do fans get back in return? Sweet FA. Other than an emotional rollercoaster that compares to nothing – don’t tell that to your other half – fans have a lack of voice, but it’s just a case of being told to pipe down by your manager at the helm:
— Mirror Football (@MirrorFootball) October 28, 2017
However, this is where Formula E is different; fans have a voice, and a chance to get involved by interacting with the sporting talent in it as much as possible.
Through FanBoost, registered supporters of the sport can vote for their favourite drivers; the three most popular racers are then able to access a power boost during the race which increases the horsepower of their car. The power only lasts for five seconds and can be accessed twice during a race. It’s simple – it’s giving the fans’ a voice.
Formula E star Sam Bird is bidding for history at Monaco… and racing fans can help the Brit do it with Fan Boost https://t.co/Gwc479ZrBF
— The Sun – Motorsport (@SunMotorsport) May 13, 2017
The interaction and access the sport gives the supporters is exactly what other sports need; that little bit of power, rather than constantly playing second-fiddle and just showing up as spectators.
Other sports need to take note. You could have real-time management in football, for instance, fans could vote on the third substitution in a game. They’d need to be registered fans to avoid a scenario such as a load of Chelsea supports requesting Phil Jones to go in goal when the Red Devils visit Stamford Bridge – perhaps something like that happened when Louis van Gaal had Jones on corners:
— jim trott (@jimtrott82) 18 January 2015
Or something like in rugby union, the fans are allowed one vote a month on decisions of kicking for three points or going for seven with a line-out call. It would have saved Chris Robshaw an awful lot of agro against Wales at the World Cup.
Such ‘in-game’ calls could be harder to introduce, so there could be the option for fans to be allowed to vote for one of the batting orders in a cricket team. These are the sort of decisions which give fans the power. Formula E’s revolutionary criteria of engaging fan interaction is what every other sport needs to do.
The appropriate boards should follow suit; get your notepads out, FA, RFU, and ECB.