On Saturday's ABC Grandstand at 7:40 we discussed the growing trend of Gamification and how it is creeping into the world of sports.

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What is Gamification?

What is Gamification?  Bringing game elements to solve problems or better make things fun.

Sean spoke at Churchill Club last week on Gamification with Marigo Raftopolous  (Founder of Strategic Games Lab) and Patrick McQuaid (Project Director at NAB) who's currently exploring the implementation of gamified projects at NAB.

What are examples of gamification?

  • DreamTeam & SuperCoach – Fantasy Sports genre
  • Apps like Foursquare, Yelp – gamifying social exploring – checking into bars & cafes
  • Runkeeper – gamifying your jogging experience
  • Frequent Flyer systems are ages old but early forms of gamification

Where is it popping up?

     – Corporate engagement & training – encouraging staff to participate with some fun game elements.

– Sports with Fan Engagement – we've developed Sports DP (Digital Passion) which is a social media frequent flyer system for sports fans.

Minnesota Timberwolves were the world's first sports team to gamily their sports fan base with Sports DP as fans tweets were scored at the 2011 NBA Draft in June 2011.  Check out the West Coast Eagles Sports DP rollout called The Swoop.

Expect as membership & stadiums get smarter to see gamification come into play with attendance, public transport, how much your spend – might lead to rewards like invite to team dinner or function.

Sports Geek Medals – Gamification edition

What apps do gamification well?

Bronze – Mint

Has a Financial Fitness module that gives you a percentage score for your financial savvyness.

Silver – Linkedin

Simple gamification technique of tracking the progress to 100% complete profile.  While you complete your Linkedin profile why not follow Sports Geek & connect with Sean.

Gold – Foursquare

Badges for achievements like Mile High Badge, School Night Badge & Player Please Badge got people hooked early & mayorship battles keep people checking in.

Until next week

Catch it live on Saturday mornings (at 7:40am) when Sean Callanan discuss sports digital with Francis Leach on ABC Grandstand.

Tune into ABC Grandstand Breakfast over the Friday through Monday on ABC Grandstand digital radio.

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Podcast transcription

Francis: Francis Leach here for Grandstand Breakfast on a Saturday morning. We like to invite Sean Callanan, our sports digital guru, to come in and have a chat to us about what’s been happening in sport online and in the digital world. Good day, Sean. How are you, mate?

Sean: Good day, Frank. I’m good thanks.

Francis: Gamification, is that a real word or is that a word that’s been invented by geeks.

Sean: It is a bit of a word that has been invented by geeks but it has been around for a long time, so gamification in a strict definition is taking game elements or game structures and applied to things that aren’t games to help those problems get solved or just to make it a little bit more fun and competitive. And so we’re seeing with the advent of social and people sharing and things like that from a social media perspective, we’re seeing game elements added to different apps and different implementations.
So some of the ones, and gamification is pretty big in sports, it has been for a long time, you know. Fantasy sports is a big massive industry both here and around the world with dream teams and super coach and that provides a gaming element to a game that you’re watching.

Francis: So that’s the genius of it is allowing fans to participate in the game and be competitive in the game.

Sean: Yeah, so, with fantasy games it allows you to play along and be invested in another part of the game, another facet of the game. So it’s effectively gamifying the statistics of the game and it definitely came from baseball. We’ve talked about Money Ball before. It’s a very stats based sport. There was even the old 60s style strato-matic, where you would pull in the stats and pull in the box scores and, again, it was fantasy but before computers and people would fill out their sheets and project whole seasons of baseball games or project whole seasons of basketball seasons—that kind of thing—so…

Francis: So it’s like the Wright brothers plane of gamification.

Sean: Effectively, effectively, but now we’re seeing that more short form stuff and stuff that’s available on your mobile, so gamification that the people probably see more often these days—you we’re talking about it just before—Foursquare. Foursquare gamified I guess social networking and geo-locational social networking, so for those who don’t know, Four Square is a geo-locational social network where you check in at venues and effectively say, ‘Hey, everybody I’m here.’ So just as I walked in I checked in and I checked in at ABC Southbank.

Francis: Are you the king of ABCs Southbank.

Sean: No, I think it’s the mayor.

Francis: The mayor?

Sean: The mayor. It is. So the thing is, and this is where the gamification comes in. People might be checking in at work and they might be checking in and competing with another work colleague to get the mayorship of their work. And so it provides incentive for them to be coming into work more often.

Francis: I don’t know if I want to be the mayor of my local 7-11, but I know that people are.

Sean: There are, exactly, but there are people who say, ‘I’ve got to go on holiday. I’m going to lose the mayorship of my work, and so…

Francis: That’s someone who’s lost all perspective on life.

Sean: They have but they’re caught up in the game. Other games, they’re games around fitness, so Run Keepers is one and Nike Plus have done it as well, where you hook it up, but when you go for a jog, it tracks where you go. Half hour you go, puts it on the map, but also then awards you points or badges. It’s like ‘Way to go Frank. You’ve done five runs in the last 10 days. You were at the Steve Moneghetti level or something along those lines.

Francis: And you can also track in that one, for instance, against your friends, so if you’re training for an event and you’ve run 30 or 40 cases, when your mates run 60, you get a bit of a wakeup call and say I need to lift my game.

Sean: Exactly and that’s the gamification, the competitiveness. I’ve got a mate that does runkeeper and one night he went out for a jog and wrote his name with his jogging on the map on where he jogged. Now he would never have thought of doing that previously if he was just going out for a job, but because he’s getting this feedback, he’s competing against his mates, who are also jogging, he wanted to do a little bit of ‘Hey, look at me. There you go. Look at the map, Steve.’ And that’s how he’s done his little run for the night.
So, yeah, some of the big gamifications and earlier ones frequent flyer systems and loyalty programs, so I think in sports we’ll start seeing that sort of gamification come into it and it might be you get your membership, but we’ll scan and check how many times you’ve actually come to the game and that will reward you points, and if your membership is linked to your merchandise and when you buy some merchandise you’ll get some points frequent flyer style and then obviously you can rank all the fans, and, you know, the fans who will do the best job might get a reward of meeting the coach or sitting in the coaches box or tossing the coin, that kind of stuff.

Francis: Has anybody in professional sport taken that sort of vertical integration of digital information and used it yet? I mean what you’re saying makes perfect sense, and we can see how it would work because it already works saying that commercials be at retail, but is anyone doing it yet?
So we did it with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the NBA draft where we gamified the Twitter experience of the Timberwolves fans, so we were rewarding points for them tweeting and retweeting and showing their love for the Timberwolves and all the fans were ranked. We were giving away prizes, but now…

Francis: And how many people sort of hooked into that and got the sense of what you were doing and really got stuck in.

Sean: We had 160 fans tweeting away on their draft party, and by the end of the next day when Derrick Williams turned up to town, we had 110 fans signed up, tweeting away and had their score ranked. And then what we did was we’ve talked Twitter, and Facebook is the big one, we’ve now added Facebook to that, so we can now rank your action on Facebook, so if you check into a stadium, so the West Coast Eagles are running it currently and they’re able to say, ‘Hi, guys use this hashtag and their little digital cheer squad is clamoring for points because they want to be in front of their mate as well as get awarded for things.

Francis: Is it ever outside of that? Does it actually encourage people to become assets to the club or the sporting organization and uses them in a way without being too calculating to promote the program.

Sean: Yes, so it becomes a training tool and that’s where we seeing corporates doing it on sales managers having to complete their sales form. If they complete it to 100% they’ll get points and again at games that sort of prices of we just want you to complete the form, will give you extra points, so it goes back to the scalp days. You do the things you’ll get the scalp edge. It’s just the same sort of sense of accomplishment.

Francis: Good thing the pics coming up. Any sense of are they going to gamify it. I think any way so there’s going to be sort of fantasy Olympics so that you can get involved and maybe whether it’s metal projections or particular ethics, what’re you hearing about how that’s going to work?

Sean: Well, the Olympics are trying to I guess gamify, build a social hub where effectively trying to get you to follow all the different athletes that are going to be involved and some of the former athletes. I think if, you know, you follow Mark Spitz. He’s not obviously just swimming, but if you follow Mark Spitz it’ll unlock the Mark Spitz video and then you’ll find more about Mark Spitz when he’s commentating, so there’s a bit of that, but as far as fantasy sports and the Olympics there seems to be a team basting rather than a country basting because most people come to the Olympics and don’t know 18% of the competitors and so what Olympic bodies like the U.S. team and actually did an activation with I think it was Samsung and tried to rally the troops and a few athletes said ‘well hang on we didn’t actually let you use our images and stuff,’ so they got into a little bit of trouble, but they we’re trying to share the stories of all the athletes and try to provide it in a gaming experience, so I think brands will be the ones that are driving it.

Francis: New podium for this week in the gamification stakes, 3, 2 & 1.

Sean: So I’ve got to give Mint is one it’s a financial planning one where as you save and learn more about saving they give you points. Linked In, just use the gamification technique just to complete your profile. It says: You are 40% done. Don’t forget to invite your friends, get recommendations, so it just steps you through the process and encourages you to do it, but I’m still a Foursquare fan. I think they’ve done a really good job in awarding badges for being out on a school night. There’s this one for Pizza how many pizza joints you’ve been to. There’s a mile high badge, and that’s for checking in on an airplane with WIFI, not the other reason you might get the mile high badge. But, yeah, there’s a bit of merit to ‘hey look at me’ I just got the sky high badge. There’re all the different ones, burger joints and those kinds of things.

Francis: You are in deep my friend. You are in Foursquare deep.

Sean: Pretty much, pretty much.

Francis: Get on, Sean. People want to find you online and challenge you to be the mayor of your local 7-11, where can they find you?

Sean: They can find me at @SeanCallanan or at @SportsgeekHQ or sportsgeek.com.au.