How Team Liquid revolutionized fan engagement in the Esports industry
Team Liquid stands out from most other large Esports organizations by remaining steadfast in its mission to create a brand defined by one thing — excellence. From their over 60 world-class athletes to their state-of-the-art Alienware Training Facility, Team Liquid refuses to back a team or a product that is not world-class.
In August 2020, Team Liquid released the Liquid+ — the first fan loyalty app of its kind. While we typically use our blog to explain Web3 concepts and applications, we felt that Liquid+ was an excellent example of how content creators and brands can give their fans unique and engaging experiences.
What is Liquid+?
In their own words, Team Liquid said they created Liquid+ because they wanted to offer “a place where regular fan interactions earn opportunities for elite rewards, fan experiences, and access to players.”
Team Liquid wanted to create a place where every fan can connect their social media and other accounts to interact with Team Liquid — like Twitch, Discord, Twitter, Reddit, and more — to earn awards points for every engagement that they show. Fans can then use these to redeem their award points for Team Liquid swag, event tickets, in-game currency, and tailored experiences.
The Liquid+ app rewards existing fans for the support they’re already showing Team Liquid and incentivizes new fans to engage more with Team Liquid content.
What benefits do Team Liquid fans get from using Liquid+?
We’ve been using the Liquid+ app for over a month to see how they create unique and engaging experiences for their fans.
After signing up for Liquid+, the app prompts the new user to connect any social media accounts on which they are active. After linking their social media accounts, new users are shown a list of “Experiences” to sign up for. To complete an experience (and be eligible for a prize), a fan must complete one or more “Quests”. Quests can be anything from watching a specific stream on Twitch to submitting a receipt from a recent Jersey Mike’s purchase.
Fans can earn a few types of rewards through Liquid+:
- Experience rewards. These rewards are different for each quest, ranging from Team Liquid swag to Liquid+ experience points to in-person tours of their Alienware Training Facility. Thousands of fans sign up for each Experience, so only the most dedicated (and sometimes luckiest) fans will take home the top prizes.
- Liquid+ experience points redemptions. The app offers fans a wide range of ways to redeem their points. Some of the most interesting redemption options we found are signed team jerseys, in-game currency, and video shout-outs from Steve Arhancet, Team Liquid’s co-CEO.
Fans can also view Team Liquid’s schedule so they can easily watch all the tournaments and other events that the team participates in.
What we think about Liquid+
Just in case it wasn’t obvious already — we think that Liquid+ is an excellent example of how to offer supporters engaging experiences. We liked a lot about the Liquid+ app, but here are our key takeaways.
Liquid+ gives fans a unique way to engage with the Team Liquid brand
Not only are fans rewarded for their loyalty to Team Liquid, but they’re also given a new way to engage with the brand beyond their regular streams and social media posts.
What other Esports team offers an app for their fans? Liquid+ provides a place for their community to explore everything that Team Liquid has to offer, compete with other fans in tailored Experiences, and redeem their continued support for Team Liquid gear. If a fan decides which team to support, we think that the Liquid+ app is a significant factor that fans consider.
Team Liquid's cross-platform approach makes the fan experience more cohesive
All too often, engaging with a content creator or brand on Discord, Twitter, Reddit, TikTok, Twitch, and every other platform can feel disjointed. From the brand’s perspective, it can be challenging to maintain a consistent image across every platform while engaging that platform’s unique set of users. From the supporter’s perspective, deciding which platforms to engage Team Liquid on can be difficult.
By uniting a fan’s engagement in a single place, Team Liquid now better understands how their fans interact with them across platforms. This unlocks many options for Team Liquid to create even more engaging experiences for their fans.
Let’s say that Team Liquid wanted to give every fan who watched over 10 hours of their content a unique role on their Discord server. They’re now able to offer perks like these (and many others) to any fan that links their Discord and Twitch accounts. Setting up these perks incentivizes current or future fans to engage with their content to secure a coveted place in the Team Liquid community.
Liquid+ shows that Team Liquid is eager to give back to their supporters
Developing an app that integrates with multiple platforms is no small feat. As we tested out Liquid+, it was evident that Team Liquid invested significant resources in creating a polished experience.
This effort is not lost on their fans. As of this writing, Liquid+ has 4.8/5 stars on Apple’s App Store and over 5,000 downloads on Google Play. We also observed that nearly every Experience that we looked at had thousands of active participants. It’s clear that fans are using and enjoying the app.
As one of the most prominent Esports organizations, Team Liquid realized they had the resources and the vision to create a new experience for their fans. They aren’t monetizing anything through the app today (users can only make purchases using Liquid+ experience points), so we can reasonably draw the only conclusion that they created Liquid+ to increase fan satisfaction with Team Liquid.
Liquid+ is a crucial piece of Team Liquid's long-term strategy
As great as Liquid+ is today, it’s important to acknowledge that it is just the first step in Team Liquid’s new community engagement journey.
In an interview on the Business of Esports podcast, Steve Arhancet gave his thoughts on the state of digital goods and his predictions on how large organizations would adapt their strategy to engage their community more directly through digital (and IRL) goods and experiences.
When asked about the future of Liquid+, Steve said that “it really provides exponential growth and [can] affect gamers around the world [in its] ability to provide a direct consumer experience play.” He gave examples of how Team Liquid could be less reliant on Esports tournaments or other content distributors by themselves “host[ing] a watch party or a community event, either digitally or IRL.”
The world that Steve is describing makes Team Liquid not only a creator of content and a place for world-class athletes to come together but also an event host, a content distributor, and much more. Instead of being dependent on others, Team Liquid could put themselves at the center of these events. And while Liquid+ is not the only tool they would use, it is a platform they could use to organize and conduct large digital or IRL events.
Steve also acknowledged that digital goods would be a crucial part of their hybrid strategy. Just as conferences give attendees a badge or other swag to show their attendance, digital goods could “memorialize [their] attendance and participation of something that [they] care about.”
In his closing thoughts, Steve predicted that “over the next 5-10 years, you’ll probably see these teams that have amassed a significant fan base … being able to customize what they offer to their fans and become bigger businesses because of it.” In other words, large organizations and content creators have two options. First, they can continue doing business as usual and see slow but consistent growth. Or second, they can embrace this new hybrid community approach and become more than just an organization of excellent Esports athletes.
Steve envisions a world where brands like Team Liquid become lifestyle brands that are a significant part of people’s lives. That world requires platforms like Enshrine to lay the foundation for brands like Team Liquid to build engaging, cross-platform experiences.
Only time will tell if Steve’s predictions come true. Still, we think that Team Liquid’s strategy of creating unique and engaging experiences for their fans is a bet that all large Esports organizations should make before they get left behind.