Success of startup company Homefans reminds us why sporting experiences are so important
Every sport has its iconic clashes and big rivalries. A derby isn’t just the sport on show, but everything around it, too: the history, the sights of the fans, the stadiums, even the colour clashes of both teams on the pitch. The biggest games have the most iconic sights. But, given its worldwide scale, no sport does the romanticism of a derby quite like football.
Fans from all over the world will be watching Manchester United v Liverpool this weekend. There’d be a huge worldwide audience for the Manchester, Liverpool and north London derbies, too. It’s the same for El Clasico in Spain and this weekend’s Milan derby will draw a worldwide audience, too. The exotic feel to football in another country is created by the atmosphere and the sights, and there’s no better atmosphere than a derby.
That’s what startup company Homefans looks to tap into: this idea that some football fans will be enthused by the prospect of traveling to experience some of the world’s biggest derby days.
At heart, Homefans appears to be something of a travel agent, offering matchday tickets and accommodation for football fans to go and watch some of the biggest games in the world. But it’s also a little bit more than that. It’s a whole itinerary; a weekend away, taking in stadium tours, matchdays, pub crawls and sightseeing opportunities, and an ease of access, taking the fear and effort having to organise a trip and match tickets in another country, especially if you don’t speak the language.
If you’re reading this and wondering what this has to do with digital, the answer is that this sort of thing is closely linked with modern phenomena. Homefans has recently surpassed its crowdfunding total of £100,000, and look to be going from strength to strength, and whilst the idea doesn’t have to do with technological advancements or social media, it does show something that we can’t forget about. In our always-connected world, we often forget that experiences – especially in sport – are paramount, and we may well see an entire generation kick back against their captivity in digital media by attempting to throw off the shackles and experience the world. At the same time, thanks to phones and the internet, it’s never been easier to book a flight or set up a company to provide the sort of service that Homefans does: the two certainly go hand in hand.
In a world where we talk more and more about broadcast rights, live-streaming and televised sport shown all over the world, we often forget about that the experience of actually witnessing one of those sporting events you just have to see in your lifetime is still hugely important to a lot of people.
Amidst the rush to get people’s attention on screens, on social media and on live-streams, we forget that fans still want experiences. We have to understand that, accept it and make room for it.
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