49ers data collection playbook: How fan information makes sports teams money

Professional sports are the newest frontier in consumers voluntarily forfeiting data privacy.

The San Francisco 49ers are joining companies like Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. in the data collection game, providing a glimpse of how pro sports teams are angling to extract more value from their best customers: The fans.

Last month, amid the festivities leading up to the opening of the team’s new $1.3 billion Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, the 49ers unveiled a voluntary “fan engagement program” called Faithful 49, where users rack up points by interacting with the team and its sponsors. With enticements like jersey discounts or tickets to sold-out games, fans can chase rewards by watching videos on 49ers.com or following a Niners sponsor on Twitter, for instance. ( See what the program offers and how fans get it here)

“This is not only providing fans with a fun way to engage with the team and compete with one another,” said Chris Giles, 49ers director of business operations. “It incentivizes them to report activity and preferences and those sorts of things.”

In business terms, the team is rewarding brand loyalty — and in the process amassing a massive pool of consumer data.

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