The Kansas City Chiefs have developed one of the most passionate and loyal fan bases in the NFL over the past few decades.
The lure of Arrowhead Stadium and the loudest fans in the NFL are both something that most football fans around the country—regardless of their favorite team—already know. But this proud fan base has also adapted to the changing times and taken their passion to the digital media world as well.
Over the past couple of weeks, the information has been put out there that ticket sales are up this year as the Chiefs find themselves at the forefront of the evolving ticketing industry. And that also through nine weeks, the Chiefs lead the NFL in television growth within their local market year-over-year, increasing local ratings by 16 percent over 2016 averages.
Both of these things show how invested these fans are into this team, whether that's in person at Arrowhead or watching on television, but there's also other metrics that show how this fan base is adapting and accepting the changing digital media environment.
Through the first half of the season, the Chiefs' official social media channels rank among the best in the league in both engagement and growth, which is basically a quantitative way of measuring how connected fans are with this team.
"Our social media strategy is focused on driving engagement, which unlocks reach, shares and ultimately impacts follower growth," Chiefs' Senior Vice President of Business Operations Bill Chapin explained. "We've seen a consistent increase in all of those areas."
Overall, the Chiefs rank No. 1 in the league in Facebook engagement, which is arguably the biggest and most important social media platform out there. The Chiefs also show well in terms of engagement on Twitter (No. 4) and Instagram (No. 8). And to go one step further, the Chiefs also rank No. 1 on Facebook and No. 3 on Twitter in number of "shares per fan."
"It's easy to quantify what passion looks like when you begin breaking down all of these numbers," Chapin added. "It's no secret that Chiefs fans are among the best in the league, and it's nice to be able to back that notion up with all of these numbers that properly illustrate that point."
In terms of platform follower growth—another important metric that highlights whether or not you're capitalizing on the interest in your teams' brand—the Chiefs' Instagram leads the league at over six percent, while Facebook (No. 2) and Twitter (No. 5) also rank near the top in growth year-over-year.
All arrows are pointing up for the Chiefs in the metrics that are used to delineate business success in these specific areas.
One way the Chiefs have engaged with their fans digitally is through their mobile app, which has seen a bump of almost 33 percent in unique visitors year-over-year in the month of October.
"We have seen a tremendous amount of growth in all aspects of our mobile app, which has been a focus for us this year," Chiefs' Director of Digital Media James Royer explained. "Whether it be original content, interactive contests, or even game day elements at Arrowhead Stadium, our fans have embraced our mobile app as a way to engage with the team throughout the entire week."
Overall, page views on the Chiefs' mobile app are up 219 percent compared to last year, and visits are up 93 percent.
Through the mobile app, the Chiefs have partnered with Sideline Sports to produce a game day Bingo Game, which has been played by more than 13,000 fans to date. They also recently worked with Coca Cola on an augmented reality experience, which was a successful campaign and one of the first of its kind in the NFL.
All the success has also translated over to Chiefs.com, where the team ranks No. 1 in the league with an increase of more than 66 percent in article views year-over-year.
In all three ways of engaging with a team—from showing up at the stadium on game day, to watching on television and then interacting on social media and in the digital environment—the Chiefs have been at or near the front of the line in every instance.
It's all a nerdy way of saying what we all already know—that Chiefs fans are great, and this is just more of the proof.