Imagine this for a second: You head out in the morning to shoot some hoops at your local basketball courts and you decide to “check in” using either Gowalla or Foursquare or any of the new geolocation platforms. Boom! You’re rewarded with free tickets to an NBA game. Later in the day, you head to Foot Locker, and when you check in, you get a special discount on any pair of Nike running sneakers. That night, when you head to your favorite sports bar and check in to let your friends know where you are, you’re gifted with an invitation to an exclusive VIP Playoffs party. The possibilities are endless.
Pretty soon, you won’t have to “imagine” any of this. In fact, as of last week, the first scenario (free tickets to an NBA game) is now a reality. On April 12th, VaynerMedia (the company I work for) helped facilitate a social campaign between the NBA’s New Jersey Nets and geolocation platform Gowalla. The campaign utilized Gowalla’s virtual item platform to distribute 250 pairs of virtual tickets in targeted locations (sports bars, outdoor parks, gyms) for April 12th’s New Jersey Nets v. Charlotte Bobcats basketball game. Users that found these virtual tickets were able to redeem the item for real tickets.
We have provided a full download of the case study VaynerMedia prepared, after realizing the success of this campaign. The case study will give you a much deeper look into the initial brainstorm, pre-campaign buzz, implementation, execution, and benefits/analysis of this geolocation campaign.
The worlds of sports and geolocation are on an inevitable path to converge. The Nets & Gowalla partnership was the first of its kind, but won’t be the last. The campaign proved that geolocation can move consumers, drive business, and add value for fans at sporting events.
Click here to view VaynerMedia’s post regarding the campaign.
Thanks for the article and the case study Sam and everyone else @ Vaynermedia.
I agree the campaign was a success, it would be good to see this take shape and see teams use something similar for their own purposes. Except what I see now are similar campaigns that will have similar sentiment.
I've always believed that an empty seat is a missed opportunity. As you said, even if you give seats away, you can convert on concessions, merchandise and other ways that you wouldn't have been able to do if the seat remained empty.
My question is do you think that after a few months of similar campaigns, teams are going to have to up the ante? It's conditioning in essence. If fans are conditioned to check in at a game, and they receive a reward every x amt of times (or whatever the probability is), they will continue to check in the hopes of receiving the reward.
Ryan, I'm happy to see you enjoyed the case study. To answer your question, I definitely think teams are going to have to mix it up and up the ante after this becomes common place. However, I don't think that not winning prizes will detract users from checking in. In fact, as more and more brands begin to use geo, users will have more and more chances to win. Maybe I won't win Nets tickets by checking in to Modell's, but I might win a free burger from McDonald's for checking in to my office down the street!
Great case study here. About time someone did this. The one thing to think about for the future (well, there is way more than 1 thing): teams and brands must carefully consider what offers to provide using this. Too much discounting and promotions can be a bad thing.
Also, it will be interesting to see if brands need third parties like Gowalla or Foursquare for this. Currently, they do. But if I was a team, I'd seriously consider building in check-in functionality into my own iphone app and start training people to check in there for rewards. That way teams control the release of promotions and can do more things directly with sponsors, instead of having to use a 3rd party for this. Thoughts?
I like this idea. Combine this with awarding tickets to “power users,” people who a lot of followers on twitter or another social media platform, and you could benefit minor league teams. I have a “power user” friend who uses Gowalla a lot. I like where this might be going.
Great work! The thing I love about geolocation is not just the marketing opportunities people are listing but the ability to connect like-minded fans. As these fans find each other as lovers of sport & tech they will group and effectively provide crowd source promotion your efforts. From that events & online messages you pump out can be activated by these fans.
Sean, you're very right. That's a great added benefit of geolocation, and something we didn't highlight too much in the case study. In the “post game reactions,” we did show a conversation on Twitter between two Gowalla users who'd connected at the game. Exciting stuff!
Todd, nice point. There is definitely an added value in having power users participate. It gets the word out more effectively. With this campaign, we wanted to show how random users in targeted locations could benefit. However, I like the possible 'VIP' angle you're going with! Thanks Todd!
Jason, very valid points. I think you're right, teams could build this check-in functionality into their own iPhone/Droid/etc apps, and they very well may do so down the line. I don't think they see the value right now. I'd imagine it would take a lot of time and effort to build a platform like this (and gain access to a GPS system?), and it's something teams just aren't willing to do at this point in time. However, the benefits are clear, and it's something very much worth considering.
Great post, Sam … just like local search is the 'in-thing' right now, sports and geolocation will be coming on strong throughout all professional sports as well as amateur sports.
Appreciate it! Really believe that the combo of geolocation & sports will be a great one. Lots of value for leagues, teams, AND fans! Thanks for your comment.
Sam, thanks for the case study. My agency helped beta launch a free new iPhone app called Venuing. Its a social network activated by a phone’s GPS when the user enters a supported stadium or arena. The app allows users to chat with another and get video and other content fed to them including sponsor messages.
Right now we’re testing out functionality in four stadiums, Yankee and Citifield in New York, Fenway in Boston and Citizens Park in Philly.
As Jason mentioned above, we’ve met with a few teams that are interested in developing their own branded Venuing app in order to control who communicates with their in-stadium fans including sponsors.
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