A few days ago, a friend of mine told me about two people that met at a sports event four years ago and are now engaged. As she told me this story, I wonder if dating apps got involved in the sports industry. Surprisingly, I found only two partnerships between these apps and sports properties: Tinder with Manchester City and Grindr with the french rugby club Biarritz Olympique.
Don’t get me wrong, some apps exist to connect people that love doing sports together and find a gym buddy. However, I think dating apps miss opportunities by not using sports as a marketing asset to grow their business.
First of all, remember that dating apps are not only about love relationships anymore. In most apps, users can specify whether they are looking for a long term relationship, a one night stand or new friends. Even if dating apps are still love labelled, I feel that they become more about connecting people in any type of relationship. For example, to promote Bumble BFF, a friendship finder app, Bumble partnered with Gen.G to sponsor Team Bumble, Gen.G’s first-ever all-female Fortnite team.
When you meet someone for the first time you ask her where she comes from, what her job is, what she likes and what are her passions. Quickly, the discussion comes around things we enjoy such as sports, music, books, travel. That is why if dating apps could help users meet someone through more detailed interest filters than a sport but a team, athlete or events, partnerships can make sense. It could also encourage people who find dating apps awkward or usually feel uncomfortable talking to strangers to register. Knowing that you may meet people with which you share a passion for FC Barcelona or Roger Federer is reassuring because you feel like you have a joker if you don’t know what to talk about.
Allowing users to select their favourite sport or team as an area of interest and then filter their matches to find others interested in the same thing can be a feature added as part of a partnership. We can also think about others online and physical activations for this kind of partnership to come to life as :
- Be able to add a sport or team badge to your profile to make it easier for fans of the same team to find each other,
- Personalize its description with a pick-up line about a sporting moment of its team that only fans can understand,
- Access an app interface whose design refers to the colours of your team or an event,
- Win a date in a sports venue or attend a game of your favourite team,
- Access a “brand” house before or after an event to meet other users in a safe environment as we know some people don’t use dating apps because they feel unsafe meeting someone who is a virtual acquaintance but a physical stranger,
In keeping with this last example, dating apps can also fully be part of the fan experience during or at an event.
Sport is more and more social. Either at home or in a stadium, we experience the sport on a dual-screen. We share our comments on social media, look at stats online and post Instagram stories of goal celebrations. Watching a game is no longer something you only share with your friends but with everyone. Thereby, through the geolocation on dating apps, we could only allow users attending the same event to talk to each other. The same goes for people saying they are watching a game. We could make it so that only people watching the same game can talk together.
Still, through geolocation, it would be possible to engage users with exclusive activities where two people would need to join forces to gain something. A fun and unique way to encounter someone new.
Dating and sports have more in common than we think. They bring millions of people together every day all around the world, have a highly engaged audience, and invite you to be fun and creative. In terms of sports partnerships, I have in mind two or three associations of sports entities and dating apps that could be a perfect match. Fingers crossed that one will take shape.