The DieHard Card: How Fan Certification Can Benefit Teams and Their Most Knowledgeable Followers

May 15, 2016
Nick Elam

On the Scale of Self-Assuredness (where 0 = Just Spitballin’ and 10 = I’ve Got It!), writer rates this idea as a 8.

Fans often seek to prove their loyalty and knowledge of their favorite team. Many tangible ways exist to show their loyalty – purchasing tickets, merchandise, memorabilia, etc. To show their knowledge, fans must rely on intangible – and sometimes undignified – means, desperately trying to work the topic into conversation at every opportunity.

But teams can offer a most tangible means to the same end, by literally certifying deserving fans as their most knowledgeable followers. Teams would identify their most knowledgeable fans by administering a test about the team, addressing the following topics and more:

  • Team leaders (single-game, single-season, and career, in various statistical categories)
  • Memorable games and individual performances in the team’s history
  • Team’s postseason history
  • Players’ acquisition history (the method by which the player joined or left the team)
  • Team’s playing venues
  • Team’s jersey styles and individual jersey numbers through the years
  • Players’ nicknames
  • Team’s coaches
  • Team’s broadcasters
  • Team’s minor-league affiliates
  • Topics related to the sport/league in general (not just the particular team)

Teams could administer the test, for a charge, on select days throughout the year. Test day would turn into an event – taking the test itself (completing, say, 100 multiple-choice questions in 30 minutes, either electronically or paper/pencil), then enjoying a meal and meet-and-greet with select players/team representatives while results are tabulated, and then the announcement of the few test-takers who have earned certification.

Select fans would receive an official DieHard Card with photo, which would entitle them to discounts on tickets/concessions/merchandise/etc., invitation to special events, a brief on-field ceremony before an upcoming game, and most importantly – a tangible means to prove their knowledge during their next barroom debate.

The DieHard Card’s appeal (or vulnerability) will depend on teams’ willingness (or unwillingness) to maintain its exclusivity.