Changing the game: An Investigation on the Potential of Electronic Arts FIFASoccer Video Game to Drive Soccer Club Brand Loyalty Among Gamers Evan Baechler Prof. Whitney Wagoner | Prof. Susanna Lim | Mr. David Bruce
What is FIFA VideoMultiplayer online | Multiplayer offline / local | single player
“FIFA is an authentic representation of the real club soccer environment” - Matt Mahar, former Lead FIFA online producer
Manchester City FC | Italian Manager | UEA Owner English Belgian Ivorian English English Bosnian Spanish Argentinean French Argentinean Serbian”Soccer is much further along in the process ofglobalization than any other economy on the planet.” -Globalization Journalist F. Foer
A Global Strategy Affinity / Engagement•Mid 90s Strategic Shift•Global Brand = Huge opportunities •Sponsors •Media Distribution •Licensing• Economies of Scale Time Global is Resource-Intensive, Difficult to maintain
Digital is a solutionExhibition tours | Player signings | IPO | fan shops | club partnerships | digital •Digital platforms ‘Fill in the gaps’ •Constant brand presence •E-commerce •Customer service •Engagement •China.com | Mobile | Tailored Content | “One United” | VISA •Digital is complex
Video games : a powerful opportunity •Digital environment is complex •Control is difficult •Videogames : •Intimate* •controlled •Realistic •Relevant
Video games are Relevant •Video Game Revenue > Box Office Revenue in the US, 2010: •72% of households played •25.1 Billion USD FIFA is Most popular sports game •100m copies sold •Top seller in every Global Region
Research FocusHypothesis:Electronic Arts’ FIFA Soccer video game is a powerful digital, global expansion toolfor Soccer Clubs.Investigation:•Does FIFA Drive brand loyalty toward foreign soccer clubs?•how does this information affect the sports business environment?•further research?
Literature Review: Brand LoyaltyAttitude: Behavior: (not always purchase) 2-dimensionalpsychological commitment Congruent Brand Engagement•Leads to a more valuable, more profitable org.•Building loyalty is a process: Frequency of Brand Exposure Informational Identification Volitional Process Process Process 1................2…….………3……….….…4………..….…5………..….6 Likert-Scale Equivalents•Frequency / Satisfaction drive loyalty
Literature Review: Loyalty & Sports •Fans vs Participants •Self-Esteem •Fan Socialization process •Socialization agents: family, peers, school, community, and media Preference Building Emerging Loyalty True Loyalty Preference Preference Emerging Introduction Identification Formation Strengthened Commitment
Literature Review: Video Games & Loyalty •Violence: Video Games affect Attitude & Behavior •More realistic Stronger effect •RPGs: Gamers develop relationships with characters •FIFA expertise self-esteem loyalty to game
MethodologySurvey: 368 Responses•Screener Questions Isolate FIFA as loyalty-inducing variable•Independent Variables: FIFA engagement•Dependent variables: Loyalty scales•Additional questions: •Prior engagement with soccer •Qualitative questions •Social questions•Implication Interviews: EA, Nike, MLS, ESPN
3-stage analysis No previous No previous Anyone identifying as arelationship with team relationship with team FIFA user No previous Investigated other Qualitative Questions relationship with soccer variables soccer Social Gaming Double-checked #1 Questions Average protocols Ordinal Regression Synthesis 1 . N=23 2 . N=70 3 . N=171
respondents who Agreed FIFA made them more loyal to their favorite FIFA team 40 67% 35Number of Responses 30 25 13% 20 20% 15 10 5 0 strongly Agree Somehwhat Neighter Agree Somehwhat Disagree strongly Agree Agree nor Disagree Disagree Disagree FIFA has made me more loyal to my FIFA team outside the video game?
stage 1 Analysis: Avg. ProtocolsChange in average reported loyalty scores given FIFA engagement Length of Relationship With FIFA Club How Frequently Respondents Play FIFA Average per-question loyalty score Average Per-Question Loyalty Score 4.5 4 6 3.5 5 3 Attitudinal 2.5 Loyalty 4 2 1.5 Attitudinal Behavioral 3 1 Loyalty Loyalty 0.5 2 Behavioral 1 Loyalty 0 <1 1-6 mo. 6-12 1-2 2-4 yr. 4-6 yr. month mo. years Change in FIFA Expertise Average Per-Question Loyalty Score How Frequently Respondents Switch Clubs Average Per-Question Loyalty Score 4.5 5 4 4.5 3.5 4 3 Attitudinal 3.5 Loyalty 3 Attitudinal 2.5 Loyalty 2.5 2 2 Behavioral 1.5 Behavioral 1.5 Loyalty Loyalty 1 1 Amateur Semi-pro Pro World Legendary Class
stage 2 Analysis: Ordinal Regression •Ordinal Regression: •for scale-based, non-discrete variables •Reports Probabilities •Independent variables: Dummy Variables (yes / No variables) • Soccer player? •Hometown club supporter •FIFA Expert •FIFA team Loyal Soccer Hometown FIFA Expert FIFA team Player Club Loyal Loyal
stage 3 analysis: synthesis Qualitative analysis: FIFA Informs | FIFA Is social | Virtual Players are Important Social-Gaming Questions: Average Disappointment given Scenarios involving 60% favorite FIFA Club 50% Your FIFA team loses a real game outside of the video game 40% You lose with your FIFA team in the video game to a human durring 30% online Multiplayer You Lose with your FIFA team in 20% the video game to a human during offline multiplayer 10% You Lose with your FIFA team in the video game to the computer 0% Play by Play offline play online 2 2.4 2.8 3.2 3.6 4 4.4 4.8 1=not at all disappointed yourself multi-player multi-player 7=very disappointed
FIFA Fan Socialization process Less FIFA Engagement More Introduction Preference AviditySocial Motives FIFA facilitates FIFA facilitates Additional brand knowledge, awareness, connections with engagements and interest club brand elements catalyze loyalty. around soccer (players). Lower Value of Fan to Club Higher
"I would have absolutely zero interest in Chelsea if itwasnt for the game. The game is the sole driver of myfandom.""FIFA was how I got into European Soccer. Before myFIFA days, I didnt even care about the World Cup. Nowsoccer has become my career. I am employed as anagent for FC Barcelona, to put on youth camps in theUnited States."
Errors & ImprovementsErrors in the Sample:•Sample Size•Low Sample Diversity Predictor of small fan populationErrors in Method:•Scales are limiting•No control groupImprovements:•Use FIFA User Data instead of scales•Compare to loyal non-gamers
Implications•FIFA is an information source•FIFA becomes a viable Brand marketing medium•Partnership opportunities / integrations•EA gains bargaining powerShifts in the FIFA Value Chain: Develop Distr. & Manage License FIFA sell & Update product
Further researchThis study provides evidence that FIFA drives loyalty toward soccer clubs. What Else can we learn? Other sports games / How / Why players League brands: Emerging Tech: Other samples: Select teams: Relevant to Body movement- •Other cultural groups Inform Specific tactics for building MLS? controlled video •Individual sports games elevating teams games